French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes: Denver

8 May

Whew. This is not a health food. Let’s just start with that. However, I’ve recently made a commitment to “clean up” my eating with my mom (we both were reflecting on our Great Sugar Addiction of Winter 2011 and decided to try to rein it in a little).  I decided to try to take this brutally delicious recipe and tidy it up a little. That said, cupcakes are cupcakes, and I’m realistic about it. I just made some little tweaks here and there to drop the sugar content some.

We start with extra-thick-cut, smoked bacon. Look at it. Glistening. Bacony.

And crispy. I made it first so it had time to cool before I folded it into my batter. I didn’t want any micro-cooked spots in my cupcakes.

I sifted my dry ingredients together – subbing fat/sugar-free pudding mix for the norm (it’s not like you’re gonna notice with all the other butter and sugar). Oh, and potato starch? What even is that? I used corn starch. Then I let it hang out.

Next came the wet ingredients – creamed the butter and sugars, added the egg whites. The key to the eggwhites, I found, is to add them very. slowly. In “The Simple Art of Perfect Baking”, one of my all-time favorite sciencey-baking books, this is always stressed, but I learned it first-hand doing this. I added my egg whites too quickly and they “curdled” my butter and after 10 minutes of whipping, it was clear they weren’t going to un-curdle.  One at a time, people! I scrapped my fist butter-sugar-whites mix and started over. Perfection!

I added a fair amount of maple extract with my vanilla, because I wanted to skip the maple syrup in the actual cupcakes (don’t tell my boyfriend).  Instead of the syrup, I used 3/4 C hot water (as suggested by some of the comments on the source recipe. I subbed normal milk for the half-and-half…with bacon and butter in the cupcakes, I’m not worried about missing the taste of the half-and-half. It makes me nervous to vary so far from the recipe, but I figured I’d try it anyway).  But…it came out PERFECTLY.

Finally, I rolled my bacon pieces in flour before mixing them into the batter. I didn’t want them to sink to the bottom! I loaded a few foil cupcake wrappers with the batter pre-bacon, and then folded in the bacon for the rest to go into paper cupcake wrappers (so I could tell which had bacon and which didn’t after they were baked). I suited them up and into the oven they went:

After 22 minutes or so, out they came!

And then came the frosting…and the bacon.

These were really delicious!! They were pretty light (glad I added that extra water) and tasted just like their namesake. Good find, Nora.

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