Make the bacon: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners. Put the bacon pieces in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost completely browned, about 4 minutes. Pour off the drippings and reserve. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over the bacon and cook, stirring, until the bacon is crisp and glazed, about 3 more minutes. Transfer the candied bacon to a plate; set aside until ready to use.
Make the crust: Pulse the cookies, butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon bacon drippings, and the salt in a food processor until finely ground. Firmly press 1 heaping teaspoon of the crumb mixture into each mini muffin liner. Bake until the crust is set, about 12 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack.
Make the cheesecakes: Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-high speed until light and smooth, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and egg and mix until just incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Fill each mini muffin cup with about 2 teaspoons batter and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack, then transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours. Top each cheesecake with a piece of candied bacon.
Photograph by Con Poulos
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine