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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Recipe: Maple Bacon Chocolate Ganache

Recipe: Maple Bacon Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate... Maple... Bacon...

Need I say more?

This test recipe was developed as an experiment during a session of Culinary School dedicated to Bonbons.  Sitting in a Starbucks in Midtown NYC, my stomach was grumbling for some classic breakfast flavors. Out came the note cards, and Viola! The recipe for Maple Bacon Chocolate Ganache. 

With just a few modifications from the lessons learned during the initial execution (and a thank you to Chef Instructor Michael for the helpful suggestion of adding Honey as an emulsifier), here is the updated recipe. 

It proved delicious as the filling for a set of Dark Chocolate Bonbons. Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the extra quart waiting for me in the refrigerator. I'm take suggestions!

Dark Chocolate Bonbons Filled with Maple Bacon Ganache

Maple Bacon Chocolate Ganache:

Yield: Approximately 1,500g / 3 Liters

  • Smoked Bacon*: 150g
  • Heavy Cream: 500g (separated 400g / 100g)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Black Pepper: to taste
  • Real Maple Syrup*: 600g (separated 500g / 100g)
  • Milk Chocolate (Couverture)*: 500g
  • Cocoa Butter: 50g
  • Honey: 50g

*A Note on Ingredients: 
- For the best Bacon flavor, use a heavily smoked product with a lot of fat that can be rendered for the Ganache. 
- Do not try to use anything other than real, 100% Maple Syrup for this recipe - the fake stuff will be a disaster! 
- For the Milk Chocolate, use "Couverture", which is a high quality product that contains a higher proportion of Cocoa Butter (i.e. do not try to use a bag of Toll House Morsels!)


1. Cut the Bacon into lardons and render them in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the fat is fully rendered, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. 

2. Add 400g of Heavy Cream to the rendered Bacon. Bring the mixture to a boil so that the rendered Bacon and Cream emulsify through the boiling action. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the Bacon flavor infuse the Cream. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Chef's Note: If the rendered Bacon fat is too hot, the Cream will splatter when it is added. 

3. As the Cream infuses, bring 500g of Maple Syrup to a rolling boil in a deep pot. Continue to boil the Maple Syrup until it reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit and has reduced roughly by half. 

4. Once the Cream is infused, stream it into the Maple Syrup while whisking actively. Return the combined mixture to a boil while whisking. Once the combined mixture returns to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the heat. Allow the Maple Bacon Infusion to cool to at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chef's Note: The Cream will bubble and steam when it is added to the hot Maple Syrup. Using a pot with high sides will prevent any boil-over.

5. Place the Milk Chocolate and Cocoa Butter in a large, dry bowl. Once the Maple Bacon Infusion has cooled sufficiently, strain it over the Chocolate (save those candied Bacon lardons for snacking!). Allow the Infusion to melt the Chocolate for a minute and then emulsify the Ganache with a piano whisk. 

Chef's Note: If the Infusion is too hot when it is added to the Chocolate, it may cause the Ganache to break. The fat content from the rendered Bacon also increases the potential for a broken Ganache. However, the entire mixture will be further mixed in a food processor with Honey, a natural emulsifier, and any broken Ganache should return to a smooth, stable consistency.

6. Transfer the Ganache to a food processor. With the food processor running, stream in the Honey. Once incorporated, stream in the 100g of Maple Syrup followed by the 100g of Heavy Cream. Continue processing until the Ganache is fully combined and homogeneous.

Chef's Note: The Ganache will become thicker as it cools. The amount of Maple Syrup and Heavy cream that is added will vary based on the desired final consistency. 

7. Transfer the Ganache to a large mixing bowl and cover it with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the Ganache. Allow the Ganache to cool, stirring occasionally.

Rendered Lardons of Smoked Bacon with Final Maple Bacon Bonbons

Bowl of Maple Bacon Ganache

Working through the Recipe for Maple Bacon Ganache

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