This is oh so savory yet sweet! It's such a treat. I hope you enjoy!
thick cut smoky bacon - 6 strips
maple bourbon (or regular bourbon)
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon maple bourbon (or regular bourbon)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon chopped pecans
1/2 cup coarse sea salt for sprinkling
1 teaspoon candy thermometer - you'll need this, trust me
Preheat oven to 400°. Lay bacon strips on a foil lined baking sheet. Gently brush the bacon strips with bourbon on both sides. Sprinkle bacon strips with brown sugar on both sides. Bake the bacon for about 12-16 minutes until it starts to caramelize and becomes crispy.Remove bacon from the baking sheets and allow to cool. Using kitchen shears, chop the bacon strips into bite sized pieces.
Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and lightly toast them in the 400° oven for about 8 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Roughly chop the pecans and set aside. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper or a silpat mat. At this point, be sure to have all of the remaining ingredients measured and ready to rock, you'll need to move fast once the syrup comes to the candy stage. I combined the bourbon and vanilla. And, I also combined the chopped pecans and bacon together. This helped me move faster later when I added everything to the hot sticky syrup. In a heavy medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a boil. (This is where timing and temperature start to get tricky. Be sure to use a candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature.) Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 290°-300°, it should be a deep golden brown. Immediately remove from heat. (*Brittle can be incredible temperamental, so bear in mind that you need to heat your syrup to 310°, Your stovetop, candy thermometer and the climate can all factor the process. You can drop a small amount of the mixture into very cold water to test, it should separate into hard and brittle threads when it is ready.) Quickly stir in the butter, bourbon and vanilla, baking soda, pecans and bacon bites. Be careful as the mixture will start to foam. The foam should quickly subside, at this point you will pour the hot mixture into the prepared baking sheet as quickly and as thin as possible. I used a wooden spoon to gently spread the mixture out because my pour wasn't too even. The mixture is a hot sticky mess at this point, but it's also a lot of fun to work with!
Sprinkle with sea salt and cool the brittle for at least 15 minutes. Once it seems to have set and hardened, you can start breaking it into pieces. I used a vintage meat tenderizer to break it up and it worked great. Store in a container with a lid, I used mason jars. It should last at least 1 week in a sealed container