January 22, 2012

Blooming Bacon Cheddar Ranch Bread


Yesterday began with a hearty brunch of eggs, bacon, home fries and toast.  It was a cold Saturday with 4 inches of snow on the ground and I wasn't about to go anywhere.  Then something happened -- the baking bug bit.  It started with delectable red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and, after the amount of calories I consumed, it should have stopped there.  Well, there happened to be a beautiful round loaf of sourdough bread lying on the counter and I knew what had to happen.  This is what happens when we get snowed in!  You see, a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a post on Pinterest by Plain Chicken.  I tried the recipe a couple weeks ago and it was amazing but it wasn't quite what I wanted.  I tweaked a few things and all I can say is, wow!  This is absolutely sinfully delicious!  It's obviously not the healthiest of snacks, but everything in moderation.  Next time, I'm going to play with ham and cheese and possibly broccoli.  The best thing about this recipe is that it's very forgiving and you can use whatever ingredients you'd like.  Sprinkling Parmesan cheese and dusting with pepper would be a wonderful addition to this, too.  Blooming bacon cheddar ranch bread will definitely be on the menu for Super Bowl Sunday.  As for now, I'm off to do a few extra crunches to make up for my bad behavior this weekend!


Ingredients:
  • 1 firm round loaf of bread such as sourdough
  • 5 strips bacon, cooked and diced 
  • 1/2 c to 1 c (live a little!) shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted 
  • 4 tsp ranch seasoning mix 
  • Marinara sauce
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the bread lengthwise in rows about 1 inch apart. Turn the bread 90 degrees and repeat to create cubes, holding the bread down with your other hand as you cut.  Make the cuts as deep as you can but don't cut all the way through the bottom.



In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and ranch seasoning mix.  

Carefully insert the cooked bacon and cheese between each bread cube.  Drizzle the seasoned butter in between the crevices and all over the loaf.  

Wrap the loaf with tin foil and bake on a baking sheet for 10 minutes.  Carefully unwrap the foil and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.  

Allow to cool slightly before serving.  Serve with marinara sauce, if desired.



Enjoy!



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