Bacon + Chocolate = World Peace?

December 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm 57 comments

When I was in 5th grade, my class went on an overnight trip to a pioneer farm. We took a tour of the farm, learned about the equipment and tools, and slept that evening in a real pioneer cabin. The next morning after breakfast, we were given our authentic pioneer chores. Mine was cleaning up after the farm’s pig, Susan Bacon Anthony. I was not amused.

While some of my friends pressed apples into cider, and other classmates tried out the tools at the blacksmith house, I trudged through the mud towards the barn. Susan Bacon Anthony was a huge pig, bright pink and vivacious. My mood lightened considerably even as I raked out her pen, and by the end of the morning, I was in love. I considered the possibilities of owning a pet pig.

By the time my parents arrived to pick me up, I had an announcement to make – I was becoming a vegetarian so that I never had to eat a Susan Bacon Anthony, or any of her friends, ever again.

My parents seemed complacent enough throughout the drive home. When they started on breakfast, though, my dad asked casually, “This means no bacon for you, right?”

As a child I was passionate about bacon. I couldn’t get enough of its smokiness, its crisp and chewy texture, its salty goodness. But at ten years old I stood my ground and agreed – no bacon. I told myself it was a sacrifice I’d have to make, and I pictured Susan Bacon Anthony’s corkscrew tail and thin, floppy ears.

As the pan sizzled and the house filled with the smell of bacon, I ended up going outside. I clutched a glass of orange juice and sipped it fervently, trying not to give in. Ten minutes into our breakfast, I caved, and took a piece of bacon from the center plate. We all knew the two hour vegetarianism had only been a half-hearted attempt at best, and I haven’t tried to play the vegetarian card since.

I’m not fooling anybody.

When faced with bacon brownies, I think many people are divided. Some might have seen the unusual combination of bacon and chocolate before in fancy restaurants or among foodie circles. But more commonly, I think most people think the idea of bacon and chocolate together sounds disgusting. You are not alone, but you might want to give it a fair chance.

My friend M- is very conservative about food. Once, when I was just starting to bake, I brought a cake with me to a friend’s house. We had cut the cake, transferred the slices to plates, and passed around the forks. My friends had the first bite halfway to their mouths when M- casually asked, “So what is this exactly?”

I answered truthfully and replied, “It’s a chocolate cake with a chocolate-sour cream frosting.” I looked up and saw that M- had put his fork right back down onto the plate, and my other friends followed his lead. “Sour cream?” He just couldn’t wrap his mind around sour cream in dessert, despite my protests, and not a single bite of the cake was even tried. Frustrated, I had to transfer all the slices back to the cake carrier and bring the untouched cake home.

The following day, I made a sour cream banana pound cake with sour cream frosting and brought it to my friends. With an entire cup of sour cream in the cake alone, they were truly about to eat their words. When the cake was fully consumed, M- having had his second slice, I told them the truth. Sour cream is delicious, and you’d like it if you gave it a chance.

After I made these brownies, M- happened to stop by. Since I began baking he’s become more adventurous, and he agreed to try one of the brownies even though he was repulsed by the combination of bacon and chocolate. He accepted the piece, examined it carefully, and then took a small bite. He proclaimed it “pretty good.”

Chocolate and bacon actually make a natural combination. The brownies are dense and fudgy, and the crumbled bits of bacon add a bit of texture and a hint of smokiness. In the same way that coffee provides a solid foundation for chocolate, bacon adds something special and elevates a simple brownie to something more.

And I can’t help but think that if maybe everyone gave Bacon Brownies a chance, we could all stand together on something, despite our differences. Bacon and chocolate = world peace.

I made these brownies for my dad, who couldn’t get a bacon brownie he’d eaten once before out of his mind. I did a bit of research, trying to figure out the best way to combine the two ingredients, and found that a very loyal and enthusiastic fan base for bacon exists.

While I don’t think I’m passionate enough to go to Bacon Camp yet, I’ll admit this embarrassing tidbit. As I was cooking the bacon for these brownies, I started singing “True Colors” under my breath. Without even realizing it, I was changing the lyrics.

And I see your true bacon
Shining through
I see your true bacon
And that’s why I love you…!

My dad heard, and he couldn’t stop laughing. Such is the power of bacon.

Bacon Brownies
Adapted from The Hungry Engineer
Makes a 9″x9″ pan of thin, delicious brownies

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 oz (8 tablespoons) butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 1/2 oz flour (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons natural cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
4 strips bacon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″x9″ pan and set in parchment paper, letting the two ends hang over the edge. This makes a “sling” that will make lifting the brownies out of the pan very easy. Grease the parchment.

Heat a large pan over medium heat. When hot, lay in the strips of bacon. You want them to be crispy. Let them cook on each side until sufficiently cooked, then transfer to a plate with several layers of paper towel. Once cool, cut or rip the bacon into bits. I found that bits the size of your fingernail were best.

