Caramel Apple Bacon Cupcakes

It’s been a really long time since I blogged. A few things have changed.

I went back to work for a while.

Son #1 graduated High School.

We bought a house.

I left my job permanently.

We moved.

Whew! It’s been a busy few months! Now I’m focusing on unpacking, homework and of course domesticated bliss!!

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for Caramel Apple Cupcakes on the Facebook. I said something to the effect of “It doesn’t get much better than this!” but my bacon obsessed friend ,who I lovingly refer to as Smelly, stated that bacon would make it better. Our friend Soury kind of in a round about way challenged me to make these cupcakes with bacon. I took that challenge but of course it had to wait until I moved and got unpacked. So….now that I am 84.6% unpacked, at least enough to bake, I decided now was the time.

Holy Smokes Folks!!! These are tasty!!

Ya know how you have those EUREKA!! moments? I had one of those. I love those!

The one question I had was “How do I incorporate the bacon so that it doesn’t over power the rest of the flavors?” Good question right?! Soury made sea salt bacon caramels and they were really salty. I mean REALLY salty!! I was afraid that if I put the bacon on all you would be able to taste would be salty bacon. So I thought on it.

And thought on it.

And thought on it.

Then one day while I was just about to fall asleep it came to me. Candied Bacon!!! Bingo Bango Bongo!! So I looked up the recipe and it made total sense. If you bake the bacon with brown sugar and cinnamon it cuts the salt taste considerably so that it blends in to whatever you are trying to incorporate it into.

I found the recipe for candied bacon here. A word to the wise. I bought thick cut bacon because that’s normally what I purchase for things like breakfast. However, I think using regular bacon would be best for this purpose. The thick cut just didn’t crisp up like I wanted it to. So when I make this again I will be using regular cut.

I found the Caramel Apple Cupcake recipe here. This recipe is easy! SO easy!!! The hardest part of making was the prep for the apple. I hate cutting and chopping with the passion of a thousand fiery suns and that is why I was ever so glad that my friend Smelly did that part. She loves chopping and peeling. The other hard part is the waiting until they are baked so we could eat them. Of course I modified this recipe so instead of pecans, which would have been just as tasty, I used the bacon.

OMGosh!! Make these! Eat these! You are welcome!!

I give this recipe 5 out of 5 spoons. It’s so easy and fun to make and people loved them! I think I’ll have one for lunch. It’s a meal…right??!!

Time with Family

This Memorial day weekend the husband, son #2 and I, along with our ever faithful companion the dog drove out to the small town where a bunch of my family lives in South Dakota.

My cousin who lives in Texas was there along with one of her sisters who lives in the Cities (but we never get to see). Every time we are out there it’s always fun because so many people are there and we usually end up having some sort of potluck. It seems like it’s all about the food out there. I love country cooking and especially country baking!

My Uncle put his mind on making pulled pork sandwiches that were AMAZEBALLS! My Gramma made her second to none potato salad and two pies, rhubarb and cranberry apple . She also baked homemade buns for the pulled pork sandwiches.  My Mom made her tuna noodle salad and rhubarb crisp.

I made bacon wrapped smokies (You will remember my love of bacon from my previous post) and I made cheesecake stuffed strawberries. I found the recipe for that amazingness here. I had never heard of such a thing but am now left wondering why the heck I hadn’t thought about that before. I love strawberry cheesecake but it must have been an evil genius that said “Hey! Why not put the cheesecake INSIDE the strawberry?!?”

I say evil because I can seriously see myself sitting down and eating a whole mess of these. I am, however, choosing to think of them as good for me. Strawberries count towards my fruit and veg intake and cream cheese is dairy so I get calcium. Those two things combined can’t be all that bad for you.

Right?

Photo taken from Homestead Survivals blog

Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner!

Everyone LOVED these little beauties!

The recipe is SO amazingly easy that even the most challenged of cooks/bakers can pull this one off.

I doubled the recipes as my family is quite large and had a LOT of cream cheese left over in the bag. I was ok with this. I squirted some in my husbands mouth, in my mouth and then I told my mom to open her mouth. At first she didn’t want to (sometimes I think she forgets how to have fun) but I kept pestering her until she did. After that she had a big ole smile on her face. See…sometimes having fun is…well, FUN!

I think the next time I make this I will use two pounds strawberries and not double the cream cheese. That seems like it’s the right ratio.

I give this recipe 5 out off 5 wooden spoons!

Undone. The Banana Bread Song.

Sometimes I stumble upon recipes on the webbernet and think “Ooooh! That looks yummy! Must make!”  I book mark it and well, frankly I get distracted and forget about it. This recipe for Reese’s Peanut Butter Bread was SO not the case. This recipe was bookmarked and then haunted me for days until I HAD to make it. This recipe called to every ounce of my being.

When I saw the pictures on her site I couldn’t believe my eyes. I actually had to rub them to make sure I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing.

Did she really put a whole bag of miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups in peanut butter banana bread? Yep! Yes she did!

I made this recipe

TWICE

So here is the thing. The first time I made this recipe the dough was really dense. Like so dense that after it was baked you had to drink milk with it or it would get caught in your throat and then you’d do that gag thing.  Oh boy, that’s attractive!

Additionally, the bottom of my bread burned so that when I turned the pan over to get it out the top half came out but the bottom stayed in the pan! DOH!!!

