There Will Be Blood (Oranges)

March 2, 2010

The other day, I was strolling through the cafeteria when something in the “produce section” caught my eye. The cafeteria’s fruit options are normally pretty mundane (bananas, pears, apples), but I had just spotted some maroon-hued spheres nestled amongst the pedestrian oranges.
Did my eyes deceive me? Were there actually blood oranges? Like a nineteenth-century Californian prospecting for gold, I sifted through the fruit pile, and ended up with a trove of citrusy treasure. I snatched one or two (or seven) blood oranges, hid them in my backpack, and absconded from the cafeteria. All without raising the suspicions of the eagle-eyed lunch ladies.


As I walked back to my room, I mulled over my culinary options. Should I make a blood orange sorbet? Or maybe some marmelade? In the end, I decided on a tart—a perfect Valentine’s treat. The recipe (courtesy of Food and Wine via Smitten Kitchen) seemed relatively easy.

A wine bottle = makeshift rolling pin

If I make this again, I’ll be buying one of those Pillsbury pie crusts, because the dough took way longer than I thought. Due to my shoddy knife skills and the absence of a countertop, the peeling/cutting of the oranges was frustratingly messy and time-consuming. Once the genocide of the blood oranges finished, I meticulously assembled the tart by artfully arranging the sections on the pastry. All that was left was to let it freeze overnight. Unfortunately, the tart didn’t fit in my freezer, so I decided to put it in the dorm’s communal freezer. No big deal, right? After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Then things got ugly. I checked on the tart after about thirty minutes, only to find the aluminum foil covering balled up on the ground outside of the fridge. Upon opening the fridge door, I was greeted with the mutilated remains of my Blood Tart. Someone with a bad case of the drunchies (drunk munchies) had obviously checked the fridge for goodies and found my uncooked tart. I was angry that I had put three hours into putting this tart together, only to have some drunken douchebag tear it apart in the course of thirty minutes.

I suppose it was karma. For all I know, this guy (or girl) had seen me steal the oranges from the cafeteria and was angered by my epicurean injustices. Gastronomical vigilantism is rare, but not unheard of.

Luckily, there was enough dough and fruit left behind for me to reassemble it. I shoved the citrusy innards back inside of the tart and patched up the gaping holes with some newly made dough. By the end of the evening, I had a passable Franken-tart.

While it wasn’t the prettiest looking dessert, it was damn delicious. After cooking the tart, I drizzled some homemade caramel on top, which also helped conceal the tart’s reconstructive surgery scars.  Everyone said it was tasty; the caramel was probably the best part.

So collegiate cooking lesson for the day: Don’t trust the people you live with, particularly when it comes to delicious food.  And never put something of value in the communal kitchen.

Flaky Blood Orange Tart
Adapted from Zoe Nathan, via Food and Wine

This crust was delicious, but if you’re pressed for time (or just lazy) then buy a Pillsbury pie crust. They are cheap, fast, and versatile.

Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, the stick cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
8 to 10 blood oranges (about 5 ounces each) [I only needed 7]
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

Preparing the dough
In a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the baking powder and salt. Add the stick of cold butter and pulse several times, just until it is the size of peas. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and pulse just until moistened crumbs form. Turn the crumbs out onto a work surface, knead once or twice and pat the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until chilled.

Preparing the fruit
Peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise; remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Working over a sieve set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, releasing the sections into the sieve. If you (like me) lack a sieve, a gentle squeeze with your hand will suffice. Remove the pits and gently shake out as much juice as possible without mashing the sections; you will need 1 cup of sections. Reserve the orange juice for another use.

Assembling the tart
Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the oranges. Using a paring knife, thinly slice the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-inch border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Freeze the tart until solid, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. This allows it to firm and and hold its shape in the oven.

Baking the tart
Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the center. Bake the tart directly from the freezer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is is a golden brown. Let the tart cool for at least 30 minutes before serving it. When ready to serve, pour Caramel sauce on top.

Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce

Makes about 1 1/3 cups of dessert sauce

1 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter,

1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium high heat in a large pot (at least two or three quarts) whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. If the sugar begins to clump, then you’ve been over-stirring. Should this happen, let it sit for about twenty seconds, before you continue to stir. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in. Once you turn off the heat, pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; which is why you want the larger pot), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce. If any pieces of hardened sugar remain, they can be strained/picked out.

You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 30 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.


Kickass Cupcakes–February Happy Hour

February 25, 2010

“One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain… and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.”
-Forrest Gump


Seriously, February, are you kidding me? One full week of rain? This is Boston, not London. I’m going through socks like Kleenex thanks to these oceanic puddles.  Luckily, February is about to end. This past Monday was the last of the month. And we all know what the last Monday of the month means… free Kickass Cupcakes!

Like always, the free mini-cupcakes come in three different “cocktail-inspired” flavors, which got me makes me think of LMFAO’s magnum opus, “Shots.” In this song (assuming you can call it that), Lil Jon enumerates his favorite drinks. Surprisingly enough, his alcoholic regimen fits in line with Kickass cupcakes’ menu. Desipte his usual policy of exclusively yelling monosyllabic words, Lil Jon catalogs various drinks, such as “Lemon Drops” and “Kamikazes.” At one point, he loudly declares his affinity for “jello shots.” Cue the Strawberry Jellow Shot—a Vanilla cake with a strawberry jello shot center and whipped cream top.

When the song reaches its crescendo, Lil Jon ebulliently erupts into an expletive-laced climax—“Fuck all that shit, give me some Gin!” Cue the Chartwoozy, a Gin soaked cupcake with chartreuse frosting and lemon sugar. This was the real winner of the evening. I could pick up on the Gin, but it wasn’t overbearing. And the frosting did have hints of Chartreuse (liqueur made from brandy and aromatic herbs) and a vaguely citrusy aftertaste.

There was also a chocolate cupcake with brandied chocolate ganache center and chocolate frosting dusted with nutmeg called Chocolate Hot Toddy. This was decent, but disappointed in comparison to Kickass’ previous chocolaty efforts, such as the Brandy Alexander and the Somerville Glory.

Even though I could’ve left without buying a cupcake, I couldn’t help but get a Champagne Cupcake. I’ve made a couple of batches of champagne cupcakes in my day, so I figured this would be a good comparison. The cupcake was filled with fresh strawberry, which I actually preferred to the Jello filling of the free mini.

Rain sucks, but I’ve learned that it can be easily smothered with baked goods. Because who really needs umbrellas when you’ve got cupcakes?


Valentine’s Day Clincher: Molten Chocolate Cake

February 7, 2010

Chocolate is a requisite for Valentine’s Day.  I still remember picking out chocolates in hopes of winning the heart of my third grade crush, Anya. Unfortunately for me, another boy was competing for Anya’s heart, and he shrewdly took credit for my act of love. Oh the agony! I despondently watched as he proclaimed himself her “Secret Admirer.”
While it didn’t exactly work out as planned, there’s no denying the aphrodisiacal powers of chocolate. So when you’re planning a dinner date for V-Day, dessert is a huge consideration. And while there’s no denying the romantic allure of posh dessert spots like Finale or Burdicks, they can be a little draining on the wallet.

The solution—make it yourself. It’s cheaper and far more rewarding. Spending money on a girl will make her blush, spending time on a girl will make her purr. Girls love it when you take them to a swanky restaurant, but if you slave over a good dessert, you’ll have her eating out of the palm of your hand. But guess what? You don’t even have to slave over the dessert. So for all those guys out there with ladies to impress; it’s easy to do, just follow these steps.

Step 1: Cut a hole in a box

Just kidding. I highly doubt you’ll score many ladies with that sort of gift. Here’s a better option.

First, you should invite a girl out to dinner. You can either take her to a restaurant (Sushi or Tapas are options that strike a nice balance between informal and fancy). If you’re a little more confident in your cooking skills, get some pasta from Dave’s Fresh and dine at home/dorm. If it’s a first date though, I’d keep it in neutral territory, like a restaurant.

