I have not hosted, entertained, or partied for about six months, and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t wearing on my little extroverted heart. But the lack of other people doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy party foods — after all, I deserve to be entertained, even if I’m not doing any entertaining.
I don’t know who invented bacon crackers — I’ve been eating them at church suppers and holiday parties for as long as I can remember — but they were certainly a genius. Everything about bacon crackers is simple and straightforward, almost obvious. Which is why it’s surprising that you rarely see them outside of the South.
All you have to do is wrap half a piece of bacon around a club cracker, then bake it in a low-temperature oven until the bacon constricts around the cracker. The low temperature is key, as it gives the cracker time to absorb the bacon fat as it slowly renders out of the bacon. As the grease permeates the cracker, it becomes flakier and softer, almost like a pie crust, except not quite as crumbly. After about an hour, you have wonderful little parcels of buttery not-quite-pie-crust wrapped in crisp bacon, and it’s wonderful. (It would be elegant, if not for the homey, common ingredients.)
A lot of people add brown sugar or parmesan, and those are both fine additions, but they aren’t absolutely necessary. Sometimes I brush a little maple syrup on the bacon, which adds some sweetness and keeps the bacon a little chewy, which is fun if you’re in the mood for some slightly chewy and sweet bacon. Parmesan should go under the bacon (grind pepper on top), and a couple of large pinches of brown sugar can be pressed on top of the bacon if you want a candied effect. I like to bake mine on a wire rack (to help the bacon crisp up on the bottom) but you can cook them in a foil-lined pan just fine. To make a whole lot of bacon crackers, you will need:
- 1 sleeve of crackers
- 450g of thinly sliced bacon (not thick), strips cut in half
- Optional: brown sugar, parmesan cheese, herbs, maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 120 degrees Celsius and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (or set a wire rack down inside the pan). Take a cracker and wrap it in a half-strip of bacon, then place the cracker on the baking sheet. Repeat until you are out of crackers, making sure to leave at least half an inch of space between each cracker.
If you are using parmesan, place a 1/4 teaspoon of shredded or powdered parm in the centre of the cracker, the carefully wrap in bacon to trap the cheese. If you are using brown sugar, press 1/8th of a teaspoon on top of the bacon. If you are using herbs, make sure to tuck them under the bacon so they don’t burn. Maple syrup can be brushed directly on the bacon.
Bake your bacon crackers for at least 45 minutes, until the bacon crisps up and contracts around the cracker, giving it a little waist line. Let cool to room temperature and enjoy.