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Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes

8 Feb

What’s that you said? Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes? Oh yes……

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We got a sample magazine for AllRecipes in the mail in the beginning of the fall. I guess the online site is dipping their toe into the print world. The magazine is actually pretty cool – they have a great layout and some good features. They incorporate tips from readers – always helpful!

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Anyway….back to the bacon……and the chocolate.

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Robb perused the magazine and folded down some pages of interest. This was one of the pages. It is pure gold. I knew right away that I wanted to try it – and that my co-workers would also try it too 🙂

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The only annoying part about this recipe is cooking the bacon. No – you can not use baco-bits. No – you can not use pre-cooked bacon either.

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It has to be the real thing……And you have to cook it on the stove to get it crispy. Beyond that, it’s as easy as making any cake recipe from scratch.

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I don’t know who came up with the idea to pair bacon with chocolate. But I think I love them. Don’t tell Robb.

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Now when the cupcakes came out, they were good but not “amazing”. You could definitely taste the bits of bacon in the cake, but it wasn’t an overwhelming bacon-y taste.

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However when the chocolate icing went on, it was like magic. The icing just pulled it all together and made it SING! The only fault is that this recipe does not come with a recipe for chocolate frosting. So you will need to use your own favorite recipe (don’t buy storebought icing – gross!!!). Or you can do what I did and use my fave chocolate ganache.

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This batter makes a LOT of cupcakes. And I am not sure why, but I didn’t think it would be enough for my team at work, so I doubled the recipe.

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It made so many cupcakes! I had 2 full trays of them to bring into the office. I think there was one for everyone in the company!

They were a crowd-pleaser for sure! What a huge hit. How can you resist bacon and chocolate? That’s right – you cant. Everyone fell victim to the salty sweet confection.

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People – this is your endorsement: When Robb tasted the cake alone, he said “eh, it’s allright…nothing special”. But when I put the icing on top I got the special look with the words I love to hear: “you’ve outdone yourself” and a high five.

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Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 12 slices bacon
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tblsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ sp sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong-brewed coffee, cold
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Cook bacon in a skillet on medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, ¾ cup cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, coffee, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. Stir just until blended. The batter will be thin – don’t worry!

Mix in ¾ of the bacon, reserving the rest for garnish. Spoon batter into prepared cups, dividing equally.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (until tops spring back when touched). Mine were done in 20 minutes exactly.

Cool in pan set over wire rack. When cool, frost with chocolate frosting and sprinkle reserved bacon crumbles on top. Dust with remaining cocoa powder.

 

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Cranberry Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake

1 Dec

I saw this recipe online at foodgawker last fall. It was full-on cranberry season, and I wanted something sweet to make on a Sunday afternoon.

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This was the perfect thing!

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It comes together in a snap. Then bakes up nice and goldenIMG_1315.

You can either do a glaze for this cake (maybe a nice orange-flavored glaze would be nice) or powdered sugar.

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We kept it simple with powdered sugar. Look how nice it looks.

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It was so moist and delicious. I could see this as being a perfect breakfast cake or housewarming cake.

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Cranberry Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking power and salt and mix well.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well-combined. Fold in the Greek yogurt and about half of the cranberries.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread the remaining cranberries on top of that layer. Cover with the remaining batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 55-65 minutes until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

8 Sep

Blueberries are in season!!!! There are so many blueberries everywhere and I love it.

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What to do with so many blueberries……make a casual cake!

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This cake is absolutely simple and yummy. It uses lemon zest and buttermilk to set it apart from other blueberry cakes.

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This cake would be great to serve for a casual get-together in the evening, or a brunch in the morning!

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Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
  • 7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness.

If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

12 May

It’s almost blackberry time! I love this time of year, PERIOD, for so many reasons!!! But it’s always great when berries start to come into season.

I wanted to have a simple dessert to showcase the abundance of blackberries (and raspberies) I had in my fridge.

Raspberries and Blackberries – beautiful!

Spectacular berries…..dont you just want to stick your face in the bowl?

This cake goes together so easily – and uses buttermilk, along with basic ingredients you have in your pantry.

Doesnt that look beautiful before it’s even baked?

And then it looks even more amazing when it’s cooked!

It was so moist and delicious. We made 2 cakes and just sprinkled with sugar prior to baking.

Since this cake is more of a casual brunch/afternoon cake, it doesn’t need icing. The sugar on top was all it really needed to accompany the moistness of the cake and sweetness of the berries. You can also top with whipped cream and more berries.

Enjoy!

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups blackberries, plus more for serving
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving (if desired)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter a 9-inch-round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter with the 2/3 cup of sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the buttermilk and dry ingredients in 3 alternating batches, ending with the dry ingredients; do not overbeat. Gently fold the batter just until blended, then scrape into the pan and smooth the top.

Scatter the 1 1/4 cups of blackberries over the batter; lightly press them in. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar over the cake. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the cake to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn out the cake and remove the paper. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely. Serve with whipped cream/powdered sugar and more blackberries.

Makes one 9-inch cake.

