Bacon Salted Caramel Pecan Bars Recipe

SaltedCaramelPecanBars Bacon Salted Caramel Pecan Bars Recipe
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Sometimes I need a little help from my friends for inspiration. Not to long ago I was an admirer of Food Blogger, Ashley Rodriguez. Now we are good friends who share the same passion for food, motherhood, and life. She’s indirectly responsible for this post. You see, back in July I met Ashley for the first time at Shauna a.k.a. Gluten-Free Girl’s Pork Potluck. Ashley brought these amazing bacon caramels which at times have haunted me at night thinking about them – they are that good! So when I decided to make/bake caramel pecan bars, Ashley’s bacon caramels inspired me to add bacon to them. Some of you right now are asking yourself why the heck I would add bacon to pecan bars.. and my response is, why the heck wouldn’t I? And if you really cannot live with the idea of adding bacon to baked goods, just omit them.  But just in case you haven’t heard, “Bacon is the New Black”.  You cannot escape bacon, its everywhere and in everything!

The night I actually made them I was engaged in a twitter conversation with several people regarding gluten-free baking.  Remembering Jeanne had a gluten-free AP mix she uses in her recipes, I quickly adapted a gluten-free variation of the crust using the ingredients she uses.

I ended up baking 2 separate batches of these yummy bars.  One batch was “Gluten-free” while the other was just “regular” using all-purpose flour.   When it was time to taste test them, I was pleasantly surprised how the gluten-free crust tasted almost exactly like the regular crust.  The only difference between the two was a slight texture change.  I had several family and friends, Eric and Dawn do a blind taste test and half of them preferred the gluten-free crust over the other based on texture preference.  My point is, these Bacon Salted Caramel Pecan Bars are awesome.. really awesome!  I kid you not when I say the gluten-free version is really as good as the regular version.  I brought a batch of the gluten-free ones to a Girls Night Out and was happy when Ashley, Keren, Jeanne, Lorna, and Viv also thought they were really good!  More importantly, my kids thought these were the best cookies they’ve ever eaten and have requested I bake more as soon as I buy some pecans.

As a baking side note, do yourself a favor and buy quality thick bacon.  I used Hemplers.  You want to fry the bacon until it is very crispy but not burned.  Coarsely cut the bacon up so you have varying sized pieces.  It is also important to mention to use coarse sea salt and not regular table salt when sprinkling on top.  The sea salt will enhance the flavor of the bacon and bring out a salty sweet “party in your mouth” quality to these bars not to be missed.

And for those of you living a gluten-free lifestyle, I REALLY REALLY hope you enjoy this recipe.  I had you in mind when I developed the gluten-free variation.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has.

Bacon Lovers: You can thank me later!

But for now, may I present to you the recipe for Alice’s Bacon Salted Caramel Pecan Bars. Enjoy!
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SaltedCaramelPecanBars3 Bacon Salted Caramel Pecan Bars Recipe

Alice’s Bacon Salted Caramel Pecan Bars Recipe .

INGREDIENTS FOR CRUST:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

*Recipe for gluten-free crust below.

INGREDIENTS FOR GLUTEN-FREE CRUST:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (please check label to make sure it is gluten-free)

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon brown rice flour

1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon white rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup sweet rice flour a.k.a Mochiko

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

INGREDIENTS FOR BACON CARAMEL PECAN TOPPING:

1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon vanilla extract *please check label for gluten-free if needed

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup of coarsely crumbled bacon * thick cut quality bacon is recommended

3 cups toasted pecans *recipe here.

coarse sea salt

*Optional Variation: 2 tablespoons Bourbon

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl or Kitchenaid, cream butter and sugar until light.  Add egg and vanilla and beat for one minute.  Add baking powder and flour(s) (and xanthan gum if preparing gluten-free) until everything is well mixed and has formed a cookie dough. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray.  Press cookie dough mixture evenly throughout the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown (see picture below).  Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a large sauce pan or pot.  Cook over medium-high heat stirring it occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved.  When the sugar/water/corn syrup mixture begins to change to an amber like color (like a dark honey) immediately turn off heat.  Carefully add vanilla and heavy cream stirring (add bourbon for optional variation) until smooth and looks like caramel sauce.  Add toasted pecans and bacon stirring and coating everything.  Spread bacon caramel pecan mixture over the cookie crust evenly.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or until cold.  Sprinkle with coarse sea salt sparingly and cut into bars/squares. Enjoy!!

