Pig Candy

Appetizers, Snacks

Pig Candy // www.acozykitchen.com

Two years ago today I went on my first date with my now boyfriend, Joshua. Up until that point I had dated all the wrong people; most of them were nice and fine but all were wrong for me. I arrived at the restaurant early and he arrived 15 minutes late, which makes me laugh when I think about it because it’s very telling of who we are.

He picked a (now closed but his amazing wine store lives on!) wine bar called Lou’s. It was a pretty ideal first date spot; it was dimly lit and quiet, but full of people, especially for a Monday night, and they served interesting, hard-to-find-wines with really good snacks. We ordered our respective wines – him a barnyard-y Gamay and I ordered a Malbec. There was a charcuterie plate, a burrata salad with roasted grapes and an order of pig candy.

Pig Candy // www.acozykitchen.com

As we ate, we talked about all sorts of things; happy things, funny things, random things and sad things, too. Josh asked me what my hardest challenge in life was thus far. I answered, and then he answered; and then I remember us just staring at each other, absorbing the other’s answer.

Some would say sad stuff is a terrible thing to talk about on a first date, but that’s where we were in our lives. Josh had just experienced the loss of his mom and I think when you’re really sad it’s hard not to mention it. I’m glad we talked about such things. And plus, I’ve never been good at adhering to dating do’s and don’t’s.

Pig Candy // www.acozykitchen.com

The next day I flew to my parent’s house to work on my book and I remember wondering what would happen. I was, for the first time in a long time, excited about getting to know someone, to dive deeper into their life and perspective on the everyday.

We went on a few more dates but a relationship wasn’t something Josh could take on at the time. I was pretty heartbroken and I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t even know him that well! But something just clicked; something with him just felt right. So, I left him alone, but couldn’t forget about him. We ended up running into each other almost eight months later; he was in a better place and so was I. And we’ve been pretty inseparable ever since.

We haven’t been together for a full two years, but the day we sat down for the first time and talked for five hours is a day I love to remember. So, of course, since I’m a romantic, I’m celebrating with Pig Candy.

Pig Candy // www.acozykitchen.com

*I tweaked this recipe I made two years ago because I can never follow a recipe completely, not even my own recipe. It’s a recipe revisited. I like this version better, honestly, it’s a bit more streamlined and I love the addition of Ancho chile powder, but the other one works splendidly. I’m just a brat. Even with myself.

Pig Candy

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  • 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
  • 10 slices of bacon, about 1 1/4 pound of thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup pure Grade A maple syrup


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, ground cayenne and Ancho chile powder.
  • Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment. Place a baking or cooling rack atop the lined baking sheet and lay the bacon side-by-side.
  • Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture onto the bacon, pressing it into the bacon to be sure it adheres.
  • Bake for 8 minutes, or until very lightly brown. Take the bacon out of the oven and brush the top side of the bacon with maple syrup. Return to the oven to bake for an additional 2-3 minutes. After the 3 minute mark, flip the bacon over, and sprinkle the bacon with the remaining brown sugar mixture. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Brush the top side with maple syrup and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow the bacon to reach room temperature, until it's cool enough to handle and then transfer the bacon to a sheet of parchment or a plate. Place the bacon in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
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  • Reply Shannon July 20, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    How long does the candy keep for?

    Wondering if this could make a cute gift if packaged in a cute way, it looks so good!! Ideas

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  • Reply Emily @ Life on Food January 19, 2014 at 3:49 am

    I love stories like this!! And this bacon, sign me right up!! I am getting a kick out of the pig candy title too.

  • Reply Iris R. January 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Yesterday was the anniversary of my first date with my boyfriend too! Funny coincidence. Maybe I should make him a late anniversary gift of pig candy. He’d like that. Happy for you and your bf.

  • Reply michelle January 18, 2014 at 6:19 am

    There is nothing I dont love about bacon and this just brings it to a whole new level! thank you, shall try this soon!!

    i loved the story by the way. Happy days!

  • Reply Rachel January 17, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I loved your story! So sweet!

  • Reply Hilary January 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    What a beautiful post! As much as I love food, cooking, preparing, tasting etc. the way you share your life through a recipe is so vibrant, I read the posts here regularly probably more for the story you draw than for the actual recipe. I agree with the above, my heart is smiling(: + <3
    I feel like I just had Valentine's!
    *le sigh*

  • Reply Rachel January 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I have seen a number of recipes recently for this sweet bacon idea but I must say this sounds the most delicious and has inspired me to try it – love the idea of using ancho chilli powder. I just love the name Pig Candy – will get some of our great local bacon tomorrow at the Farmers’ Market and try this soon.

  • Reply Taylor @ greens & chocolate January 17, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I absolutely love this post – we all have our love stories and I’m so glad you shared yours πŸ™‚ Also I’m thankful that you shared this recipe for Pig Candy. So making it for my bacon loving husband.

  • Reply Lauren January 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I loved your story, it’s (very) relatable and heartfelt. Enjoy the pig candy and your two year!

  • Reply Stacey January 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Beautiful post. He seems like he makes you super happy! I’m internet-stranger happy for you πŸ™‚

  • Reply Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe January 17, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I love hearing stories like this. Chemistry is so important, but so is timing. I’m glad the timing worked out for you two!

  • Reply Emily@ TotesDelishy January 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I love this, I love your honesty and I know I will love pig candy!

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