Here is where I went wrong! Two things:

When I buy a bunch of bananas and they aren’t all eaten they start to go bad. I throw them in the freezer fully intending to make banana bread out of them. However, when I thaw them out to make the banana bread I think they lose some of their uh, how do I say this, volume? So the recipe says to use 3 very ripe bananas. I used three thawed bananas and I am guessing I should have used 4 or maybe 5. I think that attributed to the density issue.

As for the bread burning issue. Well there is a little disclaimer on the bottom of the recipe that says she uses a stone loaf pan and that calls for a temp of 350. I baked mine at 350 in a glass loaf pan and well, I think that’s where I went wrong. I think I should have baked it at 325.

Now, the second time I made this bread (last night) there wasn’t a density issue. I used three large very ripe not previously frozen bananas and the batter was WAY more loose than before. I was excited thinking this recipe might actually turn out this time!

HA! Just kidding.

I decided to bake it at 325 to keep it from burning. I also set the timer at 45 minutes instead of 60 (Knee jerk reaction to it burning last time) because my oven (which is the original oven that came with this house in the 1950’s) runs hot.

So I hear the timer go off

I take the bread out

I take a toothpick and stick it in

it comes out and it’s clean (Or so I thought)

I take the bread out and set it on the cooling rack to cool

I walk away

I was so excited. It was perfectly browned on top and looked good

Ten minutes later I went in to take it out of the pan and the center had fallen in.

This is how Shelly’s bread turned out. Why oh why can’t mine!?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWAH!!!!!!

Ugh.

I just can’t win with this bread. Apparently if the middle is still very doughy the toothpick trick doesn’t work the best. Who knew??

I tried to put the bread back in the oven for 15 more minutes but that didn’t even help. After I cut it I realized the middle was still really undone. My thought was “Crap! Now what do I do??”

Well, I cut a slice this morning and threw it in the microwave for a minute (literally 60 seconds) and it baked it the rest of the way.

So the verdict is. I will make this recipe again and I will continue to do so until I have it mastered. Even tho it burned the first time and was undone last night it still tastes AMAZING! I love this recipe and so does son #1 and the husband.

I give this recipe 3 out 5 wooden spoons based sheerly on my trials and tribulations. If I can figure out how to get this bread to turn out the way it should I will change my rating.

Red Velvet Cake Balls Follies

A couple of years ago right around Christmas time my dear friend Cindy created the event of all events. Cookiepalooza. It was an event I very much looked forward to every year. Our fearless leader had just left and our interim replacement participated by making these cake balls. Unfortunately I missed them the first year but was intrigued by my coworkers reviews of them. Cindy said something along the lines of  “Oh man she had these balls covered in chocolate and I don’t know what was in them but dang they were good! I was going to save you one but T took the last one.” Dang it! The next year I was able to have one and ZOH MY GAWD!! I was in LOVE. Come to find out these were Oreo Truffles. I still haven’t made those yet. Maybe next year for my husbands cookie exchange at work.

Speaking of which…my husband asked me to bake something for him to participate in the cookie exchange at his work this past Christmas. Normally he doesn’t participate in things like this but he had just accepted a new position in a new building and didn’t know many people. A month earlier I had been at a bridal shower where they served Red Velvet Cake Balls. HOLY MOLY! If I hadn’t been 7 months pregnant and trying to avoid gestational diabetes I would have used the excuse of being pregnant and ate the whole tray!!! When he asked me to bake something for him I KNEW this is what I had to make.

I found the recipe on Gonna want seconds blog Here.

Reading the directions it seems pretty straight forward, right? Well, either I am mentally challenged or just plain simple but I had SO many difficulties making these. Everything went well in making these until it came to the shell that surrounds the outside.

Mistake #1: Melting the chocolate.

I didn’t particularly care for the method they describe in the recipe. On the package it says to melt in the microwave a few chunks at a time. Well…I have ceramic dishes and those suckers get HOT and have a tendency to burn the fingers while gripping. So…I broke out the fondue pot. My train of thought was “That is what fondue pots are made to do…right?”

First of all I turned it on and the chocolate bark was not melting on level 5. Hm…that’s odd. So I turned it up to 8. Still not melting well enough so I checked the cords and Voila! As a result I ended up burning the chocolate very quickly. I also burned my finger! Doh!

I ended up going to the store to pick up more bark. After that I melted it in my ceramic bowl in the microwave like the instructions indicated on the package. And I used my oven mitts (or rather my husband did to help me avoid burning more digits. Yeah, I’m clumsy like that).

Mistake #2: Chilling the filling

The instructions CLEARLY state that you form the filling into balls and freeze until the outside is frozen. One you thing you will learn about me and one thing I am desperately trying to change is the fact that I am not a very patient person. I did not let the balls cool enough.

So while I am in the process of trying to roll the balls in the melted chocolate bark they are falling apart. Nothing looks more shitey than having little bits of red velvet cake in the chocolate. So I put them in the freezer and called it a night only to resume the next evening. I couldn’t figure out how to get the coating smooth though and that was frustrating to me.

After I got all that figured out they turned out pretty good. My husbands only complaint was that the chocolate coating was a bit thick on some of them. My response was “I’m pregnant, tired, it’s the end of the semester…consider yourself lucky I’m doing this at all!” I can look back on it and laugh now but I was irritated about it then.

The good news was that all his co workers raved about them which made me happy.

After all is said and done I am not sure I’m going to be making these little sweeties again. Oh hell..I might try them again now that I am no longer pregnant and no longer working. I am, however, still going to school so maybe I’ll try around christmas time again after the semester is over.