Pace yourself, guys, there's a LOT to take in visually on this one. I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking because you're probably not going to be listening to me anyway, after you see what I did and where I went.
My friend Kat was having a belated birthday party at Carkeek Park, a local beach and all around amazing place to meet loved ones, play, BBQ, beach bum and watch the sun go down. We did indeed do all those things and even got a group picture where we all pretended to be Velociraptors, because duh, and sang the Happy Birthday Song to the Kat.
We were each tasked with bringing something festive to drink and an ingredient to add to the table of options for S'mores. I do love a challenge, so I thought I'd up the ante with chocolate dipped bacon. Headed over to Whole Foods, the butcher and I had a "YUM, BACON, YES" style conversation (I may have gone a little overboard with my joke about the love affair bacon and I are still having, we just can't seem to end it, blah blah blah). I came home with this:
I also picked up that bottle of Rusty Boar Rose to share with the group, which was purchased with the nod to my chosen S'mores addition, clearly. Everyone loved the tongue in cheek reference and at $10, it was a great buy. Would do it again in a heartbeat.
Portioned out the bacon into complimentary sizes for S'mores building. Why make it any harder than need be? Baked the pound of organic, smoked pepper back at 375 for about 25 minutes. I really wanted it to get crispy to hold up to the chocolate dipping. So I watched it and pulled when we had some DARK edges going on.
Let it air dry and cool completely, the fat must be dry or the chocolate won't stick when you dip it. Hot, melty chocolate and a coating of bacon fat do not a sticky pair make (is that a saying? Whatever! LOOK, BACON!)
Let's jump back for a second so I can tell you what I put in the chocolate. I wanted the flavor of the smoke and pepper to be evened out and remain warm but lend itself to something sweet and crunchy, so I paired yellow curry powder with garam masala. This was a measurement by trial scenario, as I'd never done it before and was completely going based on multiple dip taste tests with a knife. I melted the chocolate chips in a double boiler then added in each item by 1/4tsp and tasted after each addition to get a sense for the flavor and warmth. The right amount ended up being 1Cup chips, 1Tsp each of yellow curry powder and garam masala.
Dip, dust, set aside on half sheet pan to cool, or like me, shove in freezer because you're impatient. Take to party and see the amazement:
So many wonderful things, and my dear friend Liz discusses some great pairings over on her blog, Liz Takes the World. The lemon curd and Nutella was REALLY a good choice and I'm stealing that idea. I don't even like sweets but I started getting a little crazy with my options and ended up having 3 different S'mores. Whatever. Summer.
Then we watched the sun go down:
Such a beautiful sunset and time with fun people to celebrate a great woman. So I had s'more S'mores. WHAT!?