I had this idea and I couldn’t let it go. I held it with everything I had, even as it struggled to get away. I clenched my hands and teeth around it. This is why my ex-husband used to say I am a pit bull. But he didn’t understand
anything the process of giving birth to an idea, and how it requires dogged perseverance and an unfailing and uncompromising hold (even as it struggles to get away).
Good little idea. That’s right– you just stay nice and calm while we take you out for a walk and see how you do.
We made it to the kitchen, my little Idea and me, to the place where many good and bad concepts live or die. I gathered the components: one pound of bacon, maple syrup, brown sugar, parchment paper, baking sheet pans and wooden skewers. I was ready.
Sadly, my idea was not. It needed more guidance; it begged for my love and support and attention to go deeper. It cried out with all the usual toddler calls for attention: it filled my kitchen with billows of black smoke, made a sticky, nasty-smelling mess on my pans… But even when it was a very naughty idea, when it scared all the other Ideas — and people–away , (Please, Mr. UPS Man, do not scrunch up your nose in horror when I open my front door to sign for packages), even then, my love and belief did not wane.
I stuck with my sweet little Idea as it outgrew the terrible two’s; we survived its awkward adolescence (although there was a brief conversation about shipping it off until it was more manageable) — we made it through, and lo and behold: it grew into a sexy, lusty, gorgeous adult. Yes, like Sophia Loren. Or, if you are otherwise inclined, like Clark Gable: Would you like Sophia and /or Clark Gable in your kitchen? (Actually, the question should be: Would you like them in your mouth? But suggesting you put Ms. Lauren or Mr. Gable in your mouth would be highly inappropriate).
Okay, here is how to make your very own bacon lollipops. I will show you first, and follow with a written recipe.
First, soak about 28 6-inch wooden skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.
Combine 3 tablespoons of good quality maple syrup (not pancake topping!), 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl. Dunk the bacon, one piece at a time, in the mixture, and get rid of the excess by sliding the bacon between your fingers.
Place the bacon strips on a baking sheet that is first coated with cooking spray (to make clean up easier) then lined with parchment paper. Weave a wooden skewer lengthwise into each strip of bacon, taking care to leave a bottom “handle”. Make sure the bacon lies flat– you don’t want big curls or bumps in it. Top the skewered bacon with a second piece of parchment paper, and place an empty baking sheet pan on top. This keeps the bacon weighted down so it stays nice and flat. (The sheet pan goes directly over the parchment-topped bacon– this photo shows the pan about to be placed on top.) Bake it in a preheated 350 ° oven for about 35 minutes, until it looks like this: It should have some dark lines around the edges– but not too much! Don’t cook it in until it looks like this, or it will taste bitter and nasty (I learned in those terrible toddler years): Use a spatula to transfer the skewers to a wire rack to cool. It is a good idea for the wire rack to be placed over a pan, because the bacon and sugar will drip as it cools.
After they have cooled, store them flat on a clean baking sheet pan lined with parchment and wrap the pan in plastic wrap. They kept well in the refrigerator for 36 hours. It would be nearly impossible to not eat them if they are around any longer than that.
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons good quality maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon water
1 pound bacon (about 14 slices)
1. Soak about 28 skewers in cold water for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a baking sheet pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
3. Combine the sugar, maple syrup and cayenne in a bowl; stir in the water.
4. Cut the bacon strips across in half. Work with one piece at a time; dunk it in the sugar mix and wipe off the excess with your fingers. Place it flat on the baking sheet. When the bacon has formed one layer on the pan, thread a skewer through each slice, keeping it lying flat, and leaving some of the skewer sticking out at the bottom as a handle. Top the skewered bacon with a second piece of parchment paper, and place an empty baking sheet pan on top.
5. Bake until cooked through and dark brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking pan to cool.
6. Once cooled, to store the bacon lollipops for 1-2 days in the refrigerator, place them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Makes about 28 skewers
Nutrition for each skewer: 44 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 93 mg sodium