Award-Winning* Maple Candied Bacon Cheesecake

Okay, so, by award-winning, I really only mean the IT Department Cheesecake Competition. But still good, right?

For the candied bacon:

  • 1 package of bacon (12-16 ounces, depending on how much bacon you want to include – generally more is better!)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups brown sugar

For the crust:

  • 1 or 2 slices candied bacon
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter OR use the bacon grease from the candied bacon, adding enough butter to make 1/4 cup

For the filling:

  • 2 8oz packs of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (Make sure you have more for topping)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Maple extract (optional)

To make the candied bacon:

  1. Put the brown sugar in a pan or on tinfoil
  2. Take each slice of bacon and press it into the brown sugar to coat it, on both sides
  3. Put bacon on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil
  4. Put the cookie sheet into a NON-PREHEATED oven
  5. Turn oven on to 400 degrees, and cook until just the very tips of the bacon looks burnt, so that the rest of it is crispy – about 20-23 minutes
  6. Take the sheet out of the oven, and using tongs, remove the bacon from the pan and place on a cooling rack – the bacon needs to be removed from the pan before the sugar hardens up, otherwise the tinfoil will stick to the bacon
  7. Let the bacon cool, and then cut it up into 1/4 inch pieces, discarding the burnt ends

To make the crust:

  1. Melt the butter and/or bacon grease
  2. Mix in the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar
  3. Mix in pieces of candied bacon as desired
  4. Pour the mixture into a 8″ springform pan and pack down evenly. Set aside.

To make the filling:

  1. Using a hand mixer, cream the cream cheese until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Drizzle in the maple syrup 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, blending it in completely and scraping the side of the bowl each time. This helps you avoid lumpy filling.
  3. Once the maple syrup is completely incorporated, Mix in the vanilla and maple extracts.
  4. Mix in the heavy cream.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one.
  6. Let the filling mixture sit for a couple minutes allowing bubbles to rise and settle.

To put it all together:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with a pan of water on the lower rack (cheesecake needs moisture!).
  2. Once oven is preheated, pour filling over the crust.
  3. Bake for 40-55 minutes, or until sides are raised and the center 2-3″ are still slightly jiggly.
  4. Turn oven off, but leave the cheesecake inside for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Take cheesecake out and let it cool completely.
  6. Put cheesecake in the fridge for at least 10-12 hours.
  7. The cheesecake can stay in the fridge for a few days, or freeze it to save for weeks!
  8. Before serving, sprinkle the candied bacon on top of the cheesecake, and drizzle maple syrup over it as well.

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