I love snacks. I love snacking. The problem with snacking though is when to stop. Portion control is very important so I’ve learned that with my snacks I pour, slice, dole out a measured portion and put it in a bowl or on a plate an then put the remainder away so I don’t keep eating.
A good snack my sister recently turned me on to were homemade protein bars. (Thanks Shannon!) These little tidbits are packed with protein, gooeyness, and just down right tasty. She’s a fitness trainer, I’m a fitness newbie so getting the right nutrition can be tricky at first.
While this recipe calls for peanut butter, I opted to use fresh ground almond butter as hubby is allergic to peanuts. My grocery store has one of those dispensers for fresh ground peanut butter, and another for almonds. So be sure to look for that in your store.
I think what makes this recipe so easy is the fact you don’t have to cook anything! Just heat the almond/peanut butter in the micro and add your ingredients. Line a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper. I used a pyrex baking dish so I even lined the sides.
16 oz Almond or Peanut Butter (Folks your ‘butter should only have 2 ingredients – nuts and sea salt nothing else)
12 oz Honey (I like using honey local from my area. This also helps with allergies)
3 cups rolled oats
2 Scoops Whey Protein Powder – Chocolate Flavor
This is the basic ingredients. You can add dark chocolate chips, almond slivers for some crunch or maybe some shredded coconut. The possibilities are endless.
Microwave the ‘butter for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Add the honey and blend well. Next add the whey powder and mix well. Slowly incorporate the oats. If you’re adding chocolate chips now is the time. Once it’s all thoroughly mixed put into a pan and press it to fill the pan. Top with coconut or even granola. Put in the fridge for about an hour or so and cut into 2″ squares. I store mine in a plastic tub lined with parchment paper to make layers. They will last quite a while, unless you gobble them all up too fast.
The OMG snack – Bacon Brittle! Yep forget that peanut stuff you’re used to. Now you get to have the wholesome goodness that is bacon and sweet crunch that is brittle. I do recommend making a double batch because it is that good. (Recipe at the end)
It all starts with bacon. Heck probably all you really need…but lets continue. You want your bacon crispy. I bake mine in the oven because I don’t want to stand at the stove cooking a pound of it in batches. Preheat oven to 400. Line your pans with foil and lay out the bacon. I turned the pans once during the process which takes about 25 minutes. But do check it after 15. Some ovens run hot.
Before you start the brittle make sure your pan is ready, bacon is crumbled and the last 2 ingredients are ready to go. Once that sugar starts to get close to temp things start happening really fast.
Next we start the brittle. A simple mixture of sugar, water and light corn syrup. You must have patience as you need to melt the sugar and get it to the soft ball stage which is 238 degrees. I highly recommend a thermometer! If you don’t have one you can find instructions here for how to determine the temp.
As you can see the difference between stage one and two is dramatic. And also very HOT! Stir gently, you do not want this to splash on your hand.
Cooking Tip for today – Did you know the handles on most pots have a hole at the end. I love to be able to hang my pots up and keep them out of drawers so I have more storage space. But, did you also know they are great for holding cooking utensils? Believe me when working with sugar when you stir and put that spoon down the minute that sugar cools it will be like mortar. Oh sure you can get that piece of wax paper to use but you’ll still have to pull it off. Instead utilize the pan.
Bacon joins the bubbling mass.
Cook it till it’s a nice amber color. You remove from the heat, add your baking soda and vanilla. Baking soda? Why? Well because this is what adds those nice fluffy air holes that makes brittle ‘bitable’. Otherwise it’s like biting thru glass. Now this stuff starts to cool and set up rather quickly. This is why it’s important to have the pan ready to spread it out.
It might not look like much now but wait about an hour. Mine is a bit dark, mainly because the minute you look away for more than 30 seconds, like I said things will happen. What happened to me was I was taking pictures for you all. But it was worth it.
Break it up into pieces and you have something well worth your time!
What you will need –
9×13″ Baking Sheet
Room Temp Butter, just to coat the Baking Sheet
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
3/4 cup cold Water
Pinch of Salt
1 lb Crispy and Crumbled Bacon
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Baking Soda
Brush a 9×13″ Baking Sheet with butter and set aside. I lined mine with parchment paper and buttered the paper.
Combine the Sugar, Corn Syrup, Water and Salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cook, swirling occasionally, until mixture reaches the softball stage on a candy thermometer (238 degrees). Stir in the crispy and crumbled Bacon, continue to cook, stirring often so the Bacon doesn’t burn, until the mixture is amber in color. Remove from the heat.
Carefully stir in the Vanilla and Baking Soda. The mixture will foam up in the pan.
Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and quickly spread it evenly. Set aside until it’s completely cool. You can lift up one side and it will start to break in chunks. Now go enjoy your work, sit on the roof of your house yelling out “Neener, Neener!! I have bacon brittle you don’t!” Of course you could always make a batch to hand out to your neighbors for the holidays.