Crack Sprouts, a.k.a. the crispiest candied brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup

The crispiest roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup.
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Are you all obsessing over your holiday menus already? Because these candied brussels sprouts should be on them. 

I have made this recipe five times (FIVE TIMES) in the past few weeks, each time not getting a photo because they were gobbled up too quickly. By me. 

And also, it's not easy getting an appetizing picture of something that's charred and in that particular shade of green. But they are so good.  Like candy. 

I can't. stop. EATING. THEM. 

When I was growing up, we never had brussels sprouts except at my great aunt Lida's house. And they were everything that you'd expect in a destable vegetable - soggy, bitter, and putrid green.  I was a kid who'd eat ANYTHING, and I didn't like these. This recipe is the anthesis to those.  If you, too, grew up thinking sprouts were disgusting, please try them this way and reconsider. 

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I pulled off as many of the outer leaves as possible and roasted them alongside the little sprout hearts.  The leaves char up much crispier that way. The bacon is partially cooked before it hits the oven, where it crisps up fully with a drizzle of maple syrup to make it completely and utterly salty-sweet addictive.  

I know that two big pans in the oven on a holiday is a major ask, but it is imperative that they roast in a single layer, or they'll steam unstead of baking to crispy perfection. Twice, I made them on a single large baking sheet, and they're just not as good. Even if they obviously *fit*, you need the space between sprouts for hot air to circulate. 

(And if you're confused by the photos conflicting with my words, that's not how they were roasted - I just transferred them to a more photogenic pan. After I'd eaten half, obviously.)

But you know what I discovered?  These sprouts are excellent roasted a day in advance and just reheated in a small casserole dish the next day (if you can refrain from eating them all). Just pop them in the oven alongside whatever else you've got cooking, at whatever temperature it's cooking at (I mean, not on broil or anything), until they're heated through. Check frequently and give them a stir every now and then. 

Happy menu planning! I've got lots of Turkey dinner recipes in the archives if you need inspiration. 

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  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4-6, or 1 greedy person (LIKE ME)Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 oz thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup olive or grapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450ºF (with convection, if you've got it).  Partially cook the bacon in a frying pan or in the microwave (3-4 minutes on high covered with a paper towel) until it renders its fat but is not crisp.  

Pull off most of the outer leaves from the brussels sprouts and trim the tough stalk from the middle that remains. Toss leaves and sprouts with the oil, maple syrup, salt and bacon and arrange in a single layer on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes, give the pans a stir, remove any that are already charring to a serving platter, then bake 2-8 minutes more (really depending how large they are), until sprouts are crispy and leaves are charring (watch closely after 2 minutes, as the maple syrup burns quickly).