Place the chopped chocolate and the butter in a metal bowl, and set it over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir the mixture until the smooth and the chocolate has melted completely. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, then whisk in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, stirring until smooth.

Sift in the flour and cocoa, and whisk to combine. Stir in the bacon bits.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake brownies 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool in the pan for a few minutes, then use the parchment sling to lift the brownies out of the pan. Transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Entry filed under: Bars/Brownies. Tags: , , , , , .

Gingerbread Igloo Adventure, Anticipation, and Appreciation

57 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hillary  |  December 29, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I don’t eat bacon, but I think chocolate could quite possibly bring world peace ; ) Thanks for a beautiful post with perfect pictures. Your hard work is appreciated!

    ~ Hillary @ Nutrition Nut on the Run

  • 2. Lauren  |  December 29, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I might be a little on the fence about bacon in brownies, but these look amazing Elissa! I’m so glad M liked them!

  • 3. Stephanie  |  December 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    My 11 year old would heartily agree. They are 2 things in the world she is sure she can’t live without. Now if we could just figure out a way to add avocado to the mix…..
    Can’t wait to try these!

  • 4. ric  |  December 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    just saying whats the deal – i havent seen you at work. whats the deal? ill be there in like an hour so well see whether or not you can keep hiding.

    wait is it break for you? whatever. keep it fresh dunn

  • 5. Monica H  |  December 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    “That’s why I love you” ha ha!

    I love me some bacon and chocolate but have never had the opportunity to try them together. I do love bacon and sweet together though– as in I like to dip my bacon in syrup. mmm!

  • 6. Janet  |  December 29, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Chocolate and bacon were all over the food blogging world last summer; I’m surprised you’re just now trying out the combo.
    I am normally a huge fan of your blog, but find it hard to believe that you were changing the words in True Colors without even realizing it. This just seems like you are trying too hard to spin a cute tale.

    • 7. kathleen  |  March 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      you suck, Janet

  • 8. Kate  |  December 29, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Bacon Brownies, I’d love to try them. I saw a bacon and chocolate chocolate bar on the television today. It actually sounded like something that I would want to try. Sour cream sounds delicious in a cake, just like cream cheese (and cream cheese frosting is delicious).

  • 9. Danae (The Busty Baker)  |  December 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I love it! I’m going to have to try these. I made Bacon Cupcakes last year and loved them, so I’ve been looking for other bacon related desserts to experiment with. These just made the list!

  • 10. Shaylee  |  December 29, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Oh my goodness, these sound so delicious. I want to give these a try for New Years Eve!

  • 11. Yumi  |  December 29, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    I don’t know, Janet. I think there’s something to be said for doing things at your own pace instead of just jumping on the bandwagon. And as for the song…you’re free to believe what you like, of course, but hasn’t anyone ever told you if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?

    Props, Elissa. Bacon and Chocolate are my two great loves in the food world, and I’ll definitely be trying this recipe soon. Maybe for New Years’?

  • 12. katemotter  |  December 30, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Um, wow, these look amazing! I thought my bacon chocolate cupcakes were good… these look even better!

  • 13. Food-Fitness-FreshAir  |  December 30, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Just came across your blog. A high school baker, that’s wonderful. I used to bake almost everyday when I was in high school! College has sucked up too much of my time to do that. Great photos, recipes, ideas. Have been enjoying browsing your blog!

  • 14. Hannah  |  December 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Wow, would never have thought of this combination… but having read the description I could believe it works! These look like one for my dad, or possibly New Years :D
    Have a good one!

  • 15. Amykate  |  December 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Question – I’m in England and we have an odd array of bacon over here, what would you suggest, Streaky? Back?

    I assume Smoked rather than un-smoked?

    I am going to try these….. wish me luck!

    • 16. Elissa  |  January 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      Amykate – I’m afraid I have no idea about the different types of bacon, I’m so sorry :( But I would suggest smoked rather than un-smoked. I would say… think about the kind of bacon flavor you want in the brownies, and pick a bacon that will get crisp and flavorful. Let me know how it turns out!

  • 17. Janet Rudolph  |  December 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Love your Chocolate/Brownie recipe. I have one, but I think yours is better. Particularly liked your recommendation to tear the bacon into fingernail size bits. Much better. I’ll definitely include and link this on my next Bacon/Chocolate round-up.

  • 18. Niki  |  December 30, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    I whole-heartedly agree that bacon and chocolate belong together! My friends think I’m nuts, but they are so missing out!

  • 19. Francis  |  December 30, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Tenho que dizer, seu blog é PERFEITO !
    Acabei de vê-lo no site:
    Fotografica com gastronomia, uma mistura perfeita.

