Looking at my note, written in a buzzed state outside a bar in the Highlands of Louisville, I questioned my sanity: bacon, bourbon, hazelnut hot chocolate.
Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what Johnna and I were talking about when that idea came to me. After some bourbon and moving on to hard cider, you stop questioning things and just write down the ideas that you think are genius because you know you’ll never remember them if you don’t.
I thought I was far from genius as I tried to puzzle out how I would pull it off.
Bacon. Bourbon. Hazelnut. Hot Chocolate.
Seriously. What the hell?
I know I like to put bacon in my food like:
I thought this idea went too far because I couldn’t figure out how it should be done. It only took me eleven months to figure it out. Candied bacon.
This may be more steps than you want for hot cocoa, but it is worth it. You will need Hazelnut milk, which you can make with Hazelnut Butter. This is not necessarily easily available and where most of your prep time will be if you make it yourself. The end result is heavenly though. Mine came out fluffier than you would expect a nut butter to be.
This is not dairy-free because of the whipped cream I used. I can’t make coconut whipped cream because of my allergies, but I think it would work well with this. If you can’t have dairy or coconut, there are lots of nut whipped cream recipes online. And if you can’t have nuts try marshmallows! I prefer marshmallows in my hot cocoa, but because of my corn allergy I need to make my own and I wasn’t up to the task when I developed this last week. I had a lot of other things on my plate.
I’m pretty sure you can make the candied bacon with coconut bacon if you are vegetarian or vegan. I’m guessing some of my followers will be trying it with candied bacon and letting me know.
2 teaspoons honey (or pure maple syrup)
½ teaspoon bourbon
2 slices bacon
Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper. Mix together the honey and bourbon. Lay out bacon slices on the tray and brush half the mixture over the bacon. Turn slices over and brush remaining mixture on the other side. Bake for up to 30 minutes or until bacon is browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool before chopping into pieces.
3 cups hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350. Spread hazelnuts evenly on a baking tray. Roast them for 10-15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place hazelnuts between two towel and rub together to remove the skins or place in paper bag and rub them together in the bag. Remove as much of the remaining skins as possible and place the nuts in a food processor. Add a pinch or two of salt if desired. Process the nuts until you have a creamy nut butter consistency, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Creamy Hazelnut Milk
4 cups filtered water
4 tablespoons Hazelnut Butter
Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa
1 ½ cups Creamy Hazelnut Milk
1 – 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or Dutch processed cocoa)
1 tablespoon raw local honey or pure maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)
1 teaspoon maca root powder (optional)
1 ounce bourbon
Whipped cream (of choice)
Candied Bacon, chopped
Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add cacao powder, mace root powder, and sweetener of choice. Whisk together until well-incorporated and allow to continue to heat. Add in bourbon and remove from heat, whisking together before pouring into a mug. Top with whipped cream then candied bacon.