Caramelized Bacon Bits from Roast Mortem Ala Cleo Coyle

This is actually a PART TWO of a post I started on my own blog.

I wrote the recipe for a wonderful Mac ‘n’ Cheese over at My year on the Grill.  Click HERE to see that post.

This is one of those posts where I really wish I could give you all one of those little sample tastes in a thimble cup you get at a grocery store.  Once you go “real” Mac ‘n’ Cheese with these candy bits, you’ll never go blue.  It is the caramelized Pig Candy bacon bits that really makes this dish stand out as the best you will ever have!

“These bits of caramelized bacon make a delicious salty sweet topping for any cheesy casserolet”.  – Cleo Coyle author and recipe genius, ROAST MORTEM.

Yes, if you’ve been paying attention, yet another of the prolific six merry murderesses of the MYSTERY LOVERS’ KITCHEN has written a new book!

At this point, you should hit the play button on the youTube clip below… I always like to have the soundtrack on in the background when I write up anything to do with the ladies of the mystery kitchen…

I have never met the ladies personally, but I envision a book tour with all 6 of them singing and dancing to the Cell Block Tango (bet it would be their most successful book signing event ever).  Like notches on my kitchenAid, this is the third book from the ladies I have read and enjoyed.  The completest in me wants to hit on (literary speaking) all 6.  Stay tuned.

As an aside, whenever I put the Cell Block tango song together with the murderesses from the MYSTERY LOVERS’ KITCHEN, I always picture Cleo in a bad cop movie with the swinging single bare light bulb above her head as she explains to the cop that “He ran into my knife 10 times”.

But I digress.

If you have never been,  the MYSTERY LOVERS’ KITCHEN is a blog with alternating cozy mystery writers (all with book series centered around different foods) post a recipe and allow us to glimpse in on the life of a writer.  A fun site, worth a look (actually 6 looks, as they alternate days, with a guest author on Sundays).

Cleo Coyle’s specialty is coffee and coffee shop type foods.  ROAST MORTEM is the 9th in her “Coffeeshop Mystery series.  While it is 9th in the series, it is very accessible for new readers.  I was able to find the first book in the series a few days ago, but have not read any of the books in between.  While there are changes in the lives of the coffee shop folks, nothing that you have to know in order to enjoy the latest book.

The series, set in a NYC Coffee House, is among the best I have ever read.  Roast Mortem is an homage to NYC Firefighters.  The book starts out with a bang when cafes around town are being torched and firemen are being killed.  Cleo walks the fine line between gruesome and disturbing; and fast paced and action packed perfectly.  While this book will be pigeon holed as a cozy, in fact, it holds it’s own as a Lawrence Block style thriller.  I totally enjoyed the book.  Lovers of New York, Coffee, cozy comfy escapist coffee shops and feisty heroines will love the series and this book in particular.

Like all of the books in the series, the recipes for the food that fits into the blot are included.  Now, I have to walk a fine line here, because I know that the other murderesses are going to be reading this, but Cleo’s recipes and instructions are hands down the best I have ever seen in a cozy (guess I stepped over that line).  Her attention to detail, as well as the little “extras”, hints that will make your efforts a success imply that she really wants to have her recipes made.

let me give you an example… In the recipe I gave for the Mac ‘n’ Cheese (Click HERE to see that post), she gives two hints that will make your cream sauce not separate, and a hint to prevent the sauce from clumping at the bottom instead of clinging to the pasta.  These hints could have been either left out, or just be included as instructions.  By drawing attention to the “hints”, she emphasizes the potential roadblocks to a success.  Without the benefit of a photo of a dish, we are dependent on the instructions.  Personally, I need and value all the hints I can get.

So, with thanks to Cleo who gave me permission to reprint her recipe, here’s what I did (and this is one of those rare times I did not change a thing)…


1 pound Bacon, cut into small bite sized pieces
1/2 cup packed Dark brown Sugar

Step 1 – Slice and Saute: On medium high heat, sauté the bacon bits in a large skillet stirring often until half cooked (still soft and flexible, with fat just begining to change color).  Drain the rendered fat from the pan.

Step 2 – Caramelize: Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the brown sugar to the pan and stir until dissolved.  Continue cooking and stirring until the bacon crisps up.  remove from heat and drain and cool in a single layer on a sheet pan or other clean dry surface (Hint: DO NOT cool on a paper towel.  the bacon gets sticky and the towel will become a permanent part of the glaze).  The longer you allow to cool, the crisper the bacon will become..

Step 3 – Assemble and Bake: After the Mac ‘n’ Cheese is done cooking, top with the pig candy and you are all set for one of the great side dishes of all time!

Oh, and not only did I make caramelized bacon, but I also wanted to see what Caramelized Pulled Pork would taste like…

Using Cleo’s directions… it is candy hog heaven!

And here’s where I do that legal thing… Cleo was nice enough to send me a FREE (yes free… bwahahahaha free I tell ya) signed copy of the book, as well as gave me permission to reprint her recipe.  No promises of a positive review were made.  I loved the book, and the recipes are wonderful!  I am happy to tell the world!

Dave here from MY YEAR ON THE GRILL. It really is just this easy!  


And so can you!

Cleo Coyle

And today’s comment winner is….LAINESHOTS. Congrats, Laineshots, your triple-entry commenting paid off for you! I will e-mail you shortly to find out your address and send off a signed copy of my new Coffeehouse Mystery ROAST MORTEM. I hope you enjoy the read – and the recipes. 🙂

Thanks to everyone for entering with a comment (whether here, or at Dave’s MY YEAR ON THE GRILL blog, or at my own post at MYSTERY LOVERS’ KITCHEN). If you did not win this time, take heart! We crime-writing cooks at MYSTERY LOVERS’ KITCHEN often hold flash giveaways and throw online parties with fun contests. Be sure to follow our blog for you next chance to win a delicious prize. Until then, enjoy our recipes and may you…

Cook and eat with joy!
~ Cleo
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen
Cleo Coyle on Twitter

Cleo Coyle

Thanks to everyone who left such wonderful comments for Dave right here, as well as his post at MY YEAR ON THE GRILL, and my own post at MYSTERY LOVERS’ KITCHEN. Now it’s time for me to randomly select a winner of my new mystery from all the comments on all three blogs. Stay tuned. I’ll post the winning name right here shortly.

~ Cleo

Martha (MM)

Oh pig candy, my favorite candy ever! I’ve done mac and cheese with bacon plenty of times but this sounds unbelievably delicious, definitely going to give it a try! Congrats on your free signed copy of the book too, I’m sure that will be treasured 🙂

~3 Sides of Crazy~

Sounds awesome. I promise to try it soon. Congrats on the signed copy of the book and loved the cell block tango clip. I usually add cider or balsamic vinegar to my brown sugar to caramelize bacon – love this though, 1 less step.