Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Baking with Bacon!

No, I didn't give up on the no meat diet that fast.
Yes, I understand that buying industrial meat is the same as eating it.
But this was an exception.
I promised a colleague a bacon cake back in January when we were working on The Blue Bear at Perseverance Theatre, but time got away from me and I never followed through with the promise. So when he came back to town, the obligation was fulfilled.

I grew up Jewish, so bacon was the forbidden fruit of my childhood. So naturally, the rebel in me not only wants to always eat bacon, but use it in everything. My newest obsession has been to put it in baked goods.
So good. And So forbidden. 


It belongs there, trust me.

Maple-Gingerbread-Bacon/Pecan Cupcakes (heavily adapted from Bon Appetit)

Maple Coated Pecans
1/2 c pecan halves
1/4 c pure maple syrup
Coarse kosher salt

-Place foil on your work surface
-Mix syrup and nuts in a heavy skillet (don't use non-stick) over medium-high heat and bring to boil, tossing to coat. Cook until the syrup is dark amber and thickly coats the nuts, about 4 mins.
-Scrape nuts onto foil, with 2 forks, separate the nuts. Sprinkle with salt and cool until coating is hard, about 2 hour.

Caramelized Bacon (Pig Candy)
Bacon- about 7 slices
1/3c Brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

-Preheat oven to 350
-Cover a broiler pan with tin foil. Spray with Pam/oil.
-Mix the brown sugar and pepper in a bowl. Press both sides of  the bacon into the brown sugar mixture so it sticks. Sprinkle any remaining topping onto the pan.
-Bake bacon until crispy, about 30 mins.

Maple-Gingerbread Cupcakes
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 c crystallized ginger- chopped
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp maple extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
2 eggs
3/4 c hot water
2/3 c molasses

-Preheat oven to 350, put the paper things in a muffin pan.
- Combine the flour, 5 spice, soda and salt in a food processor. Add the ginger and blend until finely ground.
- In another bowl, beat the sugar, maple extract and butter until fluffy. Add in 1 egg at a time.
-In yet another bowl, stir the hot water and molasses.
-Beat the dry ingredients and molasses into the butter mixture, alternating between the dry and molasses.
-For bacon cupcakes- chop and fold in some candied bacon bits.
-For the vegetarian option (pecan)- chop and fold in some of the candied nuts.
-Pour the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for about 20 mins. Cool on racks.

Maple Sugar Frosting
1 1/2 c chilled creme fraiche
1 1/2 c chilled heavy whipping cream
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp maple extract
6 Tbs powdered sugar

-Combine everything in a food processor. Whip until thick and stiff.

-Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate with bacon chunks or pecans.
-Chill until ready to eat.


I don't think I've professed my love for Daft Punk yet, which surprises me, because I love me some french electronica. I challenge you, dear readers, to find an occasion where Daft Punk doesn't fit/ isn't the best option out there.  I may have a slightly unhealthy obsession with it (except the Tron soundtrack. I can't get behind that, most likely because I haven't seen the movie).

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