Whiskey, Caramel, Marshmallow and Bacon Bark

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

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Dungeness Crab Deviled Eggs

Demoned Eggs

At the Brixton in San Francisco, Dungeness crab meat and bacon make a deviled egg that is practically a whole meal (and decidedly un-kosher).

Demoned Eggs

6 ea eggs, cooked about 10-12 minutes
2 T aioli or mayo
pinch cayenne
1 T minced shallots
1 T minced celery
½ T chopped parsley
½ T Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

¼ pound Dungeness crab meat
2 T meyer lemon extra virgin olive oil
2 T chopped chives
2 strips cooked bacon, minced

1. Peel and halve eggs, and pop out yolks.
2. Push yolks through sieve.
3. Mix with the aioli, cayenne, shallots, celery, parsley, Dijon, salt and pepper.
4. Mix crab, lemon oil and chopped chives together.
5. Put the yolk mix through a piping bag and pipe into egg halves. Top with the crab mix and bacon.

More Bacon: Recipes, raves and other bacon bits in Endless Bacon.

Cupcake Rampage: Aztec Xocolatl Cupcakes

¡Ai ya! ¡Las magdalenas del monstruo están sobrando la ciudad!

I have a problem with chocolate. Not an addiction kind of problem, it’s more like the complex gauntlet of feelings a married couple goes through leading up to a separation or estrangement. My problem isn’t with chocolate per se, but rather the lofty pedestal it’s been placed upon as food of the gods. The appeal of chocolate has become so pervasive and universal as to make it ubiquitously available, which has invariably led to a massive spectrum of quality, the majority of which have been dulled and flattened to appease the less sophisticated Western palate. Most commercially available chocolate shares the same stigma as boxed macaroni and cheese; so many people are used to the low balled version that the “real thing” would taste almost alien to them.

Now, I’m not trying to be a snot-nosed foodie and say that you haven’t tried real chocolate until you’ve tasted a raw cacao bean or anything, but I’m also of the mind that the more often chocolate is utilized or abused in products, the less special it becomes. This is why I don’t bake with chocolate very often, not because I don’t like it, but because it’s such a mysterious, multidimensional, powerful ingredient that I want to make sure I use its magic properly.

Then again, the ancient Aztecs didn’t quite think that way when it came to their version of hot chocolate. Before that asshole Cortez came along and wrecked everything, they were known to guzzle gallons of what they called xocolatl, (pronounced “HOCK-a-lottle”) and since they didn’t know from sugar, they tempered its natural astringency with hot peppers and other spices. The recipe that follows isn’t an attempt to recreate that brew with any degree of authenticity, but rather an experiment to see what other kinds of personality traits can be brought out of something that usually tastes the same every time you eat it, like chocolate.

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