Friday, September 27, 2013

Kevin Bacon Squared (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting)

I came across an awesome video today with get this...Kevin Bacon making a Bacon Sandwich for an Mobile UK Commercial.  In all it's Bacon Epicness, this commercial does not fail to entertain.  (I've been under-utilizing the chainsaw in my Bacon Kitchen Endeavors.  I must try to correct that in the future.)
In other Bacon News, a piglet falls off the slaughterhouse truck, subsequently saving his own bacon.  Don't believe me?  They named the pig Yoda. 

This week's recipe is brought to you by the magic of pumpkins.  My friend Jon is a huge pumpkin fiend and covents pumpkin-flavored delicacies like Gollum does Precious.  So I thought I would trick out one of my favorite fall recipes, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, in celebration of his birthday.  These were incredible, I'm not gonna lie.  Using a smoky, Maple Bacon was the key to it's success.  They were sweet, salty, smoky and a little cinnamony.  They hit all the corners of your taste buds, leaving you asking for seconds.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting
    1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/3 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup chocolate chips
    6-8 slices of your favorite bacon (I used Smoked Maple Bacon)
Maple Frosting
    1 can whipped cream cheese frosting
    1 ½ teaspoons of maple extract

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

On a cooling rack placed on top of a cookie sheet, lay out bacon.  Cook bacon for 20-25 minutes or until desired crispiness.  Once cooled, drain bacon on a paper towel.  Chop bacon into small pieces.  Set aside.

Spray two 12-count muffin pans with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Make the cupcakes: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice together until combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Add the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do NOT over-mix the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter evenly into 14 cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:  In a bowl, whisk the whipped cream cheese frosting with the maple extract.  Place frosting in a large Ziploc/freezer bag.  Work frosting into one tip of the bag, snip off the tip of the bag and frost cooled cupcakes.

Top with bacon pieces.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bacon Crazed (Bacon Mac & Cheese Hot Dogs)

So it's not that I haven't been cooking with Bacon on this last hiatus, it's that I've been repeating bacon recipes.  It's that time of year...leaves are changing, weather is cooling down.  It was time to make Beef and Bacon Pies again. (Did you miss that recipe?  Check it out here.)  I always make too many pies, and end up having to give the extra pies to friends...who just seem devastated when the pies are gone.  If I ever get up enough money to start a Bacon Cafe, the pies will be the star of the show. can dream.

Speaking of dreaming...why not advertise your love of the sweet meat treat....on an Epic level?

Bacon gets a bad reputation for it's unhealthy qualities, however, it's not as bad as say Peanut Butter.....Shocked are you?  Check out this latest study...4 Foods that are worse for you than Bacon.

Comfort foods....we love them, they might not be healthy per se, but they do something for our souls.  With the last touches of the summer sun in the sky, don't retire the grill just yet.  Grill up some of your favorite hot dogs, and top them with crunchy, cheesy bacony Mac & Cheese.  Watch your soul smile.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Hot Dogs
Hot Dogs
Hot Dog Buns
6 slices of cooked bacon
8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Cook bacon.  (Isn't that the beginning of all my recipes?) In a Pan on a stove, on a plate in the Microwave, in the oven on a cookie sheet (350 for 20-25 minutes), just get it crispy.  Break up into small pieces, set aside.
Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.
In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.
Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover.   Tops with Bacon pieces.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
Cook Hot Dogs.  Once Macaroni and Cheese has cooked and cooled for 5 minutes, then top your hot dog with Mac & Cheese and Bacon.  Devour.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fall and Football (Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls & Bacon Caramel Apple Hand Pies)

It's that time of the year again.  School has started and the fall smell is back in the air.  It's my favorite time of year.  It's also Ray's favorite time of the year, as Football is back on.

In celebration of football I put these two recipes together to take with us for the annual opening Sunday football games, at our friend's house.  How could you go wrong with Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls and Bacon Caramel Apple Hand Pies?  You can't.  You can't ever go wrong with Bacon!

Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls
1 lb lean ground beef
8 -10 slices bacon

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 & 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (12 ounce) package of won ton wrappers (thawed)
1 egg

Cook Bacon on a broiling pan in the oven, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached.  Drain bacon on a paper towel.  Once drained, chop bacon fine and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook ground beef in a frying pan until browned, drain grease.  Add Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning.  Add bacon bits to ground beef and mix well.

Beat egg in bowl. add 2 tablespoons of water.  Mix well. (Egg is used to seal edges of won ton wrappers; water works too).

Take won ton wrapper  and put large spoonful of hamburger and bacon on one corner of wrapper. Add pinch of cheddar cheese on top of meat mixture.  Take the wrapper and place it in front of you so it looks like a diamond rather than a square. You want the filling to go straight from corner to corner. Roll by taking the bottom corner and tucking it up and under the filling. Then bring in both sides and continue to roll up, until it looks like a little envelope.  Taking the egg wash, run it down the top of the free sides of the wrapper, the point, then roll the egg roll to the top to seal.

