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??!!

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The Challenge

Yesterday I received a challenge from son #1.

We were talking about how since I’ve been home I’ve been cooking wholesome home cooked meals. My statement was that it tastes so much better than any fast food or any meal that you can get out of a box. This last part, the part about any meal from a box was a direct jab at Hamburger Helper.

I hate…no I LOATHE Hamburger Helper. I was a single mom for 15 years with son #1. I had a high school diploma but no education beyond that so you can imagine that I didn’t make a lot of money. People who have a low socioeconomic status tend to eat less healthily because let’s face it, healthy food isn’t cheap. We ate a lot of Mac N Cheese and a WHOLE lot of Hamburger Helper. Now that I can afford not to eat it I won’t. The husband and son #1 love the stuff but me? I’d rather eat PB&J.

So after I took that jab at Hamburger Helper my son  said “I don’t know Mom, Hamburger helper is pretty tasty. I doubt it would taste any better if you made it homemade. In the back of my mind I was thinking “I think he just issued me a challenge…Oh he did!”

Oh it’s on!

IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!!!

*Ding*Ding*

So I found a recipe for Taco Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet Meal and set forth to prove that little rascal wrong!

This is not my image. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture before my family inhaled this dish!

I asked the husband if he wanted me to double the recipe and his reply was “HELLO!?!?! How do you not know me by now!?” Ok then, that’s a yes! Remember, this is the man who likes to eat. A lot!

So I doubled the recipe but I only added the 4oz of cheese that it called for instead of 8oz. Even so it turned out pretty good. I even made this nearly gluten free as I am gluten sensitive by using Tinkyada brown rice macaroni noodles. Seriously, they are THE tastiest gluten free noodle around! I can’t say that this dish was completely free as I don’t think the Campbell’s cheese soup was gluten free. I could see this being gluten free if you made your own cheese soup to use possibly.

My only problem with this recipe was that it didn’t say whether or not to drain the beef after browning. I did so anyway but after adding the cheese soup and cheddar cheese the mixture was REALLY thick. Like break your plastic spoon thick so I added more milk to thin it out. I’m guessing that I wasn’t supposed to drain the fat but I am health conscious (You wouldn’t know it most of the time) so I will drain it in the future and just add more milk. Milk. It does a body good!

And the winner of this friendly little challenge? While eating I asked son #1 if he liked it and his reply? “Oh my gawd yes Mom! This is better than Hamburger Helper from a box!”  I win! Woot! I should have bet money tho!

I give this recipe 4 out of 5 wooden spoons!