  • 20. ivorypomegranate  |  December 30, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    I love love love brownies that are dense and fudgey, and I’m sure adding bacon can only make them better. I’ll definitely have to try this!

  • 21. K  |  December 31, 2009 at 12:22 am

    janet. . you are dumb. who cares about what they have seen before. . this young woman is passionate and smart. . RESPECT.

  • 22. wearsjojo  |  December 31, 2009 at 2:11 am

    your awesome! you know my mom is afraid of meat+sweet so I usually avoid it, but I may just have to try these.

    I also agree with K ^

  • 23. Margarita  |  December 31, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Oh, yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been thinking of the one and only time I’ve tried a bacon brownie. It was surprisingly delicious. It was a memorable evening, thanks to my company and the delicious foods I was trying for the first time. This is wonderful!!!!!!!!! Bravo to those adventurous souls who try something new. Yes, akin to meeting new people and finding we have something in common with them, just like chocolate and bacon equals good taste. :D Thanks, Elissa for bringing out new possibilities. There is so much goodness to discover.<3 Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 24. Margaret  |  December 31, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Those look soooo good! You should try Vosges Chocolates bacon chocolate bars. You can get them at Whole Foods! Yum!

    I read food blogs all the time and I had never seen chocolate and bacon together until now, but who really cares anyways? Cool your jets, Janet!

  • 25. Elissa's Dad  |  January 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    AMYKATE-Elissa used American style bacon that comes from the belly of a pig that had been cured and smoked with hickory. In England, streaky bacon is the nearest equivalent.

  • 26. Tania  |  January 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    This post made me laugh!

    At first I was slightly repulsed, I admit – but you’ve convinced me ^^

  • 27. Tiffany  |  January 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Happy New Year.

  • 28. Cookteen  |  January 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Going to give these a try..,my dad will love them. Chocolate and brownies are 3 of his favorite flavors! I am 16 and have a blog as well, it was nice to find a fellow teen blogger.

  • 29. Cookteen  |  January 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I mean 2 of his favorite flavors.. Hahah..typo on the bberry:-)

  • 30. Joelle  |  January 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    hello! i’m a 24yo medical student from N. California SF Bay Area. i found your blog on tastespotting and have been reading it ever since. i was immediately intrigued by your beautiful pictures and sweet narratives. your passion is so easily seen through your work and words.

    today though, my love for you has been solidified via the “True Colors” turned “True Bacon” number!! haha!! that sounds exactly like something i would do!! so, good luck to you in all your endeavors. i can’t wait to read what else you have in store :)

  • 31. Margarita  |  January 2, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Elissa-I just have to add that you, SUPER ROCK, girl!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, I just had to say it. :D I appreciate you sharing your inner thoughts. They’re beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep them coming. I eagerly await your next posting. <3 A fan.

  • 32. Erica  |  January 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    You have a fantastic blog! Delicious recipes.

  • 33. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction  |  January 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    You’re definitely onto something here! Love all of the photos… they are beautiful!

  • 34. Summer Dawn  |  January 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    i think that all janet really needs is some MIDOL brownies. elissa, thx for the recipe. started reading your blog about a week ago, you rock my world! def gonna have to try these. keep on baking, i feel proud that someone so young actually has a passion, and dont let the haters get you down ;)

  • 35. Bacon Brownies – 17 and Baking | Happy Happy Joy Joy  |  January 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    […] Bacon + Chocolate = World Peace? « 17 and Baking. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! […]

  • 36. Maria  |  January 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Happy New Year! Very interesting creation:)

  • 37. Marisa  |  January 4, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    That looks soooooo good! I recently tasted chocolate covered bacon for the first time and I loved it! Definitely going to be baking your brownies. Thanks for sharing!

  • 38. kimberly  |  January 5, 2010 at 10:46 am

    i tried this recipe last night… maybe i melted/cooked the baking chocolate too much, or added too much flour (maybe my 4.5oz of flour should have converted to less than a cup? i don’t know), but they were so thick that it broke the handle to my spatula! i had to add milk and water until the dough was pliable enough to actually fold in the bacon with some degree of ease… i’d switched to my wooden spoon by that point. who knows! but they still taste delicious!

  • 39. Eliana  |  January 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Chocolate and bacon – sounds like heaven to me. Happy New Year.

  • 40. Deborah Winter-Blood  |  January 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I don’t eat meat, but those brownies look delicious. I’ll probably dream about them tonight, hahahahaha!