Repeat until you have used all the meat or all the wrappers, whichever happens first.

Place Egg Rolls on a cookie sheet and using the remaining egg wash, brush over the top of each roll.  Cook egg rolls for 25-30 minutes until a nice golden brown color.

Serve Egg Rolls alone, or with your favorite condiments, ie) ketchup, mustard or BBQ Sauce.

Bacon Caramel Apple Hand Pies
1 can of Apple Pie Filling
1 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon
1 package of refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
1/2 cup of flour
6-8 pieces of bacon 
12 Soft Caramel candies, removed from wrappers and chopped into smaller pieces
1 egg + 1 tbsp of water whisked together for an egg wash

Cook Bacon on a broiling pan in the oven, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached.  Drain bacon on a paper towel.  Once drained, chop bacon fine and set aside.

Leave oven temp at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a bowl, mix apple pie filling (you might want to chop this down into smaller pieces, if the pie filling has larger chunks of apple in it.)  Mix cinnamon into apples.  Add Bacon, and caramels. 

Roll our pie crusts.  Using a glass or 2 1/2 - 3 inch circle cutter, cut out 2 circles for each hand pie.  Spoon a small tablespoon of apple mixture onto one circle, keeping filling in the center, not letting it go to the edges.  Using egg wash, go around the edges of the pie crust with the filling in the center, and place a top circle of pie crust over the top.  Sealing edges.  Using a fork, crimp the edges of the pie together to form a complete seal.  Place finished hand pie on cookie sheet, and repeat until the pie crust has been used up.

Using remaining egg wash, lightly brush over the top of each pie.  Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

International Bacon Day! (Cheese Burger Bombs wrapped in Bacon)

Did you know that it was International Bacon Day, yesterday, August 31, 2013?   According to the Wiki Gods..."International Bacon Day or Bacon Day is an unofficial observance held on the Saturday before Labor Day in the United States. (Labor Day is traditionally the first Monday of September). Bacon day celebrations typically include social gatherings during which participants create and consume dishes containing bacon, including bacon-themed breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and drinks."

So, how to celebrate such an occasion?  Why, you could always attend the BeerBaconBoobs Festival in Williamsville, NY.  It's a Beer & Bacon Fest held by the Breast Cancer Center Network of WNY Inc to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

I was in my glory.  It was a Mock Birthday party for me, see, as my b-day is today.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate than by Beer and Bacon.  The Festival had over 20 different Microbreweries from the New York and East Coast.  And the food, well, 8 different food trucks came to entice the pallets.  There was a hot dog truck, grilled cheese, Mac & Cheese, Chocolate Truffles, desert, Kettle Corn, and burger truck all featuring the delicious meat candy.  We walked around to make up our minds up on lunch and after much deliberation we settled on the busiest truck, The Roaming Buffalo.  We got the BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger (1/4 lb. burger, bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, drunken onions & homemade Flying Bison Aviator Red BBQ Sauce), the Cow8Pig Burger (Crispy Applewood Bacon-stuffed burger patty topped with Bacon Jam, Cheese, and Bacon) and Beer Bacon Cheese Fries.  The festival itself was worth it just for the Cow8Pig Burger alone!

Once lunch was happily digesting, it was time for beer.  We sampled a plethora of the best microbreweries in the area.  Beer and Bacon just belong together, don't be selfish and keep them apart.

By the time we were happily sated from the salty sweet meat candy and the wonderful blends of ale that complement the meat so well, it was time to head home, but not without bringing home something for the kids.  How about some Bacon Kettle Corn?  Or some Peanut Butter Bacon Cups?

So no matter how you spent this grandest of days, International Bacon Day, maybe next year you'll join me.  I'll be back in Williamsville.  Celebrating as only they know how!

Cheese Burger Bombs Wrapped in Bacon
1 can (16.3 oz)  refrigerated original or buttermilk biscuits 
1/2 lb lean ground beef
4 oz block cheddar cheese, cut into 8 slices, then each sliced is halved, making 16 squares
8 slices of bacon, uncooked, cut in half, making 16 pieces
Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a broiling pan with vegetable spray, and set aside.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut each biscuit in half; roll each into ball. Roll out each ball with rolling pin or press with hands until about 3 inches in diameter.

In center of each biscuit round, place 1 teaspoon ground beef and 1 cube of cheese. Roll up dough to completely enclose beef and cheese; pinch to seal well. Set aside. 

Wrap each stuffed “bomb” with 1 bacon slice; gently secure loose bacon with toothpick by inserting it through bacon and halfway into “bomb.”  

Place each "bomb" on the broiling pan and cook for 20-25 minutes, until bacon is crispy and biscuits have turned golden in color.