For as much as I like to bake sweet treats, I often find the challenge of savory baked goods to be more rewarding. Perhaps it’s because when spices are on the center stage in a recipe there can be so many more possibilities to explore with a flavor profile.
When it comes to condiments or spices (and minerals in the case of salt!), I am a purist at heart. I don’t have ketchup in my home, and the only time I recall happily eating ketchup is on a Burger King Whopper. [The sugar in the ketchup is a nice balance to the pickle.] But in my pantry, you’ll easily find about five varieties of mustard and a number of different barbecue sauces. And – of course – freshly ground black pepper is a constant favorite as a cook and an eater!
I am a long-time fan of using sea salt and kosher salt in recipes, so when I heard about the SaltWorks Fall Recipe Contest I decided to give it a shot. I dusted off six years of recipes from the Baked Chicago blog and found a bacon popover recipe I created about one year ago in which black pepper was the lead ingredient. So I re-envisioned the recipe with smoked salt as the main ingredient to compliment the smokiness of the bacon. And as any good popover recipe does, it also has lots of butter. The result is this recipe for Bonfire® Bacon Popovers, which placed as a runner up in the SaltWorks recipe contest. The coolest thing about being a runner up is the prize: a bamboo salt sampler case filled with 24 artisan salts. I can’t wait to experiment with the Hiwa Kai – Hawaiian Black Lava Salt; maybe I’ll need to schedule a working vacay to Hawaii to do some “research.” That’s the ticket!
Preheat your oven to 425° F. Generously butter a popover pan (or standard muffin tin with 12 cups), and set aside.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and let cool. Coarsely chop the bacon into small bacon bits and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, Bonfire® Extra Bold Smoked Sea Salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together until well blended. Gently whisk in the flour mixture, followed by 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Gently fold in the crispy, chopped bacon. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into the prepared popover pan, filling about 3/4 full and dividing equally. Bake the popovers for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. The popovers should be crispy around the edges. Using a spatula, remove popovers from the pan and serve immediately.