Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dishwashing the Turkey (French Toast Mini Cupcakes with Maple Butter Cream Frosting and Candied Bacon)

The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone and it was an awesome week for bacon.  (Bacon was one of the things I was thankful for this year, as I am sure it made your list of thanks as well)

While most people were up late Thanksgiving night or early Black Friday to shop, I took the time to do some shopping as well.  Except my shopping was at an empty grocery store, and the Asian food market, to pick up the 20 lb pig belly I'll be using to make Christmas Bacon.  (It's not a the flavor of Christmas, but the spirit.)  Santa's handing out bacon this year.

While I was not in charge of the Turkey for dinner (therefore it was not wrapped in a delicious bacon-weave blanket), I was asked to bring the Twice Baked Potato Bacon Casserole that I made a couple of weeks ago, and my grandmother's sweet rolls.  However, Lovin' Bacon seems to be a family trait, as my brother sent me this picture of his contribution to the Thanksgiving meal... check it out, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffing!

While perusing thru the Weird Wild World of Bacon, I came across this interesting piece of information.  According to Chef David Burke, you can cook your Turkey in the dishwasher.  (Yes, that's what I said.)  In the dishwasher.  Now, I'm not sure why you'd want dishwasher is an under-performer. (It could be operator error on the loading of it, now that I think about it. I do  like to play tertris to see if I can get the entire sink, the grill pans, spaghetti pots, essentially anything that is too large to fit in, I find merely a challenge).  So what was I talking about again?  Oh yeah, cooking a Turkey in the dishwasher...check out the story here.  David suggests 4 cycles on the top rack.  The guy is a food genius.  I'll have to take his word on the Dishwasher Turkey though...How does that tie in to bacon, you ask....the article also talks about his Peanut Butter Maple Bacon Dates made with caramelized peanuts and fried grapes.  Now, I just gotta see if I can get my family to eat dates.

The week started off with a dessert food day at work.  Of course, my co-workers expected I would bring in something with bacon (I'm pretty predictable that way), and I did not disappoint.  French Toast Mini Cupcakes with Maple Butter Cream frosting and Candied Bacon.  These Cupcakes didn't make it home...all 50 mini cupcakes were eaten, and there were no leftovers.  (I guess they were good!)

French Toast Mini Cupcakes with Maple Butter Cream Frosting and Candied Bacon
    12 slices Bacon, plus 1/4 cup of brown sugar
    1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
    1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
    ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
    ⅛ teaspoons Heaping, Nutmeg (or Pumpkin Pie Spice)
    ¼ teaspoons Salt
    ½ cups Unsalted Butter, Melted Then Cooled
    ¾ cups Sugar
    ¼ cups Brown Sugar
    2 whole Eggs, Room Temperature
    1 teaspoon Maple Extract
    ½ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
    ½ cups Milk, Preferably Whole
    2 sticks Butter
    4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
    2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
    ½ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
    ½ teaspoons Maple Extract
    1 pinch Salt
    2 cups Confectioners Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet and lay the bacon strips on the rack in one even layer. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, turning once. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and finish cooking for 5 mintues.  Turn the strips out onto paper towels when done and set aside to cool. Cut a couple of strips of bacon into 1 inch pieces on a diagonal, to be used as garnish. Finely chop the remaining bacon (yield approx 1/2 cup).
2. Turn oven down to 350F.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg (or Pumpkin Pie Spice) and salt into a small bowl.
4. In a large bowl or a stand mixer beat together butter, sugars and eggs on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the maple and vanilla extracts.
5. With the mixer running at medium speed, alternately add flour mixture (3 additions) and milk (2 additions) into the creamed mixture, starting with the flour mixture; beat until smooth. Fold in chopped bacon until evenly distributed.
5. Scoop batter into a muffin tin lined with paper cupcake liners. These cupcakes don’t rise as much, so they can be filled a bit fuller. I typically use 1 tablespoon for minis, and 1/4 cup for regular cupcakes. For this recipe, I just used heaping measurements of the above.
6. Bake minis 12-14 minutes; regular sized ones 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. After passing the toothpick test, keep baking until the tops barely turn golden brown. Let cool completely before icing.

Maple Buttercream Frosting
Frosts 40-48 mini cupcakes
1. In a bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup, vanilla, maple extract, and salt, and beat until fully incorporated. Add confectioner’s sugar, one half cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
2. Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with the reserved inch-long bacon pieces.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Epic Bacon Christmas Tree (Late Night Snack Cookies)

Sure, Thanksgiving is next week, but I'm already thinking about putting my Christmas Tree up.  Especially since I came across this Epic Christmas Tree...A Bacon Christmas Tree, with fast food ornaments.  Yeah.  It happened...Wow!

