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Ina Garten’s 1-Ingredient Upgrade for Better Bacon

This pantry staple turns plain old bacon into "fancy bacon."

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images

Sunday morning bacon was a huge part of my childhood. My mom would lug out her ancient griddle and make the whole family crisp bacon and her famous egg sandwiches. It was a special way to spend weekends together. To this day, when I smell bacon cooking, I get a pang of nostalgia for those lazy Sunday mornings I got to experience as a kid.

Now that I’m a mom of three, I try to keep the Sunday morning brunch tradition alive, but with my spin on it. Often, we are too busy on the weekends to pull out all the stops, but every so often we have breakfast for dinner. This is where my kids first tasted what they now refer to as “fancy bacon.”

If you thought there was no way to improve bacon, let me introduce you to this smoky treat’s BFF: brown sugar. A few months ago during one of our breakfast-for-dinner nights, I decided to sprinkle a little brown sugar on my thick-cut bacon while it roasted in the oven, and the rest is history.

Ina Garten’s Easy Bacon Upgrade

I originally got this idea from Ina Garten. You see, over the past holiday season, we welcomed a newborn into our family. For all three of my children, my go-to programming for nighttime feedings has been old episodes of “The Barefoot Contessa.” It’s the cooking show equivalent of a plush weighted blanket.

During one episode I watched Ina make candied bacon for a fabulous cocktail party she was throwing. Luckily, even in my half-asleep state, this instant bacon upgrade stuck with me and has now become a family favorite.

Flavor magic happens when molasses-scented brown sugar meets smoky, salty bacon in the heat of the oven. The brown sugar seems to highlight all the best parts of the bacon: The caramelization from the sugar makes it even more crisp, and the sugar balances out the saltiness.

<p>Simply Recipes / Adobe Stock</p>

Simply Recipes / Adobe Stock

How I Make Ina Garten's “Fancy Bacon”

A little brown sugar goes a long way here—all you need is just a sprinkle. To ensure easy cleanup, I bake the brown sugar-topped bacon on a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper at 400˚F until it’s crisp and caramelized. The exact timing depends on the thickness and fat content of the bacon, but I start checking after 10 minutes in the oven and keep a very close eye on it after that.

Unlike bacon cooked on the stovetop, avoid draining this semi-candied bacon on paper towels. When the bacon comes out of the oven the sugar will be molten and quite sticky, so it’s best to let it set on a cooling rack. It will crisp up even more as it cools.

For all my fellow parents out there, once you learn the trick of breakfast for dinner, the second half of your life begins. The kids love it, it's easy to throw together, and you get to eat pancakes and “fancy bacon” for dinner. There's nothing better than that.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.