Step 2: Prepare dessert yourself. A mediocre meal can be remedied with a phenomenal dessert. This final course is the clincher, which is why you should make it yourself. She’ll appreciate the fact that you made it yourself, and best of all—it’s a guaranteed way to get her back to your place.

You should make either the chocolate soufflé or the molten chocolate cake. Both desserts are flashy enough to wow her and easy enough to keep your pre-date day stress free. And best of all, these desserts can both be made ahead of time. Just make them right before you go and place them refrigerator. When you get back, put them in the oven and bake them and voila! Hot, freshly baked dessert! The last thing you want to be doing when you bring her home is fretting over the dessert in the kitchen. By prepping everything beforehand, all you have to do when you get back is put it in the oven. What you decided to do after dessert is all up to you.

If you wanna make the Soufflé…
I detailed this one in the soufflé post, so just click here for that recipe

If you wanna make the molten chocolate cake…

Molten Chocolate Cake
(adapted from New York Times recipe, which in turn was taken from “Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef” by Mark Bittman and Jean-Georges Vongerichten)

INGREDIENTS
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, plus more to butter the molds
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons flour, plus more for dusting

METHOD

1. Beat together the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until light and thick.

2.) In a double boiler (Saucepan of simmering water with a bowl on top), melt chocolate and butter together until the chocolate is almost completely melted.

2. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, just until combined.

3. Butter and lightly flour 2 8-ounce molds, custard cups, or ramekins. Tap out the excess flour, then butter and flour them again. Divide the batter among the molds.

(At this point you can refrigerate the desserts until you are ready to eat, for up to several hours; however, you must bring them back to room temperature before baking.)

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bake the molds on a tray for about 11 minutes; the center will still be quite soft, but the sides should be set.

5. Once baked, take ramekins out of oven. Immediately place a serving plate on top  of the ramekin. Acting quickly, flip ramekin/plate over. The cake should unmold itself onto the plate. Serve immediately.

Ps: It’s good with vanilla ice cream and a couple of sliced strawberries.


Dave’s Fresh Pasta

January 27, 2010

Pasta gets a bad rap. Maybe we should blame Mr. Atkins for villanizing carbohydrates? Or perhaps the blame lies with all those school cafeterias for flooding the market with bland versions of spaghetti and meatball. The overabundance of pasta has turned many of us off to the dish entirely. After all, how many of you dreaded the dinner doldrums of “Pasta Night” growing up? In the end, pasta’s affordability and non-threatening cooking instructions proved to be its undoing. Which is unfortunate, because pasta can be truly delicious and original.

Case in point—Dave’s Fresh Pasta. After my sweet potato gnocchi in St. Louis, I decided to finally hop on the DFP bandwagon. This shop sells day-fresh pasta and ravioli along with plenty of homemade sauces. The flavors of pasta and types of ravioli fillings range from the traditional (egg pasta and spinach ravioli) to the unique (squid ink spaghetti and Butternut Squash ravioli). Along they way there are pasta flavors like Lemon Basil, Saffron, and Chipotle. The homemade sauces are equally eclectic. With 5 different kinds of basil and a myriad of red and cream sauces, the number of “pasta-bilities” is endless.

I imagine Charlie Bucket’s experience in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory was quite similar to my trip to Dave’s Fresh. While there wasn’t a river of red wine or a tribe of orange-skinned midgets singing as they pressed paninis and cut pasta, the vastness of the store and options proved astounding. There were gourmet cheeses and chocolates and wines galore. And the samples! The free samples! Screw Sam’s Club—if you want free samples, go to DFP. A big basket of bread, flanked by cheeses and oils a plenty, was just begging to be sampled. Between the daps of avocado oil to the homemade tzatziki sauce, I took my fair share of free food. I could’ve spent hours gazing at the shelves of food, but in the end I decided on the chicken sausage and fennel ravioli with the arrabiata sauce.

