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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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Espresso Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies

23 Dec

Okay. Did you see the title of this cookie? Espresso – yum. Dark Chocolate – always. Coconut – amazing. Put it all together? AMAZINGLY AMAZING!

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Now, I wondered what espresso powder was, since I don’t remember seeing it in the supermarket. I googled it and found out that Williams Sonoma was the easiest and most reliable place to get it – so I just went there. Boom.

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Look at all those flakes of coconut and chunks of chocolate chips.

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OMG look how amazing these babies look……They taste so delicious – espresso and coconut. Even if you aren’t a coconut fan, these are just spectacular. You have to try them.  And if you ARE a coconut AND a chocolate fan? OMG this could be your version of what heaven tastes like.

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If you are thinking of making chocolate chip cookies with a twist, MAKE THESE NOW!!!!! I made these last Christmas and they were so awesome, I repeated them for this Christmas!  IMG_1359

 

Espresso Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. espresso powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder. Whisk to blend and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla and coconut extracts.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut with a spatula.
  • Use a large dough scoop (about 3 tablespoons) to drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. (Note: I tried three different shaping methods for this dough and preferred the cookies made with the dough scoop to the others.)
  • Bake for about 14-16 minutes or until just set, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
  • Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

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.

Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies

13 Oct

I came across this recipe in People Magazine. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes you can really get some good recipes from People Magazine.

Every once in a while, I try one out and see what happens.

This is a keeper!!!

It tastes so elegant and gourmet. I love how you can see the lemon and the rosemary in the dough.

All I had at the time were star cookie cutters (and xmas stuff but that wouldnt have been right!).

And apparently I didnt have many sprinkle options either 🙂

These cookies are SO good! They are a fabulous twist on plain sugar cookies or rollout cookies. Definitely recommend!!!

Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tblsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour

Directions:

In a mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add zest, rosemary, egg, vanilla, and salt and mix for 1 minute. Scrape down bowl. At low speed, add flour and mix just until combined; do not overmix.

Roll dough out between two large sheets of parchment paper to ¼ inch thickness. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Roll dough out on clean surface and cut out using your favorite cookie cutter. Place onto baking sheet. Top with sprinkles and bake for 16-18 minutes or until edges are golden.

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.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

21 Apr

When putting together my menu for Mexican Supper Club, I knew I would do a flan for dessert. But I also wanted another sweet treat to pass around.

I referred to the Cooks Illustrated Mexican Edition for some inspiration and found Mexican Wedding Cookies. I’ve never heard of them before, let alone made them. They sounded easy and perfect!

These little cookies were so light and scrumptious. They were a true delight! They are very delicate – so handle with care. And try to resist popping them in your mouth while making them!

One helpful hint – make sure they are completely cooled prior to dusting with confectioner’s sugar.

I see why they call them Wedding Cookies – they are a special treat. They are beyond easy to make! They would be fabulous on your holiday cookie platter as well.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pecans or walnuts
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 16 tblsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups confectioners sugar

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle-lower-middle positions and preheat to 325. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Finely grind half of pecans in food processor to texture of coarse cornmeal, 10-15 seconds, then transfer to medium bowl. Coarsely chop remaining pecans in food processor, about 5 seconds, transfer to same bowl and stir in flour and salt.

In large bowl, beat butter and superfine sugar with hand-held mixer on medium until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly mix in pecan-flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.

Scrape bowl and beaters and continue to beat on low until dough is cohesive, about 7 seconds. At this point, dough can be covered and refrigerated for 3 days.

Working with 1 tblsp dough at a time, roll into balls and lay on baking shets, spaced about 1 inch apart. Bake until pale and good and bottoms are just beginning to brown, about 18 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through.

Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Meanwhile repeat with remainder of dough on freshly lined baking sheets.

Roll cookies in confectioners sugar and shake off excess.

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