October 1st. Halloween season is upon us. Which means I want candy. I don’t have children, so you’d assume I could coast through these kid-oriented holidays with no problem. But I happen to be part of a generation who drenches everything in a large dose of irony and 80′s childhood nostalgia, often acting like kids ourselves even though my friends and I are all in our 30′s now. And so Halloween becomes a month long cavalcade of horror movie nights, jack-o-lantern carving contests, and haunted houses. Thanksgiving and Christmas receive the same treatment; Just trade out The Shining for Miracle on 34th Street, and pumpkin-carving for Christmas tree-decorating parties, and there ya go. Lather, rinse, repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it. The problem is the treats (or tricks, rather, for the Primal party-goer) that come along with the festivities. I do just fine through the spring and summer, not really giving candy a second thought. Almond flour baked goods and fruit desserts take care of any sweet cravings, and I roll on through August and into September with no problem. But autumn means holidays, and holidays mean candy.
I’ve mentioned before that this will be my first Primal holiday season – which I see as a fun challenge rather than a sacrifice, since I’ve had no problem coming up with fabulous Primal substitutions for my favorite things thus far. But when I saw the post for the Paleo Parents Halloween Recipe Round-Up, it got me thinking about what I really crave and miss this time of year. If you guessed candy, great job! I only mentioned it three times in the opening paragraph…
I do allow myself the indulgence of dark chocolate a couple of times a week, but as much as I love the stuff, I have to say that it can get boring after a while. That sounds crazy, I know – we’re talking about luscious, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness here. So I’ve tried all kinds of variations – chocolate bars infused with hot chili pepper, sea salt, filled with crushed almonds or bits of fruit… But by far, my favorite right now is the dark chocolate bar with bacon.
Most people look at me as though I’ve gone mad when I tell them this, but the combination made perfect sense to me from the first time I saw it. I suppose they get hung up on the idea of mixing meat with chocolate (which is understandable) but to me it’s just a variation on the sweet & salty theme. And who doesn’t love that? Even as a kid, I would cover my bacon with maple syrup at breakfast. Back when I ate candy (and I used to eat a lot of it), my favorites were always peanut butter cups, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate-covered potato chips… Wait a minute. Sweet. Salty. And crunchy. This was the lightbulb moment. The point when I realized what I had to create. My Halloween candy void would be filled with chocolate covered bacon. These are, without a doubt, coming with me to the first party of the season. Sweet. Salty. Crunchy. Delicious. And so unbelievably easy. It’s definitely a recipe your kids can help make – I mean, if you want them to. You may want to send ‘em out Trick-or-Treating just so you don’t have to share…
Dark Chocolate Bacon Bites
12 slices Bacon, medium thickness (This may vary based on the length of the slices you use.)
2 & 1/2 ounces of 70-85% Dark Chocolate (I used a little over half of a 4 oz. dark chocolate bar broken into pieces. You can always add a little more if you need it, depending on how thick you’d like the chocolate coating)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lay bacon strips out flat on a baking pan and cook just until crisp, 20-25 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and allow it to drain and cool on paper towels. Do whatever it is you do with leftover bacon fat – if you dispose of it rather than keeping it in a mason jar for later use, I promise I won’t judge.
Once the bacon has cooled, carefully break each slice into pieces about 2 inches long. For the bacon I used, this averaged 3 or 4 pieces per slice.
Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler. If you don’t have an actual double-boiler, you can place a metal or glass bowl on top of a saucepan half-filled with water. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and place the bowl of chocolate pieces on top, stirring the chocolate until it melts.
Dip the bacon pieces into the melted chocolate, coating them in a thin layer, then set them aside on a parchment paper lined tray.
The pieces pictured above were dipped in plain dark chocolate, but for a variation with the 2nd half of the batch, (not for the kiddies or those who don’t like a little heat) I added about 1/8 of a teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes to the rest of the chocolate before dipping the remaining bacon. Use more or less depending on your taste. I then sprinkled a few pepper flakes on top of the pieces – just enough to be able to tell the spicy apart from the plain.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened. Once taken out of the fridge, the chocolate will start softening again as the candy comes to room temperature. For best results, store them in the refrigerator until time to serve.
There are all kinds of variations you could do with this – adding some stevia or raw honey to the chocolate to sweeten it a little more, or vanilla or cinnamon for extra flavoring, topping with chopped almonds or bits of dates…as with most things at Halloween, it’s limited only to your imagination. Trick-or-Treat!