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I use bourbon like how a Chinese cook uses soy sauce – a dash of it never hurts. Indeed, bourbon is such a integral condiment in my dessert-baking repertoire that I’ve decided just to keep a handle of bourbon around. Why not, right? This bacon bourbon jam is another incarnation of my recent bacon obsession. I even went out to buy a baguette for the express purpose of taking a picture for this post.

And my, this spreadable bacon is quite heavenly. It’s a complex melding of flavors and textures – sweet and savory, sticky and crunchy, smokey and woody. I used apple-smoked bacon ends and pieces from Trader Joe’s – a much more cost-effective way since the bacon is going to be chopped up, anyway. It reminds a little bit like Bee Cheng Hiang’s bakkwa, a kind of Chinese pork jerky.

Bacon Bourbon Jam
Adapted from The Delicious Life
Makes a little over 1.5 cups

1 lb bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar and it was fine)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
½ cup brewed coffee
4 tablespoons bourbon

In a large pot, cook bacon until just starting to brown and crisp at edges. Remove cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plate to cool and drain off grease. Pat with additional paper towels. When cool, cut bacon into 1-inch pieces.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from pot. Turn heat down to medium low. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent. Add vinegar, brown sugar, bourbon, and coffee. Bring to a boil. Add cooked chopped bacon.

If You Are Cooking on Stovetop:

Turn down heat to the lowest setting and allow to simmer for about 1½ hours, stirring every few minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and what is left is syrupy. Do not leave the pot unattended because 1) that’s just not safe no matter what and 2) there is a lot of sugar from the onions and well, the sugar, so it can burn easily.

If You Are Using a Crockpot/Slow Cooker:

Pour the contents of the pot into the crockpot. Cook on high for about 3 hours.

After Cooking:

Transfer the cooked bacon jam to a food processor. Pulse until you get the consistency of chunky jam. Alternatively, you can just chop it manually with a knife until it reaches your desired consistency.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

The good people over at Frangelico sent me a bottle of Frangelico to work into a recipe, and after several trials (mediocre brownies, subpar tiramisu) I finally made an actually delicious tiramisu. What I like best about this recipe is the lack of egg yolks in it – I know it’s not authentic, but it also means I don’t have to deal with a bunch of egg whites and worry about contracting salmonella. After all, I do make dessert primarily for one – the longer that dessert stays in the fridge, the iffier it gets.

The sad part about having to experiment with flavors is that I had to eat tiramisu every single day for lunch – while not a bad deal by most accounts, even my sweet tooth got a little tired of it. I’m glad I succeeded with a modification of Baking Bites’ recipe. The cheese and heavy cream filling was light and airy, and the strong coffee I brewed coupled with the Frangelico gave it a sweet, nutty complexity. I had attempted another recipe that involved cream cheese in the filling, and while it was okay, I found the cream cheese flavor cloying and not very traditional. This tiramisu recipe is really delicious stuff, and the perfect sort of thing to make when you don’t want to crank up the oven heat in warm weather.

Frangelico Tiramisu
Adapted from Baking Bites
Makes one 8×8 pan

8-oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream, cold*
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
1/4 cup Frangelico
approx 30-36 ladyfingers
unsweetened cocoa powder, for finishing

In a large mixing bowl, beat mascarpone, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla at high speed until mixture is fluffy and very smooth.
In a small, shallow bowl, combine coffee and Frangelico. Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture to let it soak up some of the liquid (2-3 seconds) and place in the bottom of a 8×8 or 9×9-inch baking dish. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered with the ladyfingers in a single layer. Do not completely soak the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture.
When there is a full layer of ladyfingers, spread half of the cream mixture on top of them.Repeat with remaining ladyfingers and cream mixture.
Dust with cocoa powder
Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.

Serves 9-12