Candied Bacon Matzo Crack

In keeping with the theme of bacon (because, why not?!) I am going to introduce a recipe that is completely random given that it is July 1st, not April – lets blame it on the 108 degree heat today. While yes, this concoction was created out of necessity for Passover, the Jewish holiday where eating bread or any other leavened products is a no-no for over a week, I see no reason why it can’t be a year-round staple.

As far as Passover goes, bread I can honestly do without – I am a fan of the matzo. All things matzo – matzo brie (sort of like french toast, with matzo), matzo pizza, and so on. I also love Passover – I love a good sedar and I love the challenge of trying to stay bread (and other leavened products)-free for as long as I can. However, it is the lack of sweets that always gets me. Passover sweets (fake cookies and cakes) are rarely any good. Thank GOODNESS for my friend Nicole, who introduced me to Matzo Crack – a delicious chocolate caramel covered matzo deliciousness. It doesn’t matter that I was unaware of this creation until college, nor that it was my non-Jewish friend who was never required to eat matzo that introduced it to me – all that matters is that I now am in on the “secret.” And this year, I felt that it was my responsibility to make my contribution.

This year was not the best year for my favorite holiday. It was busy busy (again, grad school, ugh); not only did my clinic schedule keep me from going home, I didn’t even attend a sedar. Womp womp. Now, don’t start feeling bad for me though. I had fun experimenting with some new types of matzo pizza (I used kale! and paired it with tortilla espanol…kosher Italian Spanish fusion time). I also made some matzo brie, some charoset, AND in exchange for some matzo crack, I even got myself some delicious homemade matzo ball soup courtesy of my awesome cooking class teacher/fantastic cook/dietician friend. Not too shabby.

Of course, Passover came and went and I was left with boxes upon boxes of matzo (I always buy too much. ALWAYS!). So, rather than wait and see if it would stay good for until next year (I bet it would have), I decided to take matzo crack to the next level. A level that was far more unhealthy and ridiculous than it had been before, not to mention completely un-kosher.

My new creation was inspired by a vendor selling candied bacon at the annual Terrapin Brewery carnival. After a few glasses of Terrapin’s super strong 10th anniversary beer, I could not resist the tempting scent of candied bacon being sold. It looked so good and I was so excited…only to be told I had to wait 15 minutes for the next batch. Fine. What wasn’t fine though? That when I returned 15 minutes later the vendor had almost sold the last of the bacon to SOMEONE ELSE. Unacceptable. I did finally get my bacon, and it was so good that I had to share. This left me with very little pork candy to myself, which led me to the obvious conclusion that I must make my very own candied bacon, which I did bright and early the following morning.

Then I got really creative – why not crumble that on top of matzo that has already been covered in caramel and chocolate?! And thus, Candied Bacon Matzo Crack was born. I do not regret creating this spectacular snack, potentially the most unhealthy and un-kosher concoction I have ever come up with; however, it will likely be awhile before I attempt it again. Not for health reasons (well maybe a little bit for health reasons…maybe this should be a once a year thing), nah, really it is because making candied bacon was a mess and a half. Messy, but delicious. So, please don’t let the mess prevent you from trying this at least once, it is worth it. And now for the recipe, inspired by Nicole and the rude vendor that almost didn’t give me bacon:

Candied Bacon Matzo Crack

Bacon

  • 4 strips of thick sliced bacon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Cayenne pepper OR Sriracha to taste

Matzo Crack

  • 4-5 pieces of lightly salted matzo – egg or flour (enough to fully cover a cookie sheet)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 12 oz bag chocolate chips (my faves – basic Nestle or bittersweet Ghirardelli chips if you want to get fancy)

