The majority of 1 Fine Cookie recipes and tutorials tend to lean on the sweeter side. Not because I have a sweet tooth, or because I am on an evil mission to instill a diabetes epidemic and end human kind. Baking and cooking with sugar is what I do best. It is what I was taught.
That being said, although I love to bake for clients and post sweet recipes, my heart belongs all things salty, cheesy, and meaty. Bacon and I are getting married, and building a swimming pool of beer.
This is a simple, last minute recipe that incorporates an Irish drink that is not Guinness. There are Irish beverages besides Guinness???? You don’t say.
Although bacon has little to do with Saint Patrick’s day (at the same time, most of what we associate with St. Paddy’s day has little to do with the original holiday as well), and the same goes for parmesan cheese, it’s my blog. I do what I want.
I topped my hard cider dip with bacon in the shape of shamrocks. The bacon is actually the best part. If you think any different, you’re wrong.
Use toasted soda bread croutons to dip into this warm, boozy goodness. Sour dough bread works incredibly well too, or whatever bread you like.
Here is What You Need for Your Hard Cider Dip,
For the Dip
- 12 ounces of hard Irish cider (or any hard cider, really. I used Magner’s but there are some other very good versions out there)
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1 - 1 1/2 lbs of parmesan cheese (you can use other cheeses, but I found this to taste the best. Be aware that some cheeses make better dips than others)
For the Croutons
- 1-2 loaves of bread (soda bread, or whatever type you like)
- optional: olive oil
For the Shamrock Bacon Confetti
- thick-sliced bacon (thick and fatty works best for me)
Begin by slicing your bread into cubes.
Lay across a baking sheet. If you like, drizzle with olive oil. I prefer no olive oil so that it is just a little toasted, but for the sake of this recipe I used it to show you how it will look.
Set oven to broil. Keep a close eye on your bread as it can burn quickly in the broiler. Once it begins to brown, take baking sheet out and turn over then toast the other side.
For the bacon shamrocks, take a slice of bacon and place a cookie cutter on top. Keep in mind that a cheap cookie cutter can bend so careful how you hold it when pressing down. A copper one may be a bit sturdier, but it also costs more. It’s up to you.
Carefully press down the cookie cutter and wiggle it around until it cuts through the bacon. I found that if I do this on a glass cutting board it works better than a wooden one.
Use a knife to cut around edges. The knife seen here is too large. I suggest a short, pointed one. I then use the tip to cut into the corners and edges of the cutter (on the outside not the inside) back and forth until the bacon pieces come loose.
You only need a few to sprinkle on top for that “wow” effect, so although it takes a little time it is well worth it.
Seriously, shamrock bacon.
For more ideas about bacon confetti you can visit here.
Place in oven and set to 360 degrees. At about 350 degrees I keep my eye on them. They can burn quickly since they are so small. Once it reaches 360 they are probably slightly overcooked and close to burning. I remove them once the temp has reached between 350 and 360 degrees, once the bacon is cooking but just barely beginning to brown.
Now for the dip. You need a hard Irish Cider.
Cheese, garlic, butter, and flour.
I show Dublin cheese here, but I personally think it is more difficult to melt down (curdled more easily) and I used a raspberry parmesan last year that was AMAZING!
On a side note, I just moved and am no longer a using a gas stove. Electric stoves are nice to clean, but what a pain in the arse for accurate cooking! So, if you just about love cheddar or a different cheese, go ahead and try it. I’m sticking with a nice quality raspberry parmesan.
There are several techniques to shredding the cheese. I have a meat grinder attachment for my KitchenAid. I also use it to shred (or er, grind) cheese. Well, look at that.
I find it quicker than a grater and easier to clean than a food processor (most parts go into the dishwasher, and the others are small easy pieces you can wipe off in the sink very quickly). On a side (and more healthy) note, I use this as a juicer.
Once your cheese is grated melt butter with sliced cloves of garlic infusing to add flavor. Allow it to melt through on low heat.
Add your flour and whisk immediately until smooth and thick. Use slotted tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the clove pieces.
Pour in 12 ounces of your cider. Turn up the heat and stir continuously.
Once it boils for a couple of minutes, bring heat back down to low. Add 1/3 of the cheese, stirring furiously with a whisk. Continue to add little by little until it is smooth, creamy, and thick. I used about a pound of cheese, but I suggest getting more in case your want a different thickness.
BE CAREFUL ONCE YOU ADD THE CHEESE!! Dips and sauces with cheese can curdle if heated for too long. Make sure to leave heat on low, and work quickly when stirring the cheese in.
sprinkle bacon shamrocks on top.
I served this to a few friends last year. They have been asking since when I would post it. FINALLY!
See? The bacon shamrocks give it a fun touch. You can also use sliced apples, vegetables, chips, or cubed ham to dip.
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