Halloween used to be a much simpler time. I remember dressing up like a genie, head to toe in cheap magenta polyester, lagging around a plastic pumpkin pail. The pumpkin and I grinned from ear to ear as we both filled to the brim with sweet treats. Under the cover of night, my friends and I scurried around the neighborhood, harmoniously shrilling “trick or treat” to whoever dared open their front doors. We sat on the curb at the end of the evening, rummaging through our loot of glassine bags chockfull with homemade cookies, crinkled parchment wrapped caramels and silver foil bound candies.
Now a day, kids saunter through the streets with their parents at hand and go door-to-door during the “safety hours” of dusk. Instead of the homemade caramels and brittle and popcorn balls, youngsters are only allowed to relish in prepackaged candies, for fear there may be a razors or poison in the candy. Razors or poison? Since when did Halloween get so treacherous? I long for the days when the faces on jack-o-lanterns were the creepiest part of the evenings, grinning from ear to ear from the dimly lit porch lights.
So here is a treat of homemade bacon bourbon brittle, not for the kiddies trick or treating this year, but for myself. I will devour this brittle on the couch, in the dark watching Arsenic and Old Lace, nibbling and awaiting the end of this scary season whichsomersaults into Thanksgiving and cartwheels onto Christmas. No tricks, just treats (which just so happens to be my favorite part of this holiday.) I’ll grin ear to ear like the pumpkin on the front porch, eating my homemade candy, dreaming of a simpler world, or at least a simpler Halloween.
Recipe: Bacon Bourbon Brittle
Vegetable oil, for greasing parchment paper
½ cup of sugar
¼ cup of light corn syrup
1 ½ tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of butter
3/8 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of bourbon
½ cup of crispy bacon, torn into small pieces
Sea salt, to sprinkle
Brush a parchment-lined baking sheet with vegetable oil; set aside. Bring sugar, corn syrup and water to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Fit the saucepan with a candy thermometer and cook until the thermometer registers 290 degrees, 3-4 minutes.
Stir in butter, cook, stirring often until the thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Take off heat and add baking soda, bourbon and bacon pieces. Stir together and immediately spread onto prepared, greased parchment paper and spread with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt. Let cool and break the brittle into pieces. Enjoy!
Make Ahead: Brittle can be made one week ahead. Store airtight, layered between pieces of parchment paper at room temperature.