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

Spicy, crunchy, chewy bacon snacks
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Snack
Author: Maria


  • 1 lb thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp habanero sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper


  • Mix both sugars, maple syrup, molasses and cayenne pepper in a bowl
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, add a rack on top
  • Brush both sides of each slice of bacon with sugar mixture or rub in with your fingers
  • Lay sugared bacon flat in rows on rack and sprinkle with cracked black pepper
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it while cooking making sure bacon gets a good caramel color
  • When finished baking, remove from oven and let bacon cool on rack


Mark Your Calendars: Spicy Food Festivals

Who doesn’t love a great food festival? I’ll admit, I prefer them during the summer but nothing will get me out of the house quicker than a chance to sample various spicy foods in one spot this winter. Here are a few to check out that are taking place in the next few months.

1. Zest Fest 2012
Jan 27 – 29, Irving, TX

If you like it scorching hot, this is the place to be. The only other festival that draws a larger crowd of Chileheads is the Fiery Food Fest held in New Mexico in March. You’ll samples salsas, hot sauces, and foods from retailers and exhibitors from all over the world. Great way to warm up this winter!

2. Beer, Bourbon and BBQ
Jan 28, New York City, NY

This is a BBQ event but we all know some BBQ comes with a kick of heat and how can you resist sampling over 60 beers, 40 bourbons and whole hog pulled pork, brisket, ribs, sausages with all the fixings! This event is almost sold out in NYC so get your tickets. This is also a traveling festival so check their website for locations near you. Oh and loosen up your belts…

3. Food Network’s SOBE Food & Wine Fest
Feb 23-26, Miami FL

This is part of the Food Network’s traveling celebrity chef food event to be held in South Beach, Miami; the NYC fest is being held in mid October. This isn’t a spicy food festival but I’m almost certain you’ll find some spicy dishes in Miami. A little weekend getaway to Miami should be a nice retreat and a great cure for the Winter blues.

4. Fiery Food and BBQ Festival
Mar 2 – 4, Albuquerque, NM

This is the mack daddy of them all for Chileheads. This events pulls in over 10,000 chile aficionados and hundreds of hot sauce and spicy BBQ sauce retailers from all over the world and is held twice a year in Albuquerque. Here you can sample spicy dishes and hot sauces over the three day weekend event. I’m hoping to make it this year, just wish there were direct flights from the NYC area…uggh.

5. Varli Food Festival
April 5, New York City, NY

This is a food, wine and desserts festival showcasing Indian dining. Guests will be able to sample foods from about 30 Indian restaurants and caterers around the NYC area, view cooking demos, and will receive gift bags with Indian goodies and spices. The event will also host various master chefs such as Sanjeev Kapoor, Jehangir Mehta, Maneet Chauhan, Vikas Khanna and many more. Also, all proceeds of the event will go to various charities. This is definitely an event that can’t be missed and I can’t wait, Indian food is one of my favorites!! I got my ticket so get yours now before they sell out!!

Will you be attending any of these events? Also, do you know of any other upcoming spicy food festivals you’d like me to list? I’d love to hear about them!!

Stay tuned for more events during Spring and Summer and don’t forget to like our Facebook page or subscribe to our blog so you won’t miss a thing!!


Taqueria Downtown: Spicy Food to Warm the Soul

It’s been a little damp here the past couple of days and unseasonably warm for December. Just really odd weather, cold and chilly one night and then it shoots up 20 degrees the next day. Now the weather folks are saying snow tomorrow! Huh?! Is this a sign of a frigid winter to come?

