Whether or not you’re a fan, there’s no denying that maple and bacon go together like white on rice. Ever since the first time some of the excess maple syrup from atop my pancakes got on my bacon during breakfast as a child, I’ve been really into this sweet and salty flavor combo. I’ve tasted maple-bacon donuts before, but I’ve never had maple-bacon ice cream (although I have indeed seen it around for a while). This inspired me to give this ice cream a shot, and it ended up tasting really amazing!
After some research, I decided to candy the bacon before adding it to the ice cream. Partly to curb the saltiness a little bit, and partly just because candied bacon sounds even better than regular bacon to me. The recipe I used for candying the bacon is first in this post – make it on the same day that you’re ready to churn/whisk the ice cream (i.e., after your ice cream base has cooled).
Also one caveat with this recipe is that maple syrup is pretty dang expensive (unless you live in Vermont, perhaps). 1 cup of organic maple syrup cost me around $10 out here in California. So if this is your first ever attempt at making ice cream, I’d say maybe start with something simpler like vanilla so that you are more confident and comfortable with making the stuff. On the other hand, what’s the worst that can really happen? I believe in you if you do too.
Without further adieu, here are my recipes for Candied Bacon and Maple Bacon Ice Cream.
Candied Bacon Recipe
Inspired by: David Lebovitz’s Candied Bacon Ice Cream recipe
2 strips bacon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF
- Put the butter and maple syrup in a tiny saucepan over medium heat
- Cook the mixture, stirring often, until it begins to noticeably thicken
- While the glaze is reducing, put aluminum foil on a small baking sheet and place your bacon on the foil
- Once the glaze is thick enough, remove it from the heat and spread half of it on top of the bacon
- Bake the bacon for 6-8 mins, flip it over, spread the other half of the glaze on top, and bake for another 6-8 mins
- Set up a wire cooling rack, with a paper towel underneath
- When finished baking, put the bacon on the cooling rack, and let it cool for 10-15 mins, until the glaze sets
- Chop the bacon into really tiny pieces. I like to make very fine slices long-ways first, and then cut across.
- Store the bacon bits in the freezer until ready to mix in with the ice cream.
Maple Ice Cream w/ Candied Bacon Recipe
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup maple syrup (grade B is what I use)
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and maple syrup; add the milk and cream; cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 170ºF and/or coats the back of a spoon
- Once the custard is finished cooking, remove from heat, add salt, and stir
- Pour the custard through a fine sieve into a tupperware container, and let it chill in the freezer for a few hours (or overnight)
- (If you have an ice cream maker, here’s where you can just follow the your machine’s instructions and skip the next few steps)
- Once the ice cream base is thoroughly chilled, prepare a large bowl filled halfway with ice and Ice Cream Salt
- Pour the ice cream base into a smaller bowl, and place it on top of the large bowl, pushing it in until the ice covers the sides halfway up the bowl
- Whisk the ice cream using a hand mixer for 10 mins (if whisking by hand shoot for 15-20 mins)
- Cover the ice cream base bowl with a towel and place it, including the ice bowl, into the freezer for at least 45 mins
- After 45 mins, remove from freezer and whisk for an additional 5 mins (10 mins if whisking by hand)
- During the last minute of whisking, mix in the frozen, candied bacon bits
- Pour the ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and let it sit in the freezer for at least 4 hours before consumption and enjoyment
Observations / Improvements for next time
Overall, this ice cream is one of my favorites that I’ve made so far. The saltiness of the candied bacon complements the sweetness of the maple syrup very nicely. Candying the bacon was also a great choice, as it gave the bacon bits a more complex flavor.
The maple glaze for candying the bacon turned out really delicious, but next time I will try to let the glaze thicken just a little bit more before applying it to the bacon. That way, more of it will stick to the bacon while its bakin’ (hehe), instead of sliding off onto the baking sheet.
As for the ice cream itself, I think I used the perfect amount of bacon bit mixins. I thought that there weren’t going to be enough with just two slices of bacon, but the amount I used brings out the perfect level of smokiness in the ice cream. I cut them very small, but perhaps I would prefer them to be a little larger. Next time, I plan to use a little bit more maple syrup, perhaps 1 full cup. That being said, this ice cream is plenty sweet.
I can’t wait to try this recipe again sometime in the near future. My brother had the idea of candying the bacon with cayenne pepper, so maybe I will try that next time.
If you try this recipe (and you really should), let me know how it goes in the comments!