Several weeks ago, after recovering from one of my last long runs, the fella came home from the bagel shop with a small container of mystery cream cheese, spooned some out, and asked me what I tasted. I couldn’t put my finger on it — I was craving my salty everything bagel, and this was sweet and smoky, and not at all what I wanted. I asked him to just tell me what it was. After some more pleading, because I wouldn’t play the game, he told me: maple bacon. “OH!” My eyes widened, my palm went to my forehead, and once I knew, I immediately wanted more.
We schmeared it on freshly baked and toasted peasant bread later that afternoon and lamented its quick disappearance. We returned for more, but it was for naught. Everyone wanted the maple bacon cream cheese. It was gone.
Fear not, dear friends of the Internet, for I have come to save you with this amazing recipe, so you, too, can schmear it on your breads and your bagels to your heart’s content. ‘Tis the season for candied bacon and all things maple to fill your bellies and warm your hearts. ‘Tis the season for maple bacon cream cheese.
Maple Bacon Cream Cheese
8 ounces good quality bacon
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
16 ounces plain cream cheese, slightly softened
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Adjust an oven rack to the upper third and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay your bacon out in a single layer, taking care not to overlap. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bacon. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp to your liking. Remove to a cutting board to cool.
In a large bowl, mix your softened cream cheese and maple syrup with a hand-mixer until combined.
Chop up your bacon into small bits, and add them to the cream cheese, stirring with a spoon to incorporate.
Best enjoyed as a hearty schmear on your favorite bagel or crusty bread.