How to turn cooked bacon fat into a delicious sweet treat – recipe | Waste not

Bacon fat has a unique, rounded, umami-rich flavour that works well in both sweet and savoury dishes, so always be sure to save any left over after cooking, and make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those flavourful, caramelised bacony bits. Bacon fat makes just about any dish more mouthwatering, and turbo-charges it with flavour: use it for sauteing potatoes, frying chicken or, if you fancy stepping up your dessert game, making today’s bacon fat salted caramel. I love it drizzled over popcorn or pancakes, though my favourite is to use it as a topping for vanilla ice-cream. Also, you don’t even need to use any salt, because the fat alone gives the caramel a good, salty twang.

Bacon fat salted caramel

Alchemical, mood-enhancing and furiously tasty, this gamechanging recipe transforms those icky bits of gooey, caramelised bacon fat stuck to the bottom of the frying pan into a luxuriant and thought-provoking dessert. If you want to add further depth of flavour, use smoked bacon (smoked sea salt would also work).

Serves 2-4

2-3 tbsp bacon fat (or a mix of bacon fat and butter)
50g brown sugar
80ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the bacon fat in a wide pan on a medium heat. Stir in the sugar, cream and vanilla, if using, bring to a boil, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the caramel starts to thicken.

Serve hot just as it is, poured over popcorn, pancakes or ice-cream, or decant into a jar or container and leave to cool. Seal and store in the fridge for up to three weeks or the freezer for a few months. Bring back to room temperature before using; and if it crystallises, simply bring to a boil.

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