Mini Grilled Cheese with Candied Bacon
July 3, 2020 by Nicole Collins
Oops, I did it again!
I shrunk more food down to mini size, and I can’t even stand how cute they turned out.
I’ve told you before, but I’m part of this online supper club. Since we’ve been doing everything from the comfort of our homes, we’ve been having virtual dinner parties and all kinds of foodie challenges. It’s actually been pretty fun and inspiring!
So, one of the recent challenges was “music you cook to”. So basically, what music inspires you while you’re in the kitchen or what song has led to the creation of a particular dish.
Any guesses on what I listen to while I’m in the kitchen?
Honestly, oftentimes the answer is nothing. I’m not one of those people that is afraid of silence. And, I’m usually so in the zone while I’m cooking, I can become oblivious to anything happening around me. I LOVE having music on in the background the majority of the time, but it's not always necessary for me.
So, why waste the electricity?
Then, there are times where I’m totally jazzed up and I need some of my favorite tunes to pump me up even further. That’s usually when either 80’s on 8, 90’s on 9, or my boy band play list comes on. Those are the songs that I can belt at the top of my lungs without having to think to hard.
I'm sure my neighbors especially enjoy it on those gorgeous days when I have all of the windows open in the house.
Anyways, before I start singing you my entire playlist of songs, let's talk about today's super cute, super yummy, super amazing recipe.
Today, we're making Mini Grilled Cheese with Candied Bacon!
Insert WOW emoji here...
Ok, here's the deal. A grilled cheese is a grilled cheese, right? Wrong. The theory is the same. The method is the same. But, the outcome is a gazillion times better with today's recipe.
Let's talk about the candied bacon, also known as pig candy. We're going to rub some brown sugar on some raw bacon, give it a little sprinkle of black pepper, then bake it in the oven on a baking rack over a cookie sheet until it's perfectly caramelized and crisp. A few things to note...this bacon can go from flimsy to burnt to a crisp FAST. And, no two cuts of bacon are alike, so the cooking times are going to vary for all of us. This is one of those things that you have to babysit once you reach a certain time on the clock. But, it's totally worth it for the salty sweet treat we get as a result.
To make our grilled cheeses mini sized, we're going to use baguette slices as our bread. Is that the best idea ever, or what? Once we have our baguette sliced, we can pile them up with two kinds of cheeses, add the bacon, butter them up, and get them toasting in the pan.
As far as our cheese choices, you absolutely cannot have a grilled cheese without American cheese. So, of course, we're using that. Then, for a little creamy contrast, we're also going to use Muenster cheese. Muenster was the cheese used on all of my childhood grilled cheeses at my godmom's house, so there's lots of nostalgia here in this little sammie. It's important to note that we need to tear the cheeses down to fit the baguette slices. We don't want much overhang, because the cheese will just ooze over and burn in the pan. Our sammies are so tiny, they don't have the extra space for burnt cheese!
Once these babies have done their time in the skillet, the result is pure heaven. The bread is buttery and perfectly crisp. The cheeses are perfectly ooey and gooey. The sweet and salty bacon is an unexpected surprise adding a burst of texture and flavor. And, these are so small that you're guaranteed to get all of the goodness in every single bite.
“Baby, you're all that I want..I'm finding it hard to believe, we're in heaven.”
Bonus points if you can name that song (which I want to be my future wedding song!)
For now, all I have to say is “BYE BYE BYE”.
Mini Grilled Cheese with Candied Bacon
Serves: 12 mini sandwiches Print
For the Candied Bacon:
8 slices bacon
2 heaping tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp pepper
For the Mini Grilled Cheese:
1 baguette (sliced just less than ½ inch thick slices to 24 slices)
4 slices American cheese, cut into thirds and trimmed to fit the baguette slice
4 slices Muenster cheese, cut into thirds and trimmed to fit the baguette slice
about 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened or mayonnaise
Make the Candied Bacon: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, and top with a wire baking rack that's been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Arrange bacon in a single layer on the baking rack. Top each slice with brown sugar by gently patting it down and spreading it with your fingers over the bacon. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 18-25 minutes until the bacon is mostly crispy and the sugar has caramelized. Carefully remove bacon to a parchment lined plate. When cool to the touch, break the bacon in half. Set aside.
Arrange half of the baguette slices on a clean work surface. Schmear a thin layer of butter, crust to crust, over one side of the baguette. Flip the slices over. Top with 1 third of American cheese, 1 half piece of bacon, 1 third of Muenster cheese, and another slice of baguette (in that order). Schmear butter, crust to crust, over the top side of the sandwiches.
Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Place mini sandwiches in the pan, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. Carefully flip the sandwiches, loosely cover the pan, and cook an additional 2-3 mins until both cheeses are melted and the bottoms are golden brown. Repeat as necessary with remaining sandwiches. Serve!
*Our bread is so thick and sturdy that we need to give the cheese a little help in melting so we don't burn our sandwiches. During the last flip when we cover the pan, we don't want to full on cover with a lid, because we don't want to risk steaming the sandwiches. I just laid the baking tray that I used for the bacon right on top of the skillet, leaving a little air hole, to help trap some of the heat to make our cheese nice and melty.
*If you've done the math, you'll have two slices of bacon leftover. Those are for snacking!
*Your cheese slices will most likely be a little longer than the baguette slices. We want to trim those down so that the cheese doesn't hang over the bread. These sammies are so tiny, any rogue melted cheese has a higher risk of burning. Save the scraps to make another sammie in case you get a couple of extra slices out of your baguette.