Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chocolate Bacon Brownies

Woah 2012! How are everyone's resolutions going? The gym is a zoo three days a week still, so I guess they're going strong. Speaking of which, have you ever watched animals using a treadmill? It's pretty awkward. Did you see what I did there? ;)

Anyway, I hope your new year has started off great. I don't know what the resolutions were like in your household, but the morning of our new year started out with us eating as many cinnamon buns as we could until we found a hidden lucky coffee bean. It's going to be a good year.

What? You didn't do that?

My family decided to start a new food tradition this year since last year's pork and cabbage and lentils seemed to give us NO luck. So this year Dad presented our new tradition, loosely based on an idea from Norway (can someone tell me where he finds this stuff? I'd like to see the Google searches on that man's phone): an almond is placed in a pot of rice pudding, and whoever gets the almond in their dish is supposed to have luck the rest of the year. I say loosely because rice pudding is not a favorite in our household, especially if raisins are involved, and my brother now deathly allergic to almonds (looking back this sounds like a terrible idea...). And since we're American and not Norwegian, we replaced the rice pudding with cinnamon buns and the almond with a coffee bean. HELL YES.

To make a long story short, my older brother ended up getting the coffee bean, and has had the worst luck of all of us ever since (apparently accidentally shaving off your beard is super tragic in the man-world).

So if you're looking for more luck this year, I say ditch the resolutions and start shoveling baked goods down your throat. And a half pound of bacon. And you should start with these Chocolate Bacon Brownies.

I apologize for the quality of this photo. The big fancy camera decided to be stubborn so my cracked and slowly dying phone saved the day. 

These brownies start with a chocolate cookie, pretzel and bacon fat crust. Stay with me....The crust is topped with bacon and chocolate chip brownies, and the whole thing is covered in dark chocolate bacon ganache with chopped bacon and crushed chocolate cookies. If that doesn't ooze luck I'm not sure what does. Let's start this year off right, folks.

Chocolate Bacon Brownies
Chocolate Pretzel Crust
1 cup ground pretzels
1 cup ground chocolate wafer cookies
3 Tbsp bacon fat
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp sugar

Toss all ingredients together and press into the bottom of a greased 9x13" baking dish.

Bacon Brownies (Brownies adapted from Hershey's)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp espresso powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and chopped (1/4 cup reserved for topping)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter and sugar in microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir to combine and let cool slightly. Mix in eggs one at a time and stir in espresso and vanilla. Add cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt, and mix until just combined. Fold in bacon and chocolate chips, and pour batter over chocolate pretzel crust. Bake 30-35 minutes.

Bacon Ganache
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp bacon fat
1/4 cup bacon, chopped and cooked (optional)
1/4 cup ground chocolate wafer cookies (optional)

Place chocolate chips in heat safe bowl. In the microwave or on the stove, heat heavy cream until just before it boils. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for a couple minutes. Slowly whisk chocolate and cream mixture until chocolate is melted and smooth, then stir in bacon fat. Pour on top of cooled brownies. Top with bacon and chocolate cookies, if desired.

Or go eat a salad or something.

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