While not as common these days, bacon fat used to be a staple around the kitchen!
Before we get into the recipe, let’s take a minute to talk about the wonders of bacon fat. While it’s not a popular thing to use in cooking and baking these days, previous generations saved bacon fat and used it like we would butter or oil today. If you think hashbrowns are good, try cooking them in bacon fat! Eggs in bacon fat? Absolutely. And, as you’ll see below, bacon fat goes well in some sweeter treats, too.
Let’s start off with bacon fat. Chances are, you don’t have a bowl of bacon fat sitting in your fridge – though you will after seeing all of the wonderful things you can make with it! The easiest way to cook bacon and collect the fat, is to line a pan with aluminum foil and lay the bacon out in strips. Simply bake it in the oven until it reaches your desired level of crispiness. Not only does this method keep your stovetop clean from grease spills, but your bacon turns out nice and flat and crispy.
Once you’ve removed the bacon, simply drain the grease from the pan into a bowl. For this recipe, you’ll need about two tablespoons of bacon fat.
While everything is cooling, go ahead and grab a saucepan and dump in sugar, corn syrup, and water. Make sure to take a brush or utensil of some kind and brush water around the edges of the saucepan so that the edges of the sugar mixture to burn or crystalize.
Once the sugar mixture has reached 250°, add in 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and 2 tablespoons of butter. Make sure to continually stir as you add each of these in. Since the butter and the bacon fat are considerably cooler that the boiling sugar mixture, the entire thing will bubble up, so beware!
Add cream into the saucepan in batches, since it is also a cooler temperature. Stick the thermometer back into the saucepan and heat up to 245° before adding in some vanilla and a pinch of salt.
Once it’s all combined and smooth, pour the caramel into a prepared pan. In order to prevent the caramel from sticking to the pan, line it with parchment paper and brush it down with oil. Aprinkle some salt on top – any salt will do, but sea salt or Himalayan salt take this recipe to the next level. Let the caramels cool completely before cutting!