Thursday, 13 June 2013

Bacon roses! Make these maple glazed bacon roses into an edible bacony bouquet!

For a bacon loving girlfriend's surprise engagement party (post here if you missed it), we were planing to use lots of flowers to decorate the house hosting the party... and then I had a thought.. why not bacon roses?  I had heard of them a while ago, usually cropping up around Valentine's day for those wanting something a little different for the bacon lovers in their life.  And seriously, the idea of having a bouquet of bacon roses... I definitely wanted to make them (and keep fingers crossed they turn out well)!!!

After a quick search online, there appeared to be various methods of making bacon roses... some involving drilling holes into a muffin pan.  I didn't feel like ruining a perfectly good muffin tin.. and was a bit adverse in having stray bits of metal from the drilled holes getting into the edible roses.  So I looked some more found some alternative methods.. some suspend the bacon over muffin tins with toothpicks (too much work and I was scared I'd destroy the roses trying to remove multiple toothpicks out of the bacon roses after!)  I went with an alternative method - pinning the bacon into rose shapes and then placing on a baking/cooling rack - I used my biggest cookie sheet (from this Wilton set) and a medium sized cooling rack (like this one) placed on a tray lined with tin foil to catch the drippings.  And you better line your tray unless you want to toss the tray afterwards in the garbage cuz it gets pretty messy!

Just make sure your "bacon rack" and pins you use are oven safe... and to remove the pins afterwards, otherwise you'll be eating bacon roses complete with metal thorns!!  So first up was rolling up the bacon and inserting a pin into the side so it didn't unravel.  Regular bacon makes roses about one inch tall and about 3/4 inch in diameter.  I didn't realize until after the roses had finished baking that they would be sooo tinny! If you want bigger roses, use thick cut bacon!!  Preheat the oven to 375F and lets get a rolling.  Some recipes say to roll the bacon thin to thick, and others thick to thin... I did it randomy and found it really didn't make a difference.  Just get a nice tight roll without the bugger thing falling to pieces on you and pin the sucker in place.  Oh, and spray the HECK out of the rack with cooking spray.  Yes, bacon is greasy, but the maple syrup doesn't give a damn and you'll want to be able to free your delicious bacon roses from the drip tray after!!

You don't have to worry about standing up the bacon roses... they all fall over anyways while baking, and I found that they drain well regardless of what orientation they're in.  Most important was to pick nice streaky bacon with a 1:1 ratio of meat to fat... if its super fatty, they're near impossible to roll up without breaking apart, and you get super small roses (most of the fat melts off and drains away so you're left with...? No brainer there!).   So after 30 min of toasting nicely in the oven and releasing a heck of a lot of bacon grease into the pan... your lovelybacon roses will look like this:

Waaaaaaait! Don't eat them yet!!  They need a nice maple glaze to candy them up and it'll help them from looking dry when you display them... assuming you dont' eat them all and they make it to the bouquet!  In a bowl, dump in about 1/4 cup of maple syrup.  The real stuff.  Seriously, you're going to all this effort, use the real maple syrup!!!  Brush the bacon generously with maple syrup using an oven safe brush.  The silicone ones work great!  Careful not to burn yourself!!  And if you glop it everywhere, no worries, that's what the drip pan under your bacon is for... and the tinfoil will nicely hold it all for ya!  Back in oven for 10min and then take them out to cool.. You may need to gently wiggle them off the rack as the maple syrup while candy glazing them and adding a nice ruddy hue.. also acts like glue!  Set them aside to cool.. and eat all the ones that didn't turn out as pretty... thats what making extras is for!! :D
You can now shove bamboo skewers - Use large long skewers (like these ones: Bamboo 10-Inch Skewers) into the cool bacon roses, or if you want a prettier bouquet, pick up some stems of fake flowers - preferably ones with removable flowers and have nice sturdy stems.  You don't want the flowers "drooping" over with the weight of the bacon roses on top!! (cuz you know, that'll be reaaaaal sexy!)  Wash the fake floral stems well, dry and remove flowers, saving the leafy and stem parts.  Then, when your bacon roses are nice and cool, plunk them onto the stems, put into a vase and... tah daaah!

Not impressed, okay, here's one with flash on so you can see the glistening maple glaze shine...

And yes, these things are delicious.  Make sure you do 2 packs or at least 2 rashers of bacon so you can snack on the ones that don't turn out... and to make sure you have enough that are pretty so you have a bouquet of a dozen bacon roses for that special someone.
And if you want, you can make some cute little piggies and attach to vase.  Cuz you know, bacon.. piggies... hmm.. I hear those leftover bacon roses calling... Mmmm!

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