Last year, for a cooking contest at work, I made a maple-bacon fudge that delivered 200% on the infamous salt-sugar-fat triad. I wanted to make it again for Christmas, but because I recently gave up eating animals smarter than a dog, I had to figure out how to replace bacon’s salt/fat contribution.
Recently, while cruising the aisles of the new Wheatsville Co-op in South Austin, I found something in a bulk bin that I just had to try — mesquite-smoked pecans from the Pecan Shop of Waco, Texas.
I bought a few to snack on. The pecans had a slightly salty, heavily smokey flavor that was good, but a little overwhelming. It occurred to me that mixed up in something, the nuts might add a nice smokey element. And then it hit me. Bacon!
When I made the maple fudge last week for some post-Christmas celebrations, I added some chopped smoked pecans. I didn’t miss the bacon at all, and neither did anyone else who tried it.
Pecans have almost as much fat per ounce as bacon (20 g for pecans vs 23 g for bacon), so the fat component was there in spades. The very slight amount of salt on the pecans and the maple syrup completed the addictive trio of flavors.
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
1/2 cup real maple syrup
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 package white chocolate chips (12 oz. or so)
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1 cup smoked pecans, chopped
- Heat sugar, butter, syrup, and milk over medium heat to a full, rolling boil in 3 qt. heavy sauce pan, stirring constantly. Boil on medium heat until the candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, stirring constantly.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the chips to the mix.
- Stir in the marshmallow creme and chopped pecans.
- Stir until the mixture thickens and starts to look dull, and pour it into the foil-lined or buttered cake pan. Let it cool for a couple of hours, then cut it into bite-sized squares.
- Store the fudge in air-tight containers.