Preheat oven to 400. Place a wire cooking rack on top of a baking sheet completely lined with foil. Toss bacon strips with brown sugar and hot spice of your choice. I used a few drops of Sriracha and it was perfect (in my Sriracha-obsessed opinion). Lay bacon strips flat on the wire rack and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Line another baking sheet with foil and cover completely with matzo (unfortunately, you will have to do some maneuvering with the matzo, keeping the crackers whole won’t cover a baking sheet – rather, break it up and piece it together…like a puzzle!). Meanwhile, cook butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly (I find that caramel burns easily, it my easily distracted experience). Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue mixing for about 3 minutes until it foams up and the sugar seems completely dissolved in the butter. Pour the caramel over the matzo and spread into a thin layer with a spatula. Stick the caramel matzo into the oven for 10-15 minutes – the caramel will start to bubble, and I always want to take it out too early – DON’T! Or you will be left with grainy-ish caramel like I have been, and nobody wants that. Once all of the caramel is bubbling, take it out of the oven and cover with chocolate chips. Wait 5 minutes and then spread into a thin layer with a spatula (if you don’t wait long enough, it is very difficult to spread – trust me, I know). Now, crumble some of that delicious bacon on top* and stick in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened (about 45 minutes 😦 ). Break into pieces and store in a tightly sealed tupperware container (who am I kidding, it rarely lasts long enough to make it to the storage phase).

*Obviously, this could be made without the candied bacon, but why?!

 

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Super Busy Stressful AHHH Week = My 1st “Treat Yo Self” Post

I love Parks and Recreation. Everyone in that show is hilarious – and the episode where Tom Haverford (<3 Aziz!) and Donna take a day to treat themselves ranks up there in my top 5. I know I am not alone in this, and I’m also probably not the only person who has taken to treating themselves a little more after watching that episode. What can ya do?!

TREAT YO SELF video clip from youtube

So, this is a food blog and I am going on and on about Parks and Rec and Aziz Ansari, and could probably continue to go on, but it is time to explain where food comes into this whole “Treat Yo Self” thing. See, I knew it was going to be a rough week, so I planned ahead. THANK GOODNESS for that, because rough doesn’t even come close to doing this horrific week justice. So planning ahead, in my Treat Yo Self world, means getting a Martha’s Salad Plate at Marti’s at Midday. O M G. I don’t even know where to begin.

Marti’s at Midday

I had lived here almost a year before I first went to Marti’s (that was WAY too long to wait – if anyone reading this lives in Athens or within a 3 hour radius – GO RIGHT NOW, well, it isn’t open now, but go asap!). Marti’s is this cute, super southern little to – go food shop in a renovated house off of Prince Ave in Athens. They have fun commercials on TV down here with people raving about the food. I should have taken them more seriously because the food is FANTASTIC. Not only that, the portions are RIDICULOUS too. I’m thinking that my Martha’s Salad Plate (huge scoop of really yummy chicken salad, another huge scoop of pimento cheese, a deviled egg, salad with balsamic dressing, fruit, and homemade pita chips, oh those pita chips are the best part I think) weighed about 5 pounds. I’m not fantastic with estimating weight, but I really don’t think that is exaggerating too much. Needless to say, that lasts me like 4 meals for about $9. I honestly don’t know why I don’t just get one of those at the start of every week (oh yeah, all that pimento cheese probably isn’t good for me…definitely glad I didn’t discover that health food until I moved down here). OOO and the mint sweet tea, gotta mention that too. I am totally not alone in this Marti’s obsession, the whole reason that I chose Marti’s as my Treat Yo Self destination this week is because a girl that I met while shopping in Austin a few weekends ago went on and on about how much she missed Marti’s (she went to school at UGA prior to moving to Austin). Coming from someone who lives in Austin – with all the awesome food they have there – says a lot.

Try and tell me that doesn’t look like a party on a plate.

So I realize this entire post sounds like an ad for Marti’s (and maybe Parks and Rec) rather than some sort of professional, objective review. Well, I am not a professional restaurant reviewer, just being honest here – I love me some Marti’s. I will admit that the Martha’s Salad Plate is the only thing that I order (well, except that one time I just ordered a plain chicken salad sandwich – which I IMMEDIATELY regretted – I missed the pimento cheese!), I just like it too much to want to try anything else. So order other options at your own risk, although I bet most other things there are also quite delicious. For more info on Marti’s (they do offer TONS more than just the salad plate, although who would know that from reading this), their website:

http://www.martisatmidday.com/

And finally, as I mentioned early, I whole-heartedly embrace the whole “Treat Yo Self” idea. I believe it was a once or twice a year thing in Parks and Rec, but screw it; sometimes it just needs to happen more often, especially in grad school (in my opinion of course). As such, I imagine this will be the first of many “Treat Yo Self” posts – so stay tuned!!