So yea… this post was finished about 5 days ago, but then I got super busy with lots of Christmas stuff: shopping, parties, some cookie baking, and I even played in an awesome Christmas Brass Quintet Concert that raised awareness and food/toy donations for the wonderful organization Lighthouse Mission. It was a great night for a great cause. Have I ever mentioned I play the trumpet? Anyway, so I finally went to post this recipe yesterday morning and what surprise did I find?! Somehow the post didn’t save properly, was erased, and I had to start all over again. Don’t you love it when that happens? So let’s try this again…
We are officially in a bacon craze. It seems like everywhere we turn lately, it’s bacon this and bacon that. They’ve got bacon wrapped, bacon filled, bacon infused, topped with bacon crumble, cooked in bacon fat, and even bacon desserts. Yes, bacon dessert! Have you tried the Brown Butter – Candied Bacon Ice Cream at the Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck? It’s divine.
Although I’m a huge fan of bacon and am not certain that this is just a passing culinary phase, some people feel like it’s being over done, kinda like the recent cupcake obsession (but really, you do need to check out Molly’s Cupcakes in the village for the most unbelievable cupcakes). I’m really not bothered by the bacon overload. I welcome it. And to add to this bacon overload, welcome these little lovely Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken bites, which are as addictive as that amazing TV series that Asheley and I are currently hooked on, Breaking Bad (we literally watched the first 4 seasons in the span of 1 month).
This recipe actually comes from… cover your ears Anthony Bourdain… Paula Deen y’all. I’m not really a big fan of Paula Deen and I hardly ever make any of the butter-laden recipes, but this one actually caught my eye as I was browsing the google one night for party apps. It’s really the perfect party finger food: no utensils required, not even a plate, and it a single perfect bite of sweet, salty, and just a little kick of spicy. It’s also lightning fast to make and can even be prepared ahead of time.
You can easily whip these together in 10 minutes, chuck them in the oven, and that’s it:
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Cut your chicken breasts into approximate 1-inch cubes. Just make them into bite-sized pieces. Season the chicken with some Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cut the bacon into thirds. Now, a little math is involved here to make sure you don’t waste any bacon or chicken. As you are cutting up your chicken, try to end up with a multiple of 3 (3, 6, 9, 12, you get the picture). Once you are finished cutting up the chicken, only use just the amount of bacon you will need (i.e. 24 pieces of chicken would need 8 slices of bacon).
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up) and place a metal, oven safe baking cooling rack on top. I think this helps the air circulate and crisp up the bacon on all sides a little better. If you don’t have a cooling rack that is safe for the oven, no biggie.
Wrap each piece of chicken with bacon. Sometimes I like to give the bacon a little gentle stretch, which helps it wrap all the way around the chicken. Place on the rack, seam side down. And if you don’t have a rack, just put them right on aluminum foil.
When buying chicken breasts, I actually tend to buy those narrower cut chicken tender pieces. They are usually cheaper than the full breasts and are already the perfect width. All I need to do then is just slice them up quick.
And a note about the bacon: Don’t use the thick-sliced bacon. You want the regular thin kind, or else the bacon will take much much longer to cook than the chicken.
Combine 2/3 cup brown sugar with 2 tablespoons of chile powder in a small bowl. I never actually measure and it comes out just fine. Last time I made these I put a little less chile powder in and instead added some cayenne pepper for an added punch of heat. The amount of spiciness you want it completely up to you. It definitely needs some sort of kick though, or else it’s just a whole lot of sweet.
Put a little bit of the mixture on top of each bacon wrapped chicken.
Cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the bacon looks nice and crispy.
You’ll be amazed how quickly people eat these up. They see bacon and immediately make a dovetail for the platter. You can spend hours and hours preparing other super-involved and complex appetizers that you are very proud of (trust me, I have), and people always seem to rave about and remember these. Go figure.