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.

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