Bacon, Bourbon, Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats

This recipe is chock-full of trendy ingredients: BACON, BOURBON, BROWN BUTTER, and CHOCOLATE. I used to consider the use of these buzz words a cheap ploy for attention. I mean come on, throw bacon or butter on anything and it’ll taste good. I was that person who chimed in when reality-show judges would scoff at a sub-par dish wrapped in bacon…such a cop-out. 

But I recently had a change of heart. I realized that enrobing bacon in liquor filled ganache can  be a culinary masterpiece if done with deft hands and attention to detail. I’ve decided to put foodie pretensions aside and embrace the joys of the bold, catchy, and one-dimensional (just as I’ve allowed myself to like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus - it's not art, but its enjoyable none-the-less). 

The idea for this dessert came when my genius cousin handed me a rice crispy treat with a piece of bacon on top - delicious!  A recipe had to be created. I was characteristically timid with the first batch, which was good but not great. I realized I needed to grow a pair and just go for it, so I doubled the bacon, bourbon, and chocolate. To my surprise the bars were still well-balanced. The puffed rice cereal kept them light, and the bacon and bourbon off-set the sweetness. This nostalgic dessert reminded me that, although my younger palate was simpler, the food I ate as a kid was just plain good. 

Because I think about food about as much as a teenage boy thinks about sex, I translate the lessons learned in the kitchen to real life. My takeaways are these: 1. Don’t discount something just because it’s popular - it’s popular for a reason, and 2. Don’t be afraid to push the limits - sometimes what seems like too much is just right.    

Bacon Bourbon Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats 

Ingredients:

  • 24 ounces bacon (about 1 1/2 packages)
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey
  • 10 1/2 ounces marshmallow 
  • 6 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Cook Bacon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper and place bacon on parchment. Bake bacon for about 25 minutes or until crispy. Drain bacon on paper towels and coarsely chop.  Reserve 1/2 cup to top the finished bars

Make Cereal Bars: Line a 9” X 13” baking pan with parchment paper and spray with oil. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat (must be large enough to hold at least 6 cups of cereal). Simmer butter for 3-5 minutes until browned but not burnt - it will have a golden color and nutty aroma. Add 3 tablespoons of bourbon and simmer for 1-2 minutes (NOTE: Be very careful! The bourbon with bubble and pop when added to the butter). Add marshmallow to the pot and stir constantly until completely melted. Add chopped bacon (reserving 1/2 cup for the topping) and stir until incorporated. Add cereal and thoroughly mix until completely coated. Immediately pour cereal mixture into parchment lined pan and press evenly. Let cool to room temperature

Make Chocolate Ganache: Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. Over medium heat, bring heavy cream and 1/2 tablespoon of bourbon to a simmer. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and mix until melted.  Drizzle chocolate over the cereal bars.  Sprinkle with reserved bacon. Once the ganache has completely cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!