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French toast and bacon cupcakes: Portland

17 May

These turned out great, but I think I’ll reserve these only for special occasions from now on. I was a little bacon-ed out by the time they were finished off (not that I ate them all myself). They were indeed delicious, but I just knew biting into one that it was not good for me.  Still, who can resist both maple syrup and bacon in one recipe? I’ll be making pancakes very very soon.

My mom told me that the Internet told her that baking bacon on foil in the oven is an easy, less messy way to cook it, so that’s what I’ve been doing for a while now. I like it because I end up like less of a greasy mess, as opposed to the skillet method.

After whisking the dry ingredients together (I cut back significantly on the nutmeg, after remembering some previously unfortunate over-spicing incidents), I added the eggs, half and half, etc. and beat it.

LOOK AT THAT GLORIOUS BACON. (Sadly, the second batch that I did, I burned. Dang you, multitasking.)

But look at that glorious bacon in that glorious batter.

I was pretty pleased with how these turned out (a bit more like muffins in texture than I was expecting, but equally delicious). The frosting could have been a bit less melty, so perhaps next time I’ll make some adjustments on the frosting front. I’m sure we all remember the whoopie pie incident.


Challenge #12: French toast and bacon cupcakes

24 Apr

This recipe magically appeared in my email one morning, and I knew it had to be our next blog challenge. Obviously, I instantly thought of a certain French Canadian’s love of maple syrup. And of course, I will jump on practically any excuse for me to buy and consume vast quantities of bacon.

To use up all that extra bacon you’ll no doubt have, I recommend bacon-beer pancakes. Hannah introduced me to this lovely blog (and perhaps even this very recipe). Though unorthodox in the breakfast department, they’re delicious. I suggest Newcastle Brown Ale for these fluffy beauties.

And while we’re on the subject of maple and bacon appearing in unusual places, Rogue just released a Bacon Maple Ale in honor of Voodoo Doughnut’s bacon maple bar (which is incredible). The beer, so I’ve heard, not so much. Still an interesting idea, though.

Let the bacon bakin’ begin.

Margarita cupcakes: Portland

26 Sep
Commence pseudo-tandem baking. Sadly, I’m not as good at remembering to take photos all the way through, but I’ve got some real artsy shots of tequila bottles and such. I decided to fall back on Grey’s Anatomy and catch up on the new season (it’s ridiculous as ever, but I can’t help myself).
Now for the baking part.
Step 1: Buy some (marginally) acceptable tequila at a store where they don’t let you behind the counter but make it look like you might be able to and have no signs telling you otherwise (lesson learned).
Here’s the pre-baking spread.
You’ll notice I’m using a lovely set of silicone baking cups from World Market, part of HJ’s graduation gift to me. They’ve been super useful, easy to use and make the perfect portion for cupcakes or muffins. I’ll show you more about why I love them later.
Put the dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in the other. Standard.

This bowl set was an awesome investment, though sadly, I cracked the green one the other day while doing dishes. In any case, mixed some stuff together.

So after a few minutes of beating up the batter, they went into the wee baking cups, and 20 minutes later, cupcakes! And look at the awesome shape from those silicone molds. I still need to master the hot spots on them because I’m still learning how to cook with a gas range, but they work pretty well. No need for muffin cups, either.

The frosting was a lot more buttery, airy, and thin than I’m used to with buttercream, but it seemed to work really well for this. And I decided to use my cake decorating set to make them look fancy fancy.
Next time I bake with tequila, I’m thinking tequila sunrise cupcakes, for sure (and by the way, I’ve never encountered this cooking blog before, but it looks amazing).

Margarita cupcakes: Denver

26 Sep

Well, the move is complete, and I’m finally settled (back) down in my hometown of Denver, Colorado.  Today is The Boyfriend’s first full day of work, and I am whiling away my time with cupcakes. What better way to spend a Monday?

Like N and I agreed, the first shared recipe we’re attempting is for margarita cupcakes.  You may recall our source recipe here.  I have pretty high hopes for these little lovelies. On paper, they are almost everything I love: lime zest, cupcakes, and tequila. Speaking of lime zest, look at that color!:

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So, I sat down, watched some of an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and with Captain Janeway looking on, I zested some limes. And juiced them.  And sifted some flour, baking soda, and salt with the help of my salty sea-lion salt shaker.

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Once my batter was all made, I slid it into its slinky little polka-dot cupcake wrappers and sat down to wait. I bought these cupcake liners JUST for the purpose of margarita cupcakes.

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My batter seemed a little bit thin, but I fought my urge to thicken it up with some extra flour. I am trying to re-learn how to bake at high altitudes (there is a very reasonable explanation for Denver’s nickname, “The Mile-High City”).  Less air pressure means that cakes rise faster and can fall before the gluten structures have a chance to bake into something airy.  Liquid also boils off more quickly, so I’m trying my theory that a thinner batter might work in my favor.

I pulled them out of the oven at 25 minutes in. The recipe specified 20-22, but mine took a bit longer to solidify. (I am mostly relieved I managed not to roast them – I had a traumatic cupcake-burning experience in August.) A quick brush with some tequila made them happy little drunk cakes.

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I decided to let them cool by WATCHING MORE VOYAGER. Who says that being unemployed isn’t cool? I am so cool. Right? Right?

After another bout with our intrepid, stranded Star Fleet crew (ep. 4X15, if you are really interested), I decided to crack down on this buttercream business.I ought to preface this buttercream business by saying that I almost always am not a fan of American Buttercream. I usually find it too dense, too sweet, gritty, and flavorless. When I am frosting a cake, I usually spend the time and money on extra eggs and make Swiss Meringue Buttercream instead, because I like the texture and sheen. However, this buttercream recipe is SO GOOD. Holy balls. Like, pipe-the-leftovers-into-a-glass-and-drink-it good. I found it needed a little extra tequila (NEEDED), and added some extra sugar to balance out the texture. Then, into my comically-large piping bag it went.  Look at those beauties! I love how white the icing turned out.

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And for detail’s sake, here’s a better glimpse of this buttery peak of tequila goodness.

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The recipe demo we’re following garnished its cupcakes with lime zest, but I wanted something that looked salty, because I don’t think any margarita is complete without a salted rim.  I thought about clear sanding sugar, but settled on green.  They look a little St. Patrick’s Day, I will admit, but I’m pleased with the end product.

Now, to wait for The Boyfriend to return so that we can enjoy the spoils of my labor. Never mind that we’re eating chicken curry for dinner…chicken curry could go with margaritas, right?

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Challenge #1: Margarita cupcakes

5 Sep

First up, we’ll tackle a classic, cupcakes. But because we’re just out of college, they need booze. We’re both fond of tequila but haven’t baked or cooked with it before. These cupcakes seem like a delicious excuse to drink while baking and please our roommates.

We’ll let you know how it goes, pictures and all.