It's Bacon Pocky Time!
They said it couldn't be made. They were wrong. They said it shouldn't be made. They were right, but I did it anyway.
I live under a rock and know not what pocky is.
I'm not exactly sure how people can manage to get on the Internet and not have already discovered pocky, but the ignorance of people doesn't suprise me anymore. As with anything online you should try going to Wikipedia for a whole wack of marginally useful information about a subject. In short pocky is a stick shaped cracker that is coated in something, usually sweet, like chocolate.
Pocky is well known to anime fans and can act as a powerful aphrodisiac if used properly. It's a true fact that an effeminate boy waving a pocky stick in front of a fan girl is more effective than roofies. The effects of bacon pocky are unknown at this point, but early observations indicate similar effects.
So... Why would you want to make bacon pocky?
For the same reason you put bacon on a salad or a cheese burger or on pretty much anything, because bacon makes it better. The long answer is because it represented a challenge. From what I could tell no one has done it yet. If you're going to do something first, you might as well do it with bacon. Some people said that bacon pocky couldn't be made. There were rumors of bacon pocky ninja assassians and should you ever attempt to make it they would kill you in your sleep to prevent the secret from being reveled. Well, I like a challenge and I fear not ninja assassins.
Is this something I should attempt at home?
Of course you should. You're not afraid of the ninja assassians are you? Bacon pocky is fairly easy to make, but is a bit time consuming. A moderate understanding of homemade candy and baking is quite helpful to make your pocky a success.
Cook up the bacon
First things first. You need to cook some bacon. Usually 2 - 3 pounds is good. It's possible to get away with less, but more makes it easier to coat the pocky sticks, also you can make a tasty treat with the left overs. You'll want to cook the bacon until it's crisp. Limp bacon doesn't crumble very well and burnt bacon will make your pocky taste burnt. So, cook up the bacon to a medium crisp stage, draining with paper towels etc... then place it in a bag or some other container and put it in the fridge to chill.
Make some pocky sticks
Yes, we're really going to make our own pocky sticks. My recipe below is based off the recipe listed here. This recipe uses metric measurements which required conversion to standard US measurements. Since conversions aren't always straight forward there was some slight tweakage to the ammounts used too. The recipe isn't perfect and does require some baking experience to get a feel for how the dough should be. Be prepared to tweak the water/flour depending on humidity levels until it feels correct.
- 1 cup bakers flour
- 3/4 cup all pourpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp powered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast (active dry)
- 1/4 whole milk (luke warm)
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 3 1/2 tsp honey
- 1 3/4 tbsp butter soft
- 1/4 orange zest
- 1/4 cup water
- In a bowl stir the yeast in to the lukewarm milk. Stir the honey in to the milk/yeast mixture, and then stir in the tahini. Set aside.
- In a new bowl sift together the dry ingredients.
- Using a mixer with a dough hook or mixing by hand add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients. As you mix it should begin to form in to a crumbly dough.
- Add the zest of orange. Then the butter. Slowly add the water until the dough stops being crumbly and becomes firm and elastic. You may have to add slightly more water, or not all of it. If the dough is too wet you can add a little more flour to get the right consistancy. The dough will feel dry, but it shouldn't crumble apart. If it feels/looks wet then it's too wet and you'll need more flour.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Divide the dough in half, knead slightly. At this point the dough should be properly hydrated. It should no longer feel dry, but not be sticky wet either.
- Roll out the dough in to the best rectangle shape you can make about 1/4 inch thick. Slice in to 1/4 inch strips. A pizza cutter and a steady hand works wonders here, or you could use any straightedge and a sharp knife. Give them a slight roll to take off their square edges and carefully place on a non-stick cookie sheet. Don't pack too many on one sheet.
- Bake for 10-15 mins. Time will vary depending on the size/thickness of your sticks. They should be golden brown. Depending on your oven you may need to roll the sticks about halfway through the baking process to ensure the brown evenly.
- Take out and let cool.
Pocky Stick Notes
Bakers flour is a high gluten flour that will help give these sticks the right texture. If you don't have or don't want to get high gluten flour then you can substitue all pourpose flour. The texture won't be ideal but it doesn't effect the flavor of the stick. These pocky sticks have no preservitives in them and thus will get stale quickly. You should use/eat them as soon as possible. If you can't use them as soon as they cool down store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Attaching the BaconThe magic of attaching the bacon to the pocky sticks involves using sugar heated to the hard crack stage. The process and recpie for this is very similar to peanut brittle. Get a good candy thermometer, you'll need it.
- 2 cup sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp maple flavoring (optional)
- In a heavy sauce pan combine everything except the maple flavoring and heat under medium high heat until it reaches 210F continualing stiring.
- Lower the heat to medium and continue to heat mixture to 295F while stiring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to heat too quickly. It should take around 30-40 minutes for the temprature to rise from 210F - 295F.
- While your mixture is heating take out your cooked & chilled bacon. Crumble it up in to bacon bits and make a nice heaping pile you'll be able to easily place a stick on.
- Once the temprature reaches 295F add the maple flavoring if desired and turn the heat low, but not so low the temprature drops. Your goal is to have the temprature remain steady or rise as slowly as possible. It is important to not let the temprature drop.
- Quick take a pocky stick dip & coat 2/3 of it in the sugar mixture. Set it in the mound of bacon bits so it's covered by bacon. Leave it for about 5 seconds then shake off the excess bacon and set it aside to cool. Repeat this step for all pocky sticks as fast as possible until all sticks are used or the temp reaches 310F.
The left over Sugar GoopOnce your sugar goop gets too hot it becomes ineffective for making bacon pocky, but that's ok because there's something nearly as tasty you can do with it. Turn that goop to bacon brittle!
- At once add the bacon bits, any nuts or other things you like in your brittle. I like peanuts.
- Stir quickly to make sure the stuff you added is mixed in. Dump out on to a non-stick or lightly greased cookie sheet. Smooth out if needed.
- Let it harden and then break in to chunks.