Meeting in the middle of savory and sweet, this candied bacon and pecan grilled cheese is great for lunch but makes a unique dessert too.
Today is a gooey day. Certainly meltable even if we have yet to hit the heights of summer. Ring the bells and warm up your skillets, it’s National Grilled Cheese Day!
Throughout the month of April I’m partnering with one of my favorite cheese makers, Wisconsin’s Arla Dofino, to create and share three recipes featuring three of my favorite, meltable cheeses: Dill Havarti, Creamy Havarti and Smoked Gouda.
I started off the month at a good clip, with my Spicy Smashed Avocado & Asparagus with Dill Havarti Grilled Cheese. If you haven’t yet tried Arla Dofino Dill Havarti, tick tock, this is the time.
This week I’m keeping up the pace with this savory meets sweet (sounds like me and my man, but who is which?) grilled cheese sandwich that melts somewhere in the middle of lunch and dessert.
It’s simply the best place to be.
Bacon…Wait! Did someone say bacon?
Make that candied bacon and then, yes…why yes I did.
Tempt Me. Please.
The sweet of this recipe is two fold, with one layer including a salty kick of bacon that’s been coated in honey then popped into the oven to cook and caramelize. That needs to go on my to-make list.
I use a thick-cut, more expensive cut of bacon because A) it seems to release less fat because it has more meat and B) I like a thicker bite and prefer bacon that’s not crisped beyond recognition. The sweetened glaze makes this a chewy bite instead of a crispy crunch. Totally my style.
Also, use parchment paper to lay your bacon on before baking. Your dishpan hands will thank me later.
The second layer of sweet comes from brown sugar laced pecan halves. I’ve made candied pecans before with egg whites, white sugar and the like, but they tend to come out clumpy for me, losing their pecan style. Instead, I’ve made a simple butter and brown sugar glaze that seeps into the nooks and crannies of each pecan, which are then baked. Sweet glory be. This is getting good.
Next up, the queen bee: cheese.
As I’ve said before, I’ve purchased Arla Dofino Havarti Slices at Costco for years. It’s a Wisconsin cheese and wears the badge proudly in representing quality cheese-making with natural ingredients. Arla Dofino’s cheeses have no added hormones or preservatives, and that’s key for me when this household goes through the amount of cheese that we do.
For this grilled cheese, a creamy, buttery flavor was in need, making Arla Dofino’s Havarti Slices a perfect choice. Harder cheese don’t melt as well as softer cheeses and while you think this might be common sense, it’s often overlooked.
I layered the cheese slices between the slices of cinnamon bread (another subtle layer of sweet), then placed the fillings in the middle. The cheese then acts as a glue, holding the whole thing together.
And making one incredible, edible, grilled cheese.
Brown Sugar Pecans and Sweet Bacon with Havarti Grilled Cheese
- 1 ⁄2 pounds thick-cut bacon
- 1 ⁄4 cups honey
- 4 slices cinnamon swirl bread
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 ⁄3 cups brown sugar pecans lightly chopped recipe below
- 4 slices Arla® Dofino® Creamy Havarti Chunk or 4 ounces grated
For the Pecans
- 16 ounces pecan halves
- 1 ⁄2 cups butter
- 3 ⁄4 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 ⁄4 teaspoons salt
- For the Pecans
- Arrange pecan halves in an aluminum foil lined 13x9 baking dish. Set pan aside. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and add brown sugar, vanilla, salt. Stir one minute and remove from heat. Continue stirring until brown sugar dissolves. Pour over pecans, stirring to coat. Bake at 325º for 20 to 25 minutes; stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
- For the Grilled Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Layer a baking sheet with a 1-inch lip of parchment paper. Place the strips of bacon on the parchment, and then brush the strips with the honey. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until done, depending on the thickness of the bacon. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool. Cut or break the bacon strips in half. Spread ½ tablespoon of butter on one side of each slice of the bread.
- Place one slice of the grated Arla Dofino® Creamy Havarti on the non-buttered side of bread ((or sprinkle 1 ounce of grated cheese)or. Sprinkle with some of the brown sugar pecans, then layer on the bacon and top with another slice of creamy Havarti (or sprinkle with another ounce of grated cheese). You will have leftover pecans so save for salads or to snack on.
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Place the sandwich in the pan, buttered side down, and top with the other slice of bread, buttered side facing up. Cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the bread on one side is golden. Reduce the heat to medium-low; flip the sandwich to the other side and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the bread is toasty golden and the cheese has melted. The second side will cook faster than the first, so watch it carefully.
For more #GooeyGoodness, check out Arla DoFino’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese Giveaway on their Facebook page for a chance to win a month’s worth of free cheese, an All-Clad skillet and other goodies.
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Have a great day, and make something good.
This post is part of series of partnered posts with Arla Dofino to celebrate Grilled Cheese Month. Yes! As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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