Country Apple Galette

24 Feb

I saw this Jacques Pepin recipe last fall in Food and Wine Magazine (October 2011) and immediately bookmarked it.

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I still had a fear of the pie crust last year – I hadn’t had a lesson with my mom yet where she taught me her pie crust recipe. But I desperately wanted to make something apple pie-like for Robb since that’s his fave. This recipe was awesome because the crust gets made in 10 seconds in the food processor!!!

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I got to use my apple peeler/corer/slicer that my mom gave me last year! I love this thing and HIGHLY suggest it if you don’t have one. This is the ultimate tool for someone who works with apples a lot. And some of the best baking apples that I used are: honeycrisp, pink lady, and granny smith.

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I really liked that the crust for this open-faced pie was made quickly in the food processor. No mashing the Crisco into the flour mixture by fork! Even though making pie crusts by hand are easy, too. IMG_1295

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Luckily for my lack of perfectionism, this crust is free-form and you can shape it however you like. It can be rectangle, square, round, whatever! Mine are mostly oval with some deviations 🙂

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The apple-cinnamon-sugar mixture tastes amazing – but with the honey in the mix, too, it’s out of this world!!!!

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I know my edges look burnt – but that was just the sugar that leaked out over the sides of the crust.

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OMG sooooooooo good. This is an awesome apple pie alternative if you have some friends come over. It’s easy to assemble and looks great for a casual meal.

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Country Apple Galette

Ingredients:

Pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Topping:

  • 4 Golden Delicious apples
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey, preferably wildflower
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar, salt and butter and process for about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and process until the pastry just begins to come together, about 10 seconds; you should still be able to see small pieces of butter in it. Transfer the pastry to a work surface, gather it together and pat into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate until chilled. (You can also roll out the pastry and use it right away – which is what I normally do.)

Peel, halve and core the apples and slice them crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Set aside the larger center slices and coarsely chop the end slices and any broken ones; about half of the slices should be chopped. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 12-by-14-inch rectangle and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread the chopped apples over the pastry to within 1 inch of the edge. Drizzle the honey over the chopped apples. Decoratively arrange the apple slices on top in concentric circles or in slightly overlapping rows. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the apples and dot with the pieces of butter. Fold the pastry edge up and over the apples to create a 1-inch border.

Bake the galette for about 1 hour, until the pastry is nicely browned and crisp and all of the apples are tender. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the galette cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: The buttery pastry can be refrigerated overnight if you want to make the crust ahead of time.

Mrs. Olson’s Banana Bread with Buttercream Frosting

21 Dec

When my girlfriends and I were visiting Jen Olson in Iowa last fall, we talked a lot about food and recipes. We started to swap some recipes as well. Jen showed me her mom’s banana bread recipe and I quickly asked Jen to email it to me.

This bread is heavenly. It’s like no other banana bread I’ve ever had. It’s much more of a cake than anything.

You can really taste the brown sugar in the recipe – I think that’s what sets it apart from the rest. That, and there is a great amount of bananas added. Pay no mind to the burned quality of the bread……my oven was in poor shape 😦

And the icing…..oh man. This buttercream icing will now be my GO-TO icing for everything from now on. It is fabulous and sweet and creamy. I will probably need to make it its own blog post in the near future.

It’s a very simple bread, that is very people-pleasing. I took some in to share with my co-workers after Hurricane Sandy, and it was eaten immediately.

I am so thrilled that Jen shared her mom’s recipe with me. This will be my only banana bread recipe that I will ever need for life.

Look at this stuff……..sinful!!!!!

Mrs. Olson’s Banana Bread with Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown sugar (you can sub a cup of white for one of brown if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups mashed very ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla and bananas. Add dry ingredients last.

Pour in loaf pans. Bake at 350 45-50 minutes or until done. (start checking around 40 minutes)

Jen’s mom served this bread with a buttercream frosting recipe that she added just a little bit more milk to make it a creamy spread.

The BEST Buttercream Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Directions:

Beat butter in large bowl at medium speed until creamy.

Gradually add powdered sugar and salt alternately with half & half and vanilla, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.

Stir in corn syrup.

When loaves are fully cooled, spread over top and serve.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

6 Dec

It’s still considered fall. And I wanted to make something fall-y and pumpkin-y for my co-workers.

I perused some online recipes and found this one. It looked easy and somewhat healthy. Pumpkin is healthy, right? 🙂

These bars were so darn moist and flavorful! They had just the right amount of cinnamon and allspice without being too over-powering.

And the cream cheese icing…..I mean, you could slap cream cheese icing on most baked goods and it makes it that much more amazing. But this was just incredible.

I think everyone should just whip these up real quick – they will please almost anyone. It’s a perfect treat for family, friends, and co-workers!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 14oz. can pure organic pumpkin
  • 2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

Frosting:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

1. For the Bars: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9×13 pan and set aside. Mix flour, soda, powder and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

2. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until completely smooth and blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients until fully combined. Stop as needed to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.

3. Spread the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the center is set and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely to room temperature before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In a mix whip together cream cheese and butter. Then add sugar and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

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