My best ideas for recipes come out at night when I'm looking for a snack.  I made similar potato chip-based cookies previously, but these cookies blow those cookies completely out of the water in their epicness.  How can you go wrong with Snickers, Rolos, Chocolate Chips, Potato Chips AND Bacon!  Simple answer, you can't.

Next Bake Sale I get suckered into, I mean....I volunteer for, I'll be making these.  Simply one of the best cookies I've had in a very long time.  Enjoy!

Late Night Snack Cookies with Bacon

    1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
    1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
    1 egg + 1 yolk
    1 Tbsp heavy cream or milk
    1 Tbsp vanilla
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups chopped Snickers candy, frozen
    2 cups chopped Rolos candy, frozen
    1 cup chocolate chips
    4 cups thick cut salted potato chips
    10 slices of bacon, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350°

Place bacon slices on a broiler pan or cooling rack over a cookie sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness.  Cool and drain on a paper towel.  Crumble and set aside.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Turn mixer to low and add in egg, yolk, milk and vanilla. Increase speed to medium and mix until smooth.  Turn mixer back down to low and add in flour, baking soda and salt, mixing until combined.
Add in Snickers, Rolos and chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. And finally add in potato chips and bacon and pulse until combined. Don't over mix, we want nice chunks of chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoon onto lined baking sheet and bake 9-10 minutes until edges are golden. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

For When You Sweat Like a Pig (Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies)

Here's something interesting.  Deodorant has been a part of our daily routines (or should be....ewe) since the late nineteenth century.  The most exciting thing to happen to the product has been the introduction antiperspirant.  And since then, nothing.  I'm not expecting flashing lights or bells and whistles, but where is the excitement?!?  Whether you like it or not, the news in the world of underarm fungus blocker is...wait for it....Bacon Deodorant.  Yes.  It exists.  I think this is one bacon bandwagon product that I'll avoid.  For now.  Check it out here.

If that wasn't enough to keep the Bacon News World rocking this week, I was advised by my friend Marcia that Jeff Probst, yes, Survivor Host Extraordinaire, would be appearing on the CBS show "Two and a Half Men", wearing nothing but bacon.  It's bacon news, so of course I had to investigate (for the bacon, yes, really, for the bacon).  Sure enough, Marcia tells no lies....check out what the Huffington Post had to say about it.

This week's recipe was requested by my friend Maggie.  She simply asked if I have ever made Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies before.  I said sure and asked if she wanted a recipe.  She really just wanted me to make the cookies.  I couldn't disappoint her.  You won't be disappointed either.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 5 dozen cookies

6 slices of bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake Bacon on a wire rack over a cookie sheet or on a broiler pan for 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness.  Cool, drain on a paper towel, and crumble.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition to the mix. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and bacon. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

As Seen On TV Bacon (Bacon Pierogi Bake)

You know those Bacon Bowls that are oh so popular now?  They are kind of a pain to make.  No lie, it takes patience, practice and time.  All which I run short on these days.  My friend Wanda came across this marvelous invention, Perfect Bacon Bowls.  What will they think of next for us Baconphiles?

Where I went to college, it's all about Basketball.  We had no Football team, so we ate, drank and breathed Basketball.  Both the men's and women's games had huge turnouts.  I'm in awe of Kansas State and there Bacon incentive to get bodies in for their opening Women's Basketball game this coming Friday.  According to the school, they have ordered over 300 lbs of Bacon to give away at the game, to every student that walks through the door.  Check out the article here.

 Want something easy and delicious to make on those busy work/school nights?  This recipe, which I just ate my fill on fits the bill.  Yum.

Bacon Pierogi Bake
1 16oz package of frozen potato pierogies
Cooking spray
5-6 slices of bacon, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup (3oz) cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farhenheit.

Arrange the pierogies in a large rectangular glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Cook Bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until crisp; remove from pan.  Set aside.

Add onions to drippings and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent and golden in color.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add 1/3 cup cream cheese to pan and cook for 1 minute or until the cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently.  Gradually add chicken broth to pan, stirring with a whisk until it is blended.  Pour the cream cheese mixture over pierogies.  Top evenly with 1/2 cup for sharp cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with bacon.