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Cori, I used light corn syrup. I have no idea what golden corn syrup is. Perhaps you can tell me where the recipe went wrong and I can assist from there.
    Alice

  2. Arwen says

    Beautiful recipe. I was wondering though, if you have any thoughts on adapting this for a gluten free and CORN free household? I have brown rice syrup but don’t know if that will work as a substitute for the corn syrup?

  3. Becca says

    Hi Alice. Great recipe. I think that I did something wrong when I added the cream. The sugar mixture turned into a huge glob. I stirred it forever over very low heat and eventually smoothed it out. Was that supposed to happen? Thanks again for sharing the recipe. My husband would do anything for me if I make these for him. -Becca

  4. says

    Hi Becca,
    When making caramel, it is important to cook the sugar at at least medium heat, ideally medium-high heat but not on high heat (your sugar will burn fast if you do). Just simmering the sugar syrup at a low temperature will cause your sugar syrup to convert to what I call as “soft ball” stage. Raising the heat will help the sugar start to caramelize. Don’t be afraid to turn the heat up.. just watch the sugar for when it starts to change colors. Hope this helps.. if you have any more questions just let me know.

  5. Erin says

    So I’m at the final stages of this recipe, and I’m a bit concerned I didn’t let the sugar syrup caramelize enough. It was hard to see given my saucepan has a black teflon interior. Any suggestion on how to correct that, once you’ve got the pecans, vanilla, cream and bacon mixed in?

    I guess if they are don’t turn out “perfect”, I’ll just have to make another batch tomorrow – hee. Can’t wait to try these!!

    • says

      Hi Erin,
      The bad news is that if the sugar syrup didn’t caramelize, the bars will not set up and may be a little runny without the richness of the caramel flavor. The good news is you will still have a yummy type of dessert. One thing I would try perhaps is take a small amount of your mixture and try cooking it longer to see if it will caramelize. I wouldn’t worry about the bacon or the pecans. If your mixture turns to a caramel color.. take a spoon and taste your mixture with a pecan (warning-it will be very hot and you will need to make sure it is cool enough to eat). If it does caramelize, then cook the rest of the mixture and proceed and finish off the recipe. Hope this helps!
      Alice

  6. Nina says

    question for you-

    when you say “1/4 cup tapioca flour 1/4 cup sweet rice flour a.k.a Mochiko” is it both or either or for the gluten free recipe?

  7. Kaelee says

    I have a good friend a few states away who would adore these bars. Just wondering though… Do you think they would hold up okay in the mail? If so, do you have any tips on packaging and sending them?

    Thank you so much. I love your site, and your photos are fantastic!

  8. Jackie says

    Alice I just made these. Everyone who tried them was in l-o-v-e. :)
    Thanks so much for making me look like a culinary hero.
    I tell people it’s really the recipe and not me since that’s where the credit should go.
    I was initially worried about messing up the caramel, but it came out amazingly and tasted so good. <3

  9. says

    A friend of mine showed me your recipe a week or so ago, and I thought, Bacon, Caramel, Pecan? I didn’t see how this combination would be effective until I was invited to actually try it for myself. And I must say I loved it. Not too good for my sugar levels though, but if I could muster enough will power to take just one bite or two….

    • says

      Hi Stevie,
      Yes, I know it sound bizarre but the bacon adds a nice smokiness and a hit of saltiness to balance the sweet out so beautifully. I make these at Christmas time and they are always a hit!

  10. Gayla says

    Dear Alice,
    I cannot wait to try this recipe. And THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the gluten-free version! I have each of those flours in my pantry/freezer. I have used Jeanne’s all-purpose gluten-free flour blend with great success for over a year now. Ahh. . .salted caramel bacon bars. . .oh my! Did I say thank you for the gf version?

  11. Rhea says

    I made these last year for a holiday cookie exchange. They were FABULOUS. I also made another version where I cheated and used a jar of Mrs. Richardson’s caramel sauce and that worked out pretty good as a quick substitute. Just need to keep them cold or the caramel gets a little too gooey. Your version is better :)

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