Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes to Celebrate 2 years!

It's Cooking with LT's 2nd birthday. Or, as I often hear in the blog world, it's my blogiversary! Although I still don't have down posting regularly, I am impressed with how much I've learned about cooking and baking. Dave and I were joking about how much our weeknight dinners have changed. We used to consider boiling pasta and heating spaghetti sauce to be cooking dinner and sometimes skip to takeout to avoid the hassle. It is the rotation of new dinners with old favorites that keep cooking at home interesting for us. I think the best part of having a food blog is how many other blogs and bloggers I have discovered through it. My neglected cookbooks are still trying to get involved in the kitchen, but it is often the recipes I find through other blogs that I am eager to try.

So in honor of this 2nd birthday/blogiversary, I bring you chocolate bacon cupcakes. This recipe is from The Novice Chef. I attended the Boston Bacon and Beerfest for a friend's birthday back in April, and it was after this event that I searched for a chocolate and bacon recipe that I could replicate. I loved Jessica's take on this sweet and savory combination by using a maple frosting. The perfect opportunity to share these cupcakes came when I invaded a friends cookout with 10 house guests! I think his exact words to me were "If you combine bacon, beer, and chocolate, you could bring 100 people!" I decided to serve the beer on the side of these cupcakes, but I think next time I will revisit the Guiness chocolate cupcake base and consider adding bacon to that. It might just create a guy's ultimate trifecta.

Thanks for reading/following me through this journey. Raise your cupcake to another year of recipes here at Cooking with LT!
For the cupcakes, you will need:
*3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

*3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour

*1 teaspoon baking soda

*1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar

*4 large eggs at room temperature

*1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, separated
1 cup sour cream at room temperature

*3/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped

1. If you have not already done so, cook the bacon. Let it cool before you chop it into bits.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tins.

3. Stir together the cocoa and hot water until smooth.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

5. In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the sugar, stirring to combine. Once the butter is melted, remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled ( this should take about 5 minutes) Add eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low.

6. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream. After each addition, beat the mixture until just combined. Gently fold in bacon.

7. Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate the pans. Continue baking for about 10 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake centers comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Continue cooling completely on baking racks before frosting.

For the maple frosting, you will need:
*2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar

*1/3 cup pure maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon salt

1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and maple syrup and mix until well combined.

2.Add the sugar, one cup at a time, mixing to combine each addition. Once all the sugar is combined, taste. Add more maple syrup if you'd like. If your frosting is not thick enough, add some more powdered sugar.

3. Frost cupcakes and top with extra bacon.

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