Well, if that’s the case, I’m ready. Gloves? Check. Shovel? Check. Dog friendly ice melter? Check. Easy access to one of the best Mexican food spots in the area in case I don’t feel like cooking? Check! Now I love to cook and will share many of my recipes but sometimes I just want to go somewhere and enjoy amazing food. So on chilly, cold, or wet day like today, I love to go to one of my favorite places for authentic Mexican food,  Taqueria Downtown in Jersey City, NJ

This place is no-nonsense though. You order at the counter, you grab a seat, the food is brought to you, eat and split. That’s it, nothing fancy, awesome food and it’s BYOB. Oh and they have their public list of 10 rules or commandments about not serving up “guacamole side shows” or fajitas, and foregoing the bright Mexican decorations which many have come to expect at Mexican establishments but not here which is fine by me. All I want is great food and pleasant service. Let’s start with the soup. The Pozole is a must and one of my favorites but unfortunately it’s only offered on weekends.

The Pozole is a red broth soup made with pork, cabbage, hominy and served with sides of diced onions, cilantro and lime for extra toppings. This soup is spicy hot and will definitely get your sinuses cleared! It’s on my list of dishes I need to learn to make. The Tortilla Soup is pretty awesome too, it’s a little creamy which is different than what I’m use to making but the flavor is so good and comes topped with crema, avocados and smokey, roasted peppers. I can’t wait to go back for more.

I don’t think I’ve ever had anything there that wasn’t delicious. The tacos are so good and are made using basic ingredients…meat, onions, cilantro and a homemade spicy salsa. That’s it and that’s all you need.

Good food on a cold, chilly, snowy, rainy, sunny or any day? Check. OK, now I need to go get some!

Tis the season…

Ahh, there’s nothing like a refreshing drink after a day of shopping! If you’re in New York City near Columbus Circle stop by Landmarc in the Time Warner building for a spicy tequila treat. The Baja Margarita made with Tequila, red peppers, lime and honey…oh so good.

Spicy Margarita

It’s got a nice kick of heat to the back of the throat but not at all overwhelming. If you’re looking for something to clear your sinuses this isn’t it but the Tequila is smooth and the pepper flecks in the drink were just what I needed. Great way to start the weekend! Happy shopping everyone…and if you can’t get to NYC, I’ll soon show you how easy it is to do your own version at home.


I remember a trip I took to Mexico about 13 years ago that got me hooked on spicy sweets. I picked up some random candy from a market in Cancun and it had this amazing spicy kick to it. A bit surprising but the flavors worked. Don’t get me wrong, I already had a love affair with spicy foods, my favorites being Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Indian curries, and spicy salsas but the sweet and spicy combination in a candy was very new to me. It was some random homemade brand I picked up and just remember the amazing flavor of sweet candy followed by the nice heat of the pepper. Apparently spicy candy was very common in Mexico but very hard to find in the Northeast. Those candies I did find just didn’t measure up; some were too grainy, too artificial or not spicy enough. Over the years I’ve been finding more chilies in chocolates, baked goods and have been experimenting with my own concoctions, like spicing up brownies, sprinkling Cheyenne pepper in hot cocoa, and finally decided over a year ago to make my own spicy sweets to satisfy this little addiction of mine. I figured if I couldn’t find what I wanted then it was time to make my own and that’s how Hot Lollies was born.

My lollipop flavors are heavily influenced by my Caribbean background. My all time favorite fruit is the mango and knew I had to make a spicy mango lollipop. Mangoes go so well with hot peppers. Just sprinkle little dash of chili powder on a sweet, ripe mango or substitute tomatoes for mangos in a salsa…great over grilled chicken, fish or with tortilla chips. So my first lollipop was the Mango Habanero where I used mango puree and habanero chili pepper. The sweetness of the mango puree pulls you in while the heat of the habanero develops after a few licks.

I also make Coconut Chili made with pure coconut milk and Ginger Spice, made with ginger root using various types of chilies like habaneros, Thai chili peppers, and jalapenos. I’m also working on another flavor using the one of the hottest chilies in the world, yes, you guessed it, the Bhut Jolokia, also known as Ghost Chili pepper. All my lollies are available for sale in packages of 3 for $7.50. Just let me know what flavors you like, where I can ship them and what you think!