  • 41. Taylor  |  January 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    First of all, I have to express how much I adpre this blog of yours! As a fellow young (I’m fifteen years old) baker/lover of all things food/chef, you inspire me so much. When I first stumbled upon the site a couple weeks ago, I spent hours just reading all of your past posts. It was wonderfully entertaining! Your writing is fabulous, and it has such a unique, lovely “voice”. The photographs quite literally make me salivate. And the recipes… Well let’s just say every single one I’ve tried out so far have been out-of-this-world amazing. And these bacon brownies were certainly no exception!
    I decided to make them last night, because 1. I was craving chocolate and 2. I was procrastinating my AP European History homework… Anyway, they were a joy to make and turned out beautifully. As soon as I saw the title of this post I knew I would have to make them eventually– the idea of bacon with chocolate intrigued me! My family however, took some convincing. My sister couldn’t fathom why you would ruin such a glorious thing as bacon by combining it with chocolate, and, on the flip side, my mother couldn’t understand meddling bacon with already perfect chocolate. My dad just said “Ew”.
    So I carefully prepared the batter and patiently waited for them to bake and cool (okay, well, NOT so patiently). My family ate them in silence. And finally, when their plates were clean, they accepted the glory of bacon brownies. I have a feeling I will be making these again.

    Once again, thank you for this blog! And my apologies for this novel of a comment :)

  • 42. Mariah  |  January 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I COMPLETLY UNDERSTAND!!! My brother REFUSES to eat anything with creamcheese in it! That means no cheesecake (my favorite thing to bake). It dosnt even taste the same once you add things to it!! Why cant people just try it? I even showed him a recipe made with cream cheese. He said it looked delicious but then I told him what was in it. So I guess I wont be making that after all.

  • 43. Sophia  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    if you don’t have real bacon lying around, is it acceptable to use canadian bacon, ehh?
    (sorry bad joke)

  • 44. Yumi  |  January 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I made these brownies (and hogged them all to myself, hah). They were fantastic–unfortunately I didn’t get any photos, they didn’t last long–but I’m definitely making them again soon.

  • 45. margaret13  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I just wanted to tell Janet to LAY OFF. Elissa is NOT trying to spin a cute tale. She is gifted with words, and we all LOVE reading her blog. :) Sorry, Elissa, if that seemed kind of harsh!

  • 46. Elissa's Dad  |  February 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    SOPHIA: I dont think you can use canadian bacon as the moisture content is very high and spoilage may occur rather easily. Also, part of the effect of the brownie is the crunch and crispy texture of the fried American bacon. I suppose if you fried the canadian bacon crispy it may work, but I dont think you will get the textural effect.

    But like I always say, try it, who knows it might just work. The worst that will happen is you throw out a batch of lousy brownies.

    I just eat them quickly because of the spoilage issue.

  • 47. Ace  |  April 17, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Hi Elissa, Just found this blog via SmittenKitchen and I have to say I think it’s awesome! I’m a huge fan, and recent convert, to the chocolate bacon combo. I made a batch of mini-dark chocolate bacon cupcakes for an annual cupcakes and wine party I hold but those used coffee to give a stronger chocolate flavor. I liked them so much I made them again 2 weeks later for the CupCakeCamp in NYC – although there I was told they weren’t bacony enough! Super excited to try these, they’re in the oven now and smell amazing. Congrats on your blog again!

  • 48. Bacon + Chocolate = …? « Deepwire's Blog  |  June 12, 2010 at 10:26 am

    […] a favourite among friends.  I can’t take credit for the recipe, that goes to Elissa from 17 and Baking.  Nor can I take credit for finding it, that goes to my good friend Amy, a fellow baking […]

  • 49. Unexpected Baker  |  January 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    […] night I decided to try another brownie recipe. I got the idea for bacon brownies at 17 and Baking. Her recipe makes thin, fudgy brownies, but I like thicker, cake-like brownies. So I adapted the […]

  • 50. Sheryll Chuachingco  |  January 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I tried making bacon brownies last night. They were really good. Thanks for the idea. I really love your blog. Your recipes and ideas are so helpful.

  • 51. Aundrea L.  |  January 27, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Bacon Brownies? Who would have thought? Just a few weeks ago I tried something that I thought I wouldn’t necessarily like, but once that sausage hit my tongue It was a blast of flavors, that of sweet ( simmered in some kind of syrup like sweet sauce), saltiness, and just a pinch of spice that made it “Mmm mmm good”. Its definitely not something I would have thought of trying myself as goes for bacon and brownies but seeing the pictures and reading seems quit inviting. I’m not a fan of plain brownies except when they have nuts in them becasue its just the right amount of softness and crunchiness just as the Bacon Brownies. I think these will make it on my top desserts!

  • 52. Isabel Kitchen  |  February 2, 2011 at 2:09 am

    These sound delicious! I’ve been intrigued by the bacon-sweet combination for a while now, I was thinking about trying bacon ice-cream but brownies sound a lot safer. I already have a delicious brownie recipe but I’m looking forward to trying this one. Amazing pictures!


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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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