Makes roughly 4 Cups
4 slices bacon
1 Tbsp Maple Sugar Powder
1/2 Cup cashews
1/2 Cup pecans
1/2 Cup sesame sticks
1/4 Cup (Organic Fair Trade) Cacao Nibs
1/4 Cup almonds
1/4 Cup pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Kosher Salt (if you like to play up the sweet/savory pairing, you could sub in some Bacon Salt!)
1/2 tsp Freshly-Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Cayenne
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 C barbecue Sauce (we, of course, LOVE Russ & Frank’s BBQ Sauce)
6 dried apricots, thinly sliced
3 dried figs, thinly sliced
Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and top it with a wire rack. Lay the bacon on the wire rack so that pieces are not touching, then sprinkle the bacon slices with Maple Sugar Powder. Slowly cook the seasoned bacon in the oven until the fat has rendered onto the foil-lined baking sheet and the bacon is dry (consistency of beef jerky) about, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Remove baking sheet from oven and allow the bacon to cool. Once cooled, use a sharp chef’s knife to chop bacon into 1/2″ pieces; set aside.
While you heat oven to 300 degrees, also heat a 12″ skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add the cashews, pecans, sesame sticks, cacao nibs, almonds, and pumpkin seeds to the skillet and toast, occasionally stirring, until ingredients are fragrant and beginning to brown, 3-5 min. Add butter, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon and cumin to the skillet, stirring frequently to coat all ingredients in the melted butter and spices. When ingredients in skillet are thoroughly coated and butter is completely melted, remove skillet from heat and stir in barbecue sauce.
Transfer the skillet contents to a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, and spread mixture out in a single layer. Bake the snack mix in the oven, stirring occasionally, until mixture is dry and ingredients are becoming toasty, about 25 min. Remove baking sheet from oven and add the reserved bacon, along with the apricots, and figs; then bake for an additional 15 min.
Allow trail mix to cool completely before serving or storing. Store snack mix in an air-tight container up to 1 month.
Adapted from Saveur Magazine.