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.

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