The only bit of advice I can give is that you should separate the ravioli prior to cooking. The prescribed cooking instructions directions told me to drop the ravioli in and stir to separate. This didn’t work. I ended up splitting some of them open in my feeble efforts to detach them. The ravioli itself was decent, but the sauce was incredible. If you’re looking to pair your pasta with a spicy red sauce, this is the one to get.

So don’t give up on starches! Go eat pasta! Show all those low-carb sissies what’s what.


Kickass Cupcakes Happy Hour

January 26, 2010

Ugh. I’m ready for a vacation. Between my Econometrics class and the precipitation of biblical proportions, I’ve had a pretty rough time getting back into the swing of things here at school. But there’s one thing that will always pick me up: cupcakes. Mick Jagger had it all wrong in “Mother’s Little Helpers.” Who needs happy pills when you’ve got cupcakes?
Well, Kickass Cupcakes offered up three free cupcakes Monday night. This “cupcake happy hour” occurs once a month from 5pm-7pm. It’s best to get there on the earlier side. Trust me, the last thing you want is to show up at 6:30 on an empty stomach and leave empty handed.

There’s something to be said about these tiny cupcakes. Their diminutive size lets you guiltlessly gorge on more than one, unlike their bigger alternatives. And they are so adorable. Whether it’s dogs or ipods or cupcakes, one thing is clear—it’s all about small. Miniature cupcakes are especially prone to dryness, but all three offerings were nice and moist. The three flavors tonight were each a little different. Below are my descriptions and thoughts.

First up, we have the Somerville Sensation, which consists of a Espresso cupcake with a marshmallow fluff center and chocolate Nutella Fluff frosting topped with Taza Chocolate cocoa nibs. The crunchy nibs were a nice touch, as was the fluff center. This cupcake was unique in its liquid accompaniment. This pairing marked the first time that “happy hour” actually included real liquor—in this case a small amount of some liqueur. Personally, I felt it added little to the taste of the cupcake, but I appreciated the gesture nonetheless. The legality of the whole situation is a little iffy, but I’m not complaining. Compared to the drive-thru Margarita stand in St. Louis, this is pretty legit.

The second cupcake, a Chocolate cupcake with a chocolate beer ganache filling and a sam adams cream stout frosting was fittingly titled the Sammy. This was my favorite. The Sam Adams stout frosting was amazing and complemented the cupcake well. The ganache filling and stout frosting weren’t particularly sweet, so they constrasted well with the chocolate cake and the small drizzling of caramel on top.

The third flavor was a raspberry cosmopolitan which was made up of a vanilla cake with a raspberry center and cosmopolitan frosting. I’m never a big fan of fruity sweets like this, because more often than not they taste artificial. The raspberry filling was too sugary for my liking. The lime zest pearched atop the frosting was a nice touch, but beyond that I found this cupcake lacking, especially compared to the other two. In all honesty, I’ve yet to come across a fruity cupcake I’ve enjoyed. If I want fruit, I’ll order a blueberry muffin.

The trip was nice and helped me forget about the stresses of my economics major for a while. As much as I “love” hypothesis testing and multi-variable linear regression, it just can’t compare to this.


Giant Hostess Cupcake

January 21, 2010

Ah, slushy old Medford, how I’ve missed you! The Tufts campus seems slightly more formidable than before; the previously walkable cement pathways have been with slushy canals. Now, walking from building to building takes a certain degree of skill and blind courage. These deadly slush-puddles hearken back to the mine-laced paths of Vietnam that I read about in all those Tim O’Brien books. With weather like this, I think I’d take the Vietcong over a merciless Mother Nature.

Unfortunately it takes me days to get adjusted to my dorm bed, which is good news for all of you. With a week of sleepless nights ahead of me, I have all the time in the world to flog.

