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Whiskey, Caramel, Marshmallow and Bacon Bark

Posted by on December 8 2011 in Bacon, Desserts, Holiday, Recipe

Yeah, so it’s a mouthful to say, but we’re betting you won’t mind once you find your hand-to-mouth addiction with this week’s bark.

In keeping with the theme of making the bark recipes as easy as possible, we bypassed making homemade marshmallows. Instead we used a bag of store-bought mini marshmallows and melted them ever so slightly on the stovetop, then spiked it with whiskey and poured that whiskey marshmallow layer over the chocolate.

If you’re wondering why not spike the caramel filling as well — good point — and we tried that. But it takes a lot of whiskey to edge out the strong flavor of caramel.  In doing so, the caramel filling became too liquidity for a bark. So while that was a no-go for the bark, we’ll be bringing that whiskey-spiked caramel back for an upcoming recipe.

And since it seems we are never satisfied, we decided to go one step further and finish our whiskeycara-mallow with a spiced bacon crumble. Yes, spiced — that’s spiced with cayenne and black pepper.

There you have it—an ES style bark that’s equally sweet and spicy and a whole lot punchy, with all kinds of goodness.

On a tangential note, we used this Beka Bain Marie to keep the chocolate melted, warm and ready to go. Mighty handy for this series – thank you, Beka!

Whiskey, Caramel, Marshmallow and Bacon Bark

Makes 1 8×8 pan | Preparation: Line pan with parchment or wax paper with a one-inch overhang on each side.

16 oz of semi-sweet chocolate

  • 4 cups of mini marshmallows
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • 1 cup caramel (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup of spiced bacon crumble (recipe follows)

Instructions:

1. Place chocolate in a bain marie or in a heat-proof bowl above simmering water. Heat on low until chocolate is melted. Pour half of melted chocolate into parchement-lined pan. Then using an offset spatula, spread chocolate until smooth. Transfer pan to freezer to chill for about 5 minutes or until melted chocolate becomes solid.

2. Place marshmallows in a large saucepan and heat until marshmallows starts to just melt and forms web-like strands when stirred. (See picture). Remove from heat and add in 5 tablespoons of whiskey; stir to combine. Spread marshmallow mixture over solid chocolate layer. (To easily spread the marshmallow to an even layer, spray offset spatula with non-stick spray.)

3. Pour caramel on top of marshmallow layer. Then, using an offset spatula, spread caramel until smooth. Transfer pan to freezer to chill for about 5 minutes or until caramel becomes slightly hardened. Pour remaining half of chocolate over caramel layer and, using an offset spatula, spread chocolate until smooth. Sprinkle and gently press bacon crumble into chocolate, Return fully assembled bark to refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes or until bark becomes solid. Bring bark to almost room temperature before cutting.

Bacon Crumble

  • 16 oz bacon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoon water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1. Cook bacon and set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, coarsely crumble bacon with hand; set aside and heat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Place sugar and water in a pot and heat until sugar is dissolved. Toss crumbled bacon in sugar syrup to coat. Pass coated bacon through a strainer to drain excess sugar syrup.

2. Add egg white to a bowl and beat until fluffy and foamy. Add in black pepper and cayenne. Whisk to combine. Add in crumbled bacon and toss to coat.

3. Spread coated, crumbled bacon on a parchment lined bakesheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then crumble bacon one last time.

Caramel Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 7 tablespoon heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Add sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Use a wet brush to remove any crystals that form on the side. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. Do not stir the mixture directly. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter and heavy cream to saucepan. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.

UPDATE: Play-by-play on how to make homemade caramel sauce

Notes:

  • If you are gifting this, best to keep it whole and let the recipient dive in and cut it as they go. But if you decide to cut it up and box it, make sure to place a sheet of parchment between each layer.
  • Bark can be kept at rooom temperature for up to two days.
  • You may have more caramel then you need, so keep the leftover in a jar to use in or on another dessert.
  • To keep a nice sharp edge while cutting the bark: (1) Use a really sharp knife and press the blade’s tip into the bark and then bring the remainder of the blade down into the bark. Depending on the kind of knife you use, most blades are shaped at an angle, so don’t bring the knife down in one push, the uneven pressure will crack the bark. (2) After the bark has set in the refrigerator bring it to room temperature before cutting. This will soften the chocolate and make for easy cutting. If the bark starts to split or start to chip off as you cut, the bark is still too cold to cut.

More: Samoas Bark

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65 Responses leave one →
  1. May 3, 2013

    Ok, so I am not a fan of people who completely alter the recipe and then post it – but I am going to be that person. My version is the LAZY/EASY version – just to make people’s life easier. I think one of the keys in the original (which I am sure the original recipe works perfectly well too!) is knowing how to make candy and let’s face it – not all of us are journeyman candy makers. :-) Thank you to the blogger for creating this in the first place!!! Mmmmm.

    [u]EASY/LAZY Bacon Whiskey Bark:[/u]

    Bacon:
    - 16 oz bacon, cut into small pieces (although 8 oz is enough – maybe save some for yourself!)
    - 2T sugar
    - 1/4t pepper
    - sprinkle of cayenne pepper

    1. Cook bacon till crispy. Remove from heat and drain. Place back in pan and sprinkle with sugar and peppers. Stir. Place on paper towel. Set aside.

