Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Am NOT On the Bacon Train

My little brother's (well not so little anymore, he's 17) birthday was November 2nd, and I decided to finally make the Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes that I have been dying to try. What better person to experiment on than my own bacon loving brother? I actually bought him a whole box of bacon stuff for Christmas last year... bacon wallet, bacon bandaids, bacon bacon bacon. So yeah, my bro loves bacon.

These were fairly simple cupcakes to pull together, requiring only 15 or so minutes of my time in preparation. The batter is amazing, and quite possibly the best chocolate batter I have ever tasted. While I was doing that, Glenn was cooking the bacon for me and dry heaving over the thought of chocolate and bacon. I didn't taste the batter post bacon addition though. They baked up absolutely beautiful. They had nice round domes and were quite springy to the touch. I think I have a winner here.

The frosting, oh the frosting... Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa is my new best friend. That stuff makes the most INCREDIBLE chocolate frosting I have ever had. So rich and chocolate and sinful. I loved it. I was kind of in a rush to finish and frost the cupcakes, so I didn't really get to play with the frosting and tweak it like I usually do, but followed exactly, the recipe is amazing.

I finally bought one of those awesome little 1M tips for frosting and I love it. Those swirls are just so pretty, I cannot get over it. After I frosted the cupcakes I put an assortment of plastic "toys" on the tops of them. I wanted all piggies but the cake decorating shop was all out and only had the combo farm animal bags. I stuck a nursing mama pig on one, a lizard on another (to represent my Bro's iguana), a fish (his love of fishing) and then a Happy Birthday pick of course.

Once we finally got around to giving Jeff his cupcakes, he took a bite and we all stared. A little weirded out by this staring, Jeff started to laugh and became overly cautious about eating these "mystery cupcakes." I forgot to add I didn't tell them what kind they were. When we asked them if he could taste something special in them he said "I dunno." When directed to take a hint from the pig on the cupcake, he said "milk?" Needless to say I about died from laughter after hearing that. Finally he crunched into a hearty piece of bacon and exclaimed "Bacon!" I'm not sure if he really liked them, if he ate it beacuse he eats anything, or if he was just being polite. My mom spit a bite of hers out. She was disgusted. I tried one a couple days later at lunch and did the same thing. I'm sorry, that combo is revolting.

I wanted so badly to like bacon and chocolate. I love bacon. I love chocolate. How could they not be great together? Sadly, I cannot board the chocolate bacon train with everyone else. I guess I will remain boarded on the peanut butter chocolate boat with the rest of the world. Here's the recipe in case you are interested. I found it on a blog called A Good Appetite. The frosting recipe is awesome and the chocolate cupcakes are super moist and lovely. I will certainly make these again, sans bacon of course.

Dark Chocolate & Bacon Cupcake

8 slices good thick-cut bacon
1 c unsalted butter
1/2 c Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
3/4 c water
2 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c well-shaken buttermilk
2 T vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 24 muffin tins.
Chop bacon into about 1/2-inch pieces. Cook over med-high heat in a skillet until bacon is brown & crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Pat any remaining oil off the bacon. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then whisk in cocoa. Add water and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in separately sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined (it will be a little bit lumpy). Stir in bacon.
Fill muffin tins to about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean. It's a moist cake, so don't worry if a few crumbs stick to your tester.
Allow cupcakes to cool.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

1/2 c unsalted butter
2/3 c Hershey's Special Dark
3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c milk
1 t vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

About 2 cups frosting.

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