Puff pastry, covered in cheese and your choice of toppings, wrapped in bacon twists, baked until crispy and amazing.
This recipe all started with a bacon calendar.
If you just re-read those words, you are correct. I just said bacon calendar. It was a gift from my mom – hi mom! – and I don’t remember where she got it, but it showed up at my house in the mail one day. She knows me very well.
This bacon calendar features, obviously, pictures of bacon BUT also bacon trivia and bacon recipes! I realize this is sounding more and more absurd. What can I say, Americans are obsessed with bacon. We want to stare at it on a monthly – nay – daily basis. This bacon calendar is basically a bacon-eating-reminder. Not that I need one.
I’m starting to feel like Jim Gaffigan.
Anyhoo, one of these recipes was for “bacon twists,” which involved seasoning strips of bacon, twisting them, and baking them until crispy. On a relatively lazy day, this sounded like the perfect recipe to tackle. Plus, it’s socially acceptable to eat bacon as a snack when it’s seasoned and twisted, right? It’s the seasoning and twisting that’s key, right?
However, I wondered to myself how this recipe would actually turn out. Would the bacon stay twisted? Would it cook through? I turned to the internet to see
if anyone who had done this before. The answer, if you’re curious, is lots of people. BUT what’s most important is that I also stumbled across this recipe for cheesy bacon-wrapped puff pastry twists from Half Baked Harvest
I mean. Yes. Why stop at bacon when you can add cheese and carbs?
Now in a flurry of ambition, inspired and motivated by the aforementioned bacon-cheese-carb combination, I made not one, but TWO kinds of cheesy bacon twists with puff pastry. The first, my creation: apricot preserves, rosemary, and parmesan, rolled in brown sugar. And the second, Ross’s brainchild: cheddar, jalapeno, and scallion. The process to make both, or really any flavor combination, is basically the same, so the recipe that follows is wide-open for your own dreams and wishes.
Weirdly enough, we both ended up liking each other’s version slightly better than our own. (I married Ross for his Rocky Mountain chocolate chip cookies, but this cheddar-jalapeno-scallion delight is a good reason to keep him around.) I guess that’s to say both versions turned out really really well. Yep, cheese, bacon, and carbs is exactly as delicious as you expect. If not better. To be honest, I was snacking and snitching these for hours. I don’t know why I left them out on the table, but I did, and I couldn’t walk past without just one more bite. Okay one more.
Okay for real this time.
I’m going to go ahead and say it was research. Hey folks, these are good at room temperature! Perfect for parties!
I always forget how magical puff pastry is until I’m actively eating it. Nothing easier than buying some frozen dough then letting it work its magic in the oven to become tender, slightly crispy, and yes, puffy.
Here’s a quick run down on the steps to make these ridiculous twist o’ heaven, with visual aids! I don’t normally take photos while I cook because, cooking. But this time it seemed like some pictures may help.
First, defrost your puff pastry sheet ahead of time. I forgot this step the first time I went to make them. Undaunted, I defrosted the puff pastry with the glare from my eyeballs (read: put it in the fridge and waited an hour).
Puff pastry is easier to work with when it’s cold, so I recommend refrigerating it on a small sheet pan, then working with the dough in that same pan. If it starts to warm up, just pop it back in the fridge.
Then, you’re going to cut the puff pastry into about 12 strips, along the longer side of the dough, so you end up with 12 long, thin pieces (not 12 short fat ones). Spread your strips with jam, if you so desire, or dab with egg whites. You just need something a little sticky to hold the cheese to the twists when you, well, twist them. Honey would work beautifully as well! Mmm, now I want honey and blue cheese twists…(makes mental note). Anyway, here’s a photo to help you figure out the right way to cut your pastry:
That’s apricot jam on the left, TBC (To Be Cheesed), and egg whites with cheddar on the right.
Sprinkle your sticky substance with cheese. While normally I would try to use as much as possible (obviously) the fact is, if you pile it on too high it will end up falling out of the twists. A little moderation is acceptable here. Top with any other flavorings you desire, again, chopping small and using a fairly light hand. Rosemary, basil, thyme, green onion, MORE BACON…. I also added a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.
Now you’re going to take each strip and fold it in half over the cheesy toppings. Press the ends together to seal, then gently twist. Set aside each twist until you’re ready to cover them with bacon.
Got your bacon? Thank goodness! Gently wrap one slice of bacon around each pastry twist. The bacon should just about cover the twist. Here’s another picture to help.
From left to right: (1) bacon wrapped and rolled in brown sugar; (2) puff pastry twist; (3) swaddling like a baby. As mentioned, if you’re sweetening your twists, you can dip the bacon-wrapped package in a bowl of brown sugar. (MOAR CARBS!) When your twists are good and baconified, place them all on a wire rack sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Stack that wire rack inside a rimmed sheet pan, lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Do not use a cookie sheet, unless you like liquid fat on the bottom of your oven. Also, I feel bad saying this, but these do tend to smoke, and it’s somewhat unavoidable – soooo turn on a fan, and maybe (don’t quote me on this) disconnect your smoke alarm? (CONNECT IT AGAIN RIGHT AFTER!) Bake ’em, cool ’em, and eat ’em. (Longer instructions below, but you get the idea.)
Seriously. So easy. So good. These will definitely be making an appearance at future parties. Hello, brunch buffet. Hello, football snack. Hello…Friday home alone.
So successful, I feel like this day should be marked on my bacon calendar.
- One sheet of puff pastry dough, defrosted
- Three tablespoons any flavor jam or preserves, or one beaten egg white
- ½ cup finely grated cheese of your choice
- Toppings of your choice, such as: 1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs, like rosemary, basil, thyme, or sage....1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno...2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion...2 tablespoons minced garlic...freshly ground pepper...anything else you like!
- 12 slices of bacon
- ½ cup brown sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cut puff pastry into 12 long strips.
- Brush strips with jam or egg. Sprinkle with cheese and other toppings.
- Gently press the cheese and toppings into the dough. You can use a rolling pin or your hands.
- Fold each strip in half over the cheese and pinch ends together. Twist gently and set aside.
- Wrap bacon around each pastry twist.
- Optional step: Place the brown sugar in a small bowl. Dip the bacon-wrapped pastry in the sugar and roll back and forth to coat.
- Place bacon-wrapped twists on a wire rack. Place the rack inside a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Liquid will collect in the bottom of the baking sheet, so DO NOT substitute a cookie sheet for this step! Also, turn your fan on. These tend to smoke.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking often. They are done when the bacon is cooked through. Let cool briefly then enjoy.
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest.
Need more cheese?? (Always!) How about some queso flameado next?