Spicy Habanero Candied Bacon

Raise your hand if you’d love spicy food as a holiday gift? What about spicy habanero candied bacon? Yes and thank you!! This is the perfect gift for bacon and spicy food lovers – chewy, crunchy, lip numbing, sweet and salty treat all in one. It’s just too easy and delicious not to make!

candied spicy bacon

Hello all, it’s been a while since I’ve written here and I’m bringing spicy bacon as a peace offering! Forgiven? OK, great! 😉 For those wondering, I’ve been on a long hiatus from Hot Lollies and lately I’ve been wanting to write again. Truth be told, I was just overwhelmed with everything from my day job, my lollipops business, writing, and dealing with my Dads’ illness and later his passing. Another reason was I was dealing with the side effects of food blogging; getting fat!

There I was, making all these great meals, frig filled to the brim and cooking just to keep up with blogging. I love cooking but I don’t always want to stop and shoot it. Often times I’d forget to take photos and just eat! Needless to say, I wasn’t enjoying the process so I walked away for a couple of years and now happy to be back after gaining a bit of sanity. I’ve missed sharing and writing about my passion here so hopefully you’ll love this recipe! Let me know what you think!

tray of bacon

Bacon Cut

I used a thick cut of bacon for a meatier, more chewy bite. I’ve made this recipe before with regular bacon and it shriveled up quite a bit so cut is a better option. This thick-cut bacon also retains its shape and tastes much better. I found mine at my local Sam’s Club but you can check your local grocer or check out this un-cured bacon. Sprinkle a bit of spiced sugar if you’d like a spicier treat.

bacon on rack

Cooking Process

Keep an eye on the bacon while it’s cooking. My oven is an older model so I usually have to cook things a bit longer than most recipes call for. Make sure the bacon is nice and caramelized before removing from oven and that the edges curl up. Bacon is super fatty so either cook on rack to collect drippings on a pan and line pan with parchment paper for easy clean up. I failed to use the rack during cooking and had a greasier result but next time I’ll cook on the rack.

Additional Tips

Another important tip if you don’t have habanero sugar is to just make your own spicy sugar. I already had some on hand but making your own allows you to control the level of heat. I love using Volcanic Dust products for pure, ground up chile powders. Try this habanero powder and if you’re feeling a little devilish try this one, it’s pretty amazing. Mix in 1-2 tsp of chile powder and add a bit more of dark brown sugar.

After removing the bacon from oven and cooling on the rack, wrap it up in parchment paper, tie a cute bow and viola, your gift is ready!

candied bacon

wrapped bacon

Spicy Habanero Candied Bacon
Author: 
Recipe type: snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Spicy, crunchy, chewy bacon snacks
Ingredients
  • 1lb thick-cut bacon
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp habanero sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix both sugars, maple syrup, molasses and cayenne pepper in a bowl
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, add a rack on top
  3. Brush both sides of each slice of bacon with sugar mixture or rub in with your fingers
  4. Lay sugared bacon flat in rows on rack and sprinkle with cracked black pepper
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it while cooking making sure bacon gets a good caramel color
  6. When finished baking, remove from oven and let bacon cool on rack

 

Get to Know Your Hot Chile Peppers!

Ever walked by a gorgeous display of peppers at your local farmers market or grocery store and wonder, “hmm those look great but not sure what to do with them” or just quickly move pass them? No worries, you don’t have to like spicy foods to enjoy the flavors in hot peppers. Some of the hottest peppers in the world have a sweetness to them…ahem, if you get rid of the spicy stuff inside. Hot chile peppers pack an incredible amount of flavor and knowing your peppers and picking the mild from the hot, and the hot from the hellfire will help you enjoy the peppers that your palate can handle.

There are so many varieties of peppers so I thought it would be a great idea to identify a few of them for you. I hope you will find it useful.

Here they are listed from mildest to hottest…

Ancho (dried Poblano): Very mild, large chile. Can measure 3 inches across and up to 6 inches long which makes them great for stuffing.

Green Chile Pepper: Also a mild chile pepper used in a variety of Mexican dishes and similar in heat to the Poblano. These are large and green and turn red when ripe, although heat is still the same. These look similar to the Anaheim peppers and would be great for pickling.

Guajillo (dried Mirasol Chile): This mild chili can be stemmed/seeded, ground up in a coffee grinder and used as a smoky chile powder. Also great for making sauces and dry rubs.

Jalapeno: Probably one of the most ubiquitous of all peppers. The dried version is called a Chipotle pepper. These range from mild to hot. Hotter than a Poblano but much milder than a Cayenne. Great in sauces, toppings, infusing in liquors, really endless uses.

Arbol (or De Arbol): Very similar in heat to the Cayenne pepper and Pequin pepper. They’re called “de Arbol” which is Spanish for “tree like” because stems look like trees and flavor is earthy and woody.

Thai Chile: Very hot chile used in Thai cooking. I sometimes crumble the dried chilies and sprinkle in soups or chili when I want pure heat but not much flavor. The fresh versions are used in fish sauces, Thai curries and a variety of other Asian dishes. There are other regions of the world that also have similar peppers.

Habanero: Very hot peppers with a distinct sweet flavor. Very similar in flavor and heat to the Scotch Bonnet pepper. You should wear gloves when handling these or wash your hands immediately after. Can be used in sauces, curries (Asian & Caribbean), sweets, pretty much anything. These are my all time favorites!

Bhut Jolokia (aka Naga Jolokia or Ghost Pepper): This was considered one of the hottest peppers in the world up until a couple years ago when the Trinidad Scorpion Butch knocked it out in the Guinness World Records. However, the last I read on this, there have been many others like the 7 pot and the Moruga Scorpian peppers. These peppers are extremely hot, 6-8 times hotter than the Habanero! Caution when handling and using as too much will burn for hours!! Just check on YouTube if you don’t believe me. In saying that, I’ve tried the Moruga, although very little of it and flavor is similar to the Habanero/Scotch Bonnet just more blazing hot!!

So now what? Well, you know a bit more but how do you use them? Well that’s why I’m here, I plan to create easy to make dishes using each of these peppers but in the meantime, here’s a simple recipe:

Jalapeno Infused Vodka
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
 
Ingredients
  • 1 liter quality Vodka
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed
Instructions
  1. Pour ½ liter of good Vodka (Tequila works as well) into a glass pitcher.
  2. Stem a jalapeno and cut lengthwise and drop ½ of jalapeno into vodka.
  3. Let vodka sit (no need to refrigerate) for at least 6 hrs or overnight. The longer it sits the spicier your vodka. Strain vodka when ready to use...you don't want seeds in your drink!
  4. Place in freezer to get it nice and cold and enjoy neat or on the rocks.

 

Before the holidays are over I’ll share a few drink recipes I make with this spicy vodka.

Again, if you don’t like the heat in any recipe, you can easily remove the insides (membranes) and enjoy the great flavor of chile peppers!

FYI:  The heat of a pepper (levels of capsaicin) is measured on the Scoville Scale. The scale indicates how hot a pepper is based on it’s Scoville Heat Unit (SHU). The lower the SHU the milder the pepper. For example a bell pepper has zero SHU, a jalapeno has between 3,500-8,000 SHU and Habanero about 200,000-350,000 SHU….get the picture? If you really want more details on these ratings and the ratings of other peppers check out this great diagram at the Eat More Chiles site.