Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Maple bacon cupcakes

I used to be a vegetarian. Then every time I saw chicken, my mouth watered. So I started eating organic, grass-fed chicken. So I ate it. Then in a drunken late-night food run, my friends and I went to Burger King. There in the glow of the backlit drive-through menu, the chicken nuggets called out my name. It was all downhill from there. I eat chicken all the time now. I can't help it, it's just so tasty and nutritious.

Then how did I start eating bacon again? I have to say, it was a moral challenge to abandon my previous eating habits, as I've always been very conscious of the origins of my food, especially meat. Coupled with the fact that I want to have a pet pig when I grow up, the transition to bacon was pretty hard for me.

OK, so it wasn't that hard. I was at my friend's house and her mother brought out a plate of bacon with our breakfast. As it sat there on the table, I thought to myself, "So you've done chicken, turkey... you may as well go all the way. Eat the bacon." And with that, I picked up a piece and ate it. And it was fucking phenomenal. Nearly five minutes later I was concocting bacon recipes in my head. I had seen a few recipes out there for bacon cupcakes, but none that seemed to use enough bacon fat. A tablespoon? Come on. How are you supposed to taste that?

So today I achieved culinary excellence. I put that delicious bacon in a cupcake, and not only did it come out well, but I want to say it's the best recipe I've ever made up.

If this doesn't get me a husband, I don't know what will.

For the cupcakes:

12 strips high-quality uncured bacon, and reserve 1/2 cup bacon drippings
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup (REAL maple syrup. None of that Aunt Jemima crap)
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup (see note above)

Begin by cooking the bacon in a frying pan to desired level of crispiness. Reserve all drippings from cooking, and put to solidify in the fridge. Allow bacon to cool on a plate, then, using cooking scissors, cut 7 of the strips into small bits, about the size of small peas (I cut the strips in half, then snipped them up from there). Cut the remaining 5 strips into quarters (these will go on the top of the cupcakes). Set everything aside.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, cream the butter, solidified bacon drippings, sugar, and maple syrup. Then add the egg and milk. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in thirds. Finally, using a spatula, fold in the reserved bacon bits.

Pour the batter into lined cupcake molds. Bake for ~30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. Cream the butter, then add the vanilla and maple syrup. Lastly add in the confectioner's sugar. Beat on medium speed until the frosting looks light and airy, about 2 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, spoon the frosting into a ziplock bag. Cut a 1 centimeter slit in the corner of the bag. Starting in the center of the cupcake, pipe the frosting in a spiral out to the edge of the cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a quarter strip of bacon. Enjoy!

Recipe by me.

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