Growing up, I never really got the chance to indulge in mass-produced sweets. Sure, my mom would make me pancakes and muffins for breakfast, but she’d die before feeding me those saccharine cereals like Lucky Charms and Cocoa Krispies. When it came to packing me lunches for school, she would opt for homemade cookies or blood oranges rather than those Hostess or Little Debbie confections. Whatever the case, I’ve always enjoyed Hostess Cupcakes. The moist chocolate cake with the crème filling is so perfectly matched that it almost seems mundane. In an age when the average candy bar has twenty million things going on (pretzel wrapped in special dark chocolate nougat encased with caramel and milk chocolate), there’s something to be said for Hostess’s minimal design.

Here was my chance to remake the forbidden fruit of my childhood. But since I had grown up, it was only fitting that the cupcake did too. So I supersized it. The cake is eye-catching with those distinctive swirls and alters the chocolate-cake formula just enough to surprise all your dinner guests. It’s deliciously retro, with one bite transporting you back to a time when people were blissfully unaware of trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup.

Below you’ll find the assembly steps, and below those you’ll see the recipes. This idea is courtesy of Deb over at Smitten Kitchen

Step one, take your favorite chocolate cake recipe (like the absurdly easy and supremely delicious one-bowl Hershey Chocolate Cake)
*NOTE: If you’re using this cake recipe (and you should), then double the recipe and use two 9 inch pans

Step two. Once cakes have fully cooled, halve one cake horizontally. This should leave you with three cake layers—one full size, and two halved layers. I used unflavored dental floss to slice my cake.

Step three. Cut a four or five inch circle out of the center of the full-sized cake. Hold onto it for snacking, since you won’t be using it for the cake.

Step four. Carefully place one of the thin cake layers on whatever dish you plan on serving the cake. Then carefully line the doughnut shaped cake layer on top of that one.

Step five. Fill the cake layer with the marshmallow frosting (see below for recipe), making sure to leave about a half cup behind for decoration.

Step Six. Carefully place the other half-sized layer on top of the cake. At this point you can frost the cake with the chocolate ganache (again, see below)

Step Seven. Using a pastry bag (or the ol’ fashioned circumsized sandwich baggie trick), finish off the cake with that distinctive white squiggle. If you want to be historically accurate (I would’ve said anal, but that’s a word that should never appear in a cake recipe—ever), make sure to have seven full loops.

RECIPE NOTES: After making and serving this cake, I think that it would be easier to probably just fill the middle with the marshmallow frosting. That way everyone gets a uniform amount of the filling. If you want the appearance of a the Hostess cupcake when you halve the cake, you’re gonna have to do it the long way. Everyone who ate the cake loved it but said that they wanted more filling, so if you decide to make the cake, you might consider putting a dollop of the frosting on each person’s plate.

OTHER NOTE: Remember that discarded center part of the cake layer from step three? You can totally go all Russian Nested Doll (or Matryoshka doll) with this leftover and make a hostess cupcake with it. Just go through the same steps as before. It’s a tad bigger than a normal hostess cupcake but it’s manageable.

Hershey Chocolate Cake, doubled for your convenience

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cup sugars
8 eggs, at room temperature
22 ounces of hershey chocolate syrup (the contents of two 16oz cans or measured out from one of the BIG bottles)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing all the while. Then add chocolate syrup and vanilla.

Add the flour and mix until just barely combined.  Don’t overbeat, or the cake will toughen.

Pour batter into the pan and bake for around 45 minutes, or until just set in the middle (test by placing a toothpick in the center, if it comes out with a few crumbs, it’s done). Let it cool thoroughly in the pan.

Crème Filling—Seven Minute Frosting

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a double boiler (simply a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water) and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy. This should take around 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Use frosting the day it is made.

Ganache Frosting

1/2 pound semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Place cream sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil under medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Once the sugar has dissolved, add chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melt. Once they’ve fully blended, add butter and whisk until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and let it cool (stirring it occasionally) until it is spreadable. If you want to hasten the cooling process, just pop it in the refridgerator.


Bacon Ice Cream

January 14, 2010

If Morgan Freeman were a food, he’d be bacon. Allow me to explain. Morgan Freeman is virtually never in a bad movie. If you see Freeman’s name on a movie poster, odds are that his presence increases your critical perception of the film. He doesn’t necessarily have the starring role, but his presence legitimizes a film and gives it some credibility.

