Makes one small loaf pan or double for an 8 x 8 pan
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 small egg (if using large egg, break, whisk and use 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon mexican vanilla.
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
slightly less than 1/2 tsp salt (almost to the top of the measure, but not quite)
2-3 pieces applewood smoked bacon, cooked and chopped (reserving a few pieces for topping)
Melt butter, pour over brown sugar and stir till the sugar starts melting. Cool slightly and whisk in egg.
In small bowl, mix remaining ingredients and pour into sugar mixture, stirring until blended and no longer grainy. Place in well greased bread pan (mixturewill be thick) and bake 25-30 minutes (this one burns easy, check at 25 minutes, if edges are darkening and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean remove immediately otherwise check very minute til done). When it comes out of the oven, brush with some of the salted caramel, reserving more to serve with it when slightly cooled, topping with additional bacon, if desired.
The Salted Caramel Sauce
If the caramel sauce is intimidating, you can use about 1/4 cup of jarred caramel sauce and add the sea salt, but with practice this makes an incredibly rich buttery caramel you just can't buy. This recipe makes enough for an 8 x 8 pan plus a little bit extra to dip pretzels or apple slices.
1 cup white sugar
5 tablespoons butter cut into fairly thin slices or chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Place sugar in a quite heavy and tall saucepan set over medium-high heat (a tall cast iron pot works well). Do not use a pan a lot bigger than the burner or your sugar will cyrstalize around the edge.
Stir continuously until sugar begins to melt. Do NOT walk away from this. Continue stirring until the sugar melts completely, begins to darken and all the chunks are dissolved, about 10 minutes. Stop stirring and continue to cook until the sugar begins to smoke and turns a dark shade of amber. That can be from 3 to 7 minutes, but remove it from the heat at the VERY first wisp of smoke, don't wait for the color at that point. Remove from heat and wait 30 seconds. Yes, you might burn your first batch, but trust me, it's worth tinkering with again.
Whisk in butter until melted and combined. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cream, taking care because it can bubble over. Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanillaa nd stir to combine. Transfer sauce to a jar and cool completely before refrigerating.