When it comes to bacon the less you the do to it the better it is. These two simple to make appetizers only prove this point. In both cases the key to easy clean up is to use a rimmed baking pan and cover it completely with foil. Place a rack on top of the pan and spray the rack to remove the appetizers easily. Both of these are best using regular, not thick bacon.
Sweet and Spicy Bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 slices bacon
Mustard of choice, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pan and rack as above.
Combine the brown sugar and both peppers, mixing well. Spread out on a piece of foil or waxed paper the length of the bacon.
Lay one piece of bacon out and spread lightly with mustard if using. Press the brown sugar onto both sides of the bacon and place on the rack.
Repeat with remaining bacon strips.
Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle more of the brown sugar on top of the bacon. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes more until crisp and the brown sugar is caramelized. Cool. Remove bacon and cut each strip into 4 pieces.
Yield: 32 pieces
Sherry Marinated Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
16 whole water chestnuts (Canned are fine)
1/3 cup dry sherry or soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 slices bacon
Drain the chestnuts and dry between paper towels. Marinate in the sherry for 2 hours. Drain but do not dry.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pan and rack as above.
Cut each slice of bacon into four pieces. Roll one water chestnut in the brown sugar and wrap in once piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
You may have to stretch the bacon to fit. Place on the rack. Repeat with
remaining water chestnuts, brown sugar and bacon.
Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully turn and picking up the appetizer by the toothpick, dredge in brown sugar again. Place back on rack and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
Yield: 16 appetizers