Friday, January 22, 2010

I would eat bacon for every meal if I could.

Everyone eats bacon for breakfast. Bacon and eggs, bacon and pancakes, etc. It's normal. And bacon for lunch is pretty acceptable too--who doesn't love a BLT? The most important part of a BLT, of course, is that there's a lot of bacon. Appetizers involving bacon are pretty standard; people eat bacon-wrapped scallops at fancy parties, or bacon dips at non-fancy parties. And bacon is pretty normal in dinner, too. Lots of meatloafs have bacon wrapped around them. You can make bacon-wrapped chicken. You can crumble bacon and put it on a potato or a salad. My friend Dave once wrapped a piece of bacon around a slice of orange, just to prove a point. (He didn't prove it very well; apparently it was sorta gross.)

"Good old Cheery. She knew what a Vimes BLT was all about. It was about having to lift up quite a lot of crispy bacon before you found the miserable skulking vegetables. You might never notice them at all." --Terry Pratchett, THUD!

The problem, of course, is dessert. If we can have bacon everywhere else, why not in dessert? And I'm apparently not the only one who thinks so. So when I woke up one November morning to an email from Mike titled "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and found that the body of the text was simply a link to a recipe for Bacon-Maple Cupcakes, well. I immediately texted him to let him know we'd be making them that night.

I almost gave up hope when, after calling three normal grocery stores and a natural foods store that usually has anything other grocery stores don't, not a single one had maple extract. Finally, I remembered a gourmet/natural food store about half an hour away, right down the street from the bakery at which Mike and I had our first date (it's a wonderful little bakery), and the trip seemed worth it. I called them to ask if they had it and got the owner of the store (I love places like that) who told me that they had two different types. I was excited. We got to revisit what we think of as "our bakery" and have some sandwiches, then walk down the street a little and get some maple extract.

They didn't have maple extract. They had natural maple flavoring. I'm not entirely sure what the difference is, but I was disappointed, as I like to use real extracts whenever possible. However, the fact that it said 'natural' and not 'imitation' made me feel a little better, so I bought it, and we proceeded to the normal grocery store where we could get the rest of the necessary ingredients, particularly bacon.

Now, I love bacon. I'm sure you've figured this out by now. But somehow, I've always been terrible at cooking it. I put it in the pan, flip it over at some point, and when it looks perfect I take it out and put it on a paper towel, but the ridiculously hot grease continues to cook it for just a little bit longer and it always ends up burnt. However, during our bacon-maple-cupcake adventure, I seem to have figured it out perfectly:

Mike enjoys snapping really unflattering pictures of me when I'm cooking, but I'm cooking, so I think it's acceptable. (It occurs to me that the only other picture of me in here involves this shirt too. I promise I have more shirts. I just like Yoshi a lot.)

Anyway, the bacon came out perfectly, so I was excited about the rest of it. It made sense to cook the bacon first, see, so it could cool down and would be nice and crispy to break apart and put on the cupcakes. I got out my trusty KitchenAid (I'm not sure I could bake without one, seriously) and made the batter. I put the little paper things in the cupcake pan. I filled each one 2/3 full. And then I was a major. spastic. klutz. Somehow, between the counter and the oven, gravity disapproved of my desire for bacon cupcakes.

Fail. Complete and utter fail. This took forever to clean up, and I was worried about the fate of the rest of the batter--specifically, whether it would be enough to make a decent amount of cupcakes, since I'd spilled 12 cupcakes worth of batter and the recipe only said it made 18. Luckily for me, the recipe lied horribly--after spilling 12 cupcakes, I still ended up with 19.

The ganache was fun. I'd never made ganache before--most of my baking experience lies in pies, so I don't know much about frostings. But if you need to frost something, and relatively hard chocolate frosting is okay, I recommend a ganache because pretty much all you do is melt chocolate into some cream. The recipe says to let it chill overnight. Don't do this. We let it chill for an hour or two and it was way too hard to spread. We ended up having to microwave it to keep it smooth and not tear apart the cupcakes.

They looked pretty. And they tasted good.

It was really fun to see the looks of shock on people's faces when I handed them a cupcake with bacon on the top. My mom was away the weekend I made these, and when she got home I was leaving my class on my way to Mike's house, and I got a text message saying "why is there bacon on the cupcakes?" which I think was a pretty valid question. My answer, of course, was that bacon is awesome.

The cupcake itself tasted like a delicious breakfast all piled into one cupcake. It was sort of like chocolate-chip pancakes with maple syrup and bacon on the side, but in dessert form, and the bacon isn't on the side. One of the reviews says the flavors didn't go well together, but they clearly never ate chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup and bacon on the side. If they had, they'd know that it was a wonderful combination. My only real complaint was that the cupcake itself was really dense and had a more muffin-like texture. I assume this is due to the use of cake flour instead of normal all-purpose flour. Next time I make them I'll probably find a different actual cupcake recipe and replace the vanilla extract with maple flavoring so they're lighter, and once I do that I'll post the full recipe here instead of just a link to where I found it.

Now I'm looking for more bacon-related desserts, and finding all sorts of wonderful things. I saw something about candied bacon somewhere, I believe it was in a magazine telling you what to make for breakfast on valentine's day, and I just might listen to them and make it.


  1. Did you try the bacon chocolate at our place? We had some last night. It rocks.

  2. Bacon, I smell bacon. Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!
    xoxo, Mally

  3. OH BOY... Dave here from My Year on the Grill... Partner for the foodie exchange program. Love your blog. Lots of personality (which I love, don't really care for the black and white "here's the recipe blogs", I want to see you behind the meal)... But I digress...

    Think i am going to try your bacon cupcakes (I have a reputation... look up my post on chocloate covered bacon if you can't find anything yet... MUCH better than you would think...

    Will be a fun month, drop me a note if you have any questions... will be following your blog from now on. I really enjoy it