The same can be said for bacon. While bacon can be eaten on its own, more often it accompanies the main dish, upgrading it in some way. For example, think of all the foods you wrap in bacon: scallops, pork tenderloins, the infamous bacon behemoth. Then there are those ubiquitous bacon bits used to make salads more appealing to the carnivorous American diet. And what breakfast wouldn’t be improved with a little bacon? Just like the casting of Mr. Freeman, the utilization of bacon can turn the unremarkable into the unforgettable.

In case I didn’t make it clear in the first paragraph, I love bacon. I love it at breakfast with my eggs; I love it at lunch in my Quizno’s Subs; I love it at dinner wrapped around my main course or hors d’oeuvre. And after tonight, I can safely say I love in on my dessert.

After tasting my college-friend’s bacon peanut brittle, I browsed the web for other desserts involving bacon. The combination seemed at once totally farfetched and delicious. The salty and smoky and sweet combination was uniquely tasty.  That’s when I came across David Lebovitz’s recipe. I knew that I would enjoy it but was fairly positive that most of my dinner guests would write it off before giving it a try. More for me, right?

Mr. Lebovitz’s recipe was easy to follow and made for a delicious ice cream. I used Maple Bacon, which added another layer to the ice cream. He recommended candying the bacon in the oven with brown sugar, which I can safely is an olfactory wet dream./tour de force I placed the bacon on a cooling rack, which was on top of a baking sheet. That way the fat would drip off of the bacon and collect on the sheet below.

The ice cream itself was pretty easy to make, typical custard fare. Just remember to temper the yolks by gradually adding the hot cream mixture to the eggs. A sudden increase in temperature would cause the eggs to cook, so keep it nice and slow.

When it came time to try it, everyone (except for the vegetarians) took the smallest possible amount. They described it as “different, but in a good way” and “surprisingly delectable.” I have no idea what I would serve with this ice cream, but I would definitely make it again.

Bacon Ice Cream (adapted from David Lebovitz)

Ingredients For the Candied Bacon
Six Strips of Bacon
About ½ cup of brown sugar

Ingredients for the Ice Cream
5 egg yolks
3 tablespoons of salted sugar (if you only have unsalted, just throw in a pinch of salt)
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
2 ¾ cups of half and half
2 teaspoons of dark rum or whisky (After much taste-testing and deliberation, I decided on a nice scotch whisky)
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Making the candied bacon

1.)Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Then place a cooling rack on a baking sheet.

3.)Evenly slab the six pieces of bacon on rack, and coat each piece with about 2 teaspoons of brown sugar.

4.) Cook bacon for about fifteen minutes, until golden brown and crisp. The sugar should have caramelized on top of the bacon by this point.

5.) Once bacon has cooled, finely chop the slices into bacon bits. Store in refrigerator.

NOTE: It’s good to make extra, because you’ll find yourself snacking on the bacon throughout the custard-making process.

Making the ice cream
1.) Place 1 ¼ cups of half and half in a large bowl , and place this bowl in an ice bath (a larger bowl filled with ice).

2.) In a medium sized bowl, stir together egg yolks until they are fully blended.

3.) In a 2 or 3 quart saucepan, melt butter under moderately heat. Then add brown sugar, maple syrup, and remaining half and half and stir until smooth.

4.) Gradually whisk this mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks. If you notice any brown sugar pebbles, feel free to pick them out.

5.) Once blended, pour the contents of this bowl back into the saucepan. Under moderately low heat stir the contents of the saucepan until the custard is thick enough coat the back of a spoon and stay in place even when you draw a line with your finger through the middle of that film of custard. When doing this step, make sure to constantly scrape the saucepan with a heatproof spatula, that way you don’t end up with cooked eggs on the bottom of the pan.

6.) Once sufficiently thickened, the custard should be poured into the large bowl. At this point you should add the cinnamon, vanilla, and liquor. Stir the contents until cool. At this point, you should churn the ice cream. Add the candied bacon about five minutes before the churning process ends.