Brie and Candied Bacon Grilled Cheese Bites

Brie and Candied Bacon Grilled Cheese Bites
The tree was lit in Rockefeller Center last night, I just received a notification that Pandora added a “John Legend Holiday” station (don’t mind if I do), and I bought all the fabulous things for a pot of Christmas this morning. This is obviously very exciting, and I seem to be snapping out of my post-Thanksgiving blues much more quickly than anticipated. In fact, I’m rapidly approaching Buddy the Elf levels of holiday cheer. (Smiling is my favorite!)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons pecans, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 small baguette or ½ a large baguette, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • One 8-ounce wedge triple crème Brie cheese
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray a wire rack with non-stick cooking spray and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, chopped pecans, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper.
  3. Place the bacon on the prepared wire rack, making sure the slices aren’t touching. Using a small spoon, evenly spread the brown sugar mixture on top of each piece of bacon. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the topping is nicely browned. (Keep an eye on it in the last 5-10 minutes of the cooking time to make sure the bacon doesn’t burn!) Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. When cool, chop the candied bacon into very small pieces. (The bacon can also be made in advance and stored in a Ziploc at room temperature for up to 12 hours.)
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut the Président Triple Crème Brie lengthwise into ⅛-inch slices. Then cut those slices in half (or thirds, depending on the size of your baguette). Spread Président Unsalted Butter on one side of each baguette slice.
  5. To assemble each grilled cheese bite: Place 1 slice of Président Triple Crème Brie on the unbuttered side of a baguette slice. Top with a sprinkling of candied bacon and a second slice of Brie. Cover with a second buttered baguette slice.
  6. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, place the grilled cheese bites in the pan. (You will need to do this in 2-3 batches.) Cook for about 1 minute on each side, or until the sandwiches are golden brown and the cheese has melted. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.