Crispy Fireworks Maple & Brown Sugar Butter & Bacon Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is near and dear to my heart...I came of age as a home chef with like minded girlfriends. Back in 2012, I had the fortune of attending what could have been my last girls night dinner in. Since then, weddings, babies and careers have taken precedence. It was that night with my visiting high school bestie and her friend from NYC that I learned this recipe. From what I can remember, we all worked on the Brussels for that meal. We collaborated on adding a little of this, a little of that...Since then, I have used this recipe for many family dinners and entertaining dinners because it has staying power. So much so, I don't remember anything else we ate that night back in 2012. It was all about this dish!
What gives this recipe fireworks is that it's so easy and anything goes. Whatever you like and have on hand is fair game. The three constants are 1. Brussels Sprouts 2. Bacon. 3. Maple syrup or brown sugar (or both). Everything else is just pixie dust thrown in for good measure. When we launched the Fireworks Maple & Brown Sugar Butter recipe back in October 2021, I knew this was going to be a cornerstone recipe for that baby!

Crispy Fireworks Maple & Brown Sugar Butter Brussels Sprouts-serves 4 as side
1 bag Brussels (1lb)
4 strips bacon
1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts
1/4 cup dried cherries, dried cranberries, currents or fresh pomegranate seeds
1/2 fireworks butter burst maple & brown sugar, melted
1-2 Tbs balsamic vinegar (depending how much you like--feel free to add more if you like extra acidity)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1. Pre heat oven to 425. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper overlay.
Rinse and trim the sprouts, cut in half, in half again if they’re large ones. Add them to a medium mixing bowl. Cut the bacon into matchsticks and add to the bowl. Also add the dried fruit if you're using. Set aside.

If using fresh pomegranate, pine nuts or blue cheese, leave out until step 3. 

2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter, vinegar, salt and pepper. With a wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix well until coated. Put on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or so stirring well at 10 minutes. The edges of the Brussels should start to get crispy, if they're not yet, put them back in at 3 minute increments. You are aiming for 20-30% blackened crispiness. When you have achieved this, take them out and place in a serving dish. The photo here is about halfway there.

3. Stir in the blue cheese crumbles, pine nuts and/or pomegranate if you are using. Serve warm.

4. Respond in the comments on how you liked it. I can't wait to hear how you added your own style!

Sizzle. Spread. Boom.