Candied Bacon Walnut Brittle
Here’s another classic treat we make during the holidays: Candied bacon and black walnuts combine in a crunchy brittle perfect for snacking and gifting. Use foraged black walnuts or order from Hammons Black Walnuts in Stockton, Missouri, for authentic black walnut flavor. This is another recipe that requires a good thermometer; either a candy style or instant read digital will work.
Be careful when making this brittle. Molten sugar burns, sticks to your skin, and keeps burning. Avoid splashes and spills while stirring. Wear long sleeves and closed-toe shoes.
Candied bacon and black walnuts combine in an irresistible brittle that’s perfect for snacking and gifting.
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Lay the bacon out in a single layer on a cooling rack above a sheet pan. Mix the cayenne pepper with the brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over both sides of the bacon slices.
Sprinkle both sides of the bacon with a brown sugar and cayenne pepper blend.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and the brown sugar has caramelized.
Bake until bacon is crisp.
Remove from oven and allow the bacon to cool before chopping it into small bits.
Chop the candied bacon.
While the bacon is cooling, spread the walnuts over a dry baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5-7 minutes to toast, watching to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from oven and allow the nuts to cool. Roughly chop the walnuts if the pieces are large.
For the brittle, first line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set it aside. Steps move quickly on this one, so measure out all of your ingredients and have them close by before starting. In a medium to large saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to boil. Careful not to splash or spill molten sugar onto your skin.
Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 290-295 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy or digital thermometer. It should be a deep amber color at this point.
Boil until the mixture reaches around 290-295 degrees.
Once it reaches this temp, add the bourbon, bacon, and black walnuts. Stir and allow mixture to get to 300 degrees. Immediately remove from heat. Quickly stir in the butter and baking soda.
IMMEDIATELY transfer the mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet, using a wooden spoon or spatula to spread as thinly as possible.
Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle with salt as soon as the mixture is spread, if desired. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour for mixture to set and harden. Once the mixture has set, break into pieces.
After the mixture has cooled and hardened, break into pieces.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week or package into boxes or bags for gifting.
Store in an airtight container or package the brittle for gifting.
10-12 strips thick-cut bacon
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup granulated white sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
2 ½ tablespoons bourbon
Candied bacon, as prepared
¾ cup chopped black walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
Coarse kosher or sea salt for sprinkling, optional