    - 12oz – 16 oz semi sweet chocolate (I used choc chips)
    - 1 T butter

    2. Melt 1/2 of the choc chips with 1/2T butter in a double boiler or use a microwave method. Pour into parchment lined 9×13″ pan. Smooth. Place in freezer while doing the next step.

    - 4 c mini marshmallows
    - 3T spiced whiskey

    3. Place marshmallows AND whiskey in medium pot and heat over low. Heat until thick but runny, stirring frequently. (I think the biggest difference here was adding the whiskey at the end after the marshmallows were already melted – adding before incorporates the whiskey and then you control how melty you want the mixture to be.)

    4. Remove chocolate layer from freezer and pour melted marshmallow mixture over chocolate. Place back in freezer.

    - 6T butter
    - 6T brown sugar

    5. Place butter and brown sugar into a small pan/pot. Stir constantly over medium low heat till incorporated and bubbly. Continue to heat until the caramel reaches soft ball stage. I don’t have a candy thermometer BUT no worries! I have used the cold water test for years and it has never failed me. (http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Holiday—Celebration-Recipes/Christmas-Recipes/How-to-Make-Candy). 5-7 mins.

    6. Remove marshmallow/chocolate layer from freezer and pour caramel over the top. Place back in freezer until next step is done.

    7. Melt remaining chocolate and pour over caramel layer. Sprinkle with bacon. Place in freezer till ready to cut. Follow cutting instructions above.

    Hope this helps!! Good luck all!

  2. May 6, 2013

    Hello!

    I made this bark for my Derby party on Saturday and although it was quite tasty, my marshmallow layer did not turn out well. Do you have any tips to make a marshmallow layer that won’t chip teeth? I’m not quite sure what happened and since everything else about this recipe was marvelously scrumptious, I’d really like to give it another go sometime. Thanks in advance!

    ~Meg

  3. May 21, 2013

    This recipe looks great however I think the marshmellow bit looks a bit gooey to work with and a bit fiddly but In saying that I am going to give it a try cause it looks super yummy.

  4. Krystle permalink
    September 21, 2013

    This took an exceptionally long time to put together. I am not a novice in the kitchen but this did NOT come out like the recipe intended. If you plan on taking the time to do this, I would suggest go with bottled caramel sauce and marshmallow cream. I followed the instructions exactly and mine did not come together like it was supposed to. Great in theory but failure in application.

  5. Jessica permalink
    November 15, 2013

    Just finished making this. I used spiced rum instead of whiskey because I have it on hand. It looks and smells great though i havent yet tried it! taking it to the hubbys work in a bit! Mine isn’t hard or gooey like others have posted. I did use th e microwave to heat the chocolate chips and I used the microwave to heat the marshmallows since I only had jumbo ones on hand. I heated them until puffy, then put them in the pan and added the alcohol.

    It did take an exceptionally long time!! I’d suggest making even more caramel to hand extra on hand! A I didn’t have any extra left over. I did make a slightly larger batch though.

  6. Clare permalink
    November 16, 2013

    This worked, but I used the carmel cheat that KSH posted. The marshmallow layer turned out too gooey, but I did add a 1/2 TBLS butter to it, since Meg said hers was hard… humm. I think maybe I should have left the butter out. It also turned out REALLY thick, 1″ thick. Next time I would make in a 9×13 pan. Due to the marshmallow layer being so gooey, it made the end product unwieldy when it came to cutting; the layers slid on each other between the slippery marshmallow layer. Overall, very tasty, but time consuming and MESSY.

  7. Chelsea permalink
    November 27, 2013

    This took SO long to make! I did not expect this to be so time consuming. I also found that 5 tablespoons of whiskey was WAAAY to much. It just ended up dissolving the marshmallows and they turned into a soupy lumpy mess that did not look appetizing. I redid it and just added one tablespoon of whiskey, and it turned out much better. The bark ended up being really thick too, so I think if I make it again I would cut down on the number of marshmallows. Overall, this is a good recipe, but it just had a few glitches.

  8. Nicole C permalink
    December 5, 2013

    Found that the recipe did take ages, but that was fine.

    Here are some tips though to help others:
    -make sure your bottom layer of choc is really thick
    -cool your marshallows before spreading. The hot marshmallows on my very cold chocolate made it snap :(
    -let the marshmallow layer set before adding the caramel. My caramel just sunk right through. the caramel ripple was pretty yummy though
    - check your bacon. 30 minutes was way too long with already crispy bacon. mine was done in under 20. (so yummy though!)
    -press the bacon in around the sides first. since my dish was pretty cold the chocolate set super quickly.

    Totally worth trying though. :D

  9. December 20, 2013

    Marshmallow mixture totally turned to soup with the addition of 5 TBSPs of whiskey.

  10. April 9, 2014

    I’m so glad I read the comments before attempting this recipe. I was really careful to not overmelt the marshmallows, I fear I did a little because they became soupy when I added the whiskey. NO FEAR!! I added the remainder of the bag od marshmallows & stuck the whole pot in the ice bin in the freezer. It stopped melting & firmed up just a tad. I commited a sacralige and used store bought carmel sauce…I just didn’t have the patience to try to make carmel again (I’ve had several failed attempts.) the 16oz of bacon seemed like an excessive amount, it completely covered the surface of my 8×8 baking dish. it looks good, I’m allowing it to chill in the freezer overnight. We’ll have to see what the verdict is tomorrow.

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