Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Maple-Bacon Cupcakes

Ohhhh!  Hi!  I haven't seen you in quite some time!  I've been.. not making cupcakes.  I'm not exactly sure why the hiatus happened, but I know this summer has been very busy, leaving me with no cupcake time at all.  I was working as the music teacher at a wonderful arts camp and I'm very sad that it's over.  However, I have ample time to make cupcakes again!  (Maybe I used the word "ample" because I have "maple" on my mind.)  So last night I perused my Martha Stewart cupcake book and thought these would be perfect, since I'm planning a trip to Canada in the next few weeks!

Ah.  Maple syrup.  (Not "pancake syrup," mind you.  Martha was very specific!!)  For Maple Cupcakes.  The cake is maple, the frosting is maple.. the marzipan leaves are maybe supposed to have maple in them (I didn't do that part.  Let's not go overboard!!).  The recipe asked if I wouldn't mind bringing home some "grade B" syrup, but I couldn't find any besides "grade A."  You can't stop well-educated maple from going to the top of its class.

Martha called for a standing mixer.  I usually use a hand-held one but the frosting required a whisk attachment.  From the description, it seemed that I'd end up with lopsided muscley arms (right arm muscley, left arm not) after trying to use a plain hand-held whisk on the eggs.  So welcome back, Kitchenaid!  

It always reminds me of the alien from Alien.  That oblong head.  Anyway, I mixed 2 sticks of butter with 2 cups of maple syrup and this is what it looked like.  

Nope, those are not almonds.  It's butter.  And I got worried.  

But all for naught!  Once I added the flour (and be sure to really read the directions because when it says "flour mixture," it means flour, baking soda and salt, which I almost didn't catch), it mixed perfectly and became a real cupcake-mix-looking batch.  

I put this into my Hello Kitty cupcake molds (and some square silicone ones my friend Jeff got me) and stuck them in the oven.

Then I brought the maple syrup to a boil for the frosting.  It looks purple!

While waiting for that, I separated 6 yolks from 6 eggs and began to whisk them with the power arm.

I don't have much experience whipping eggs.  I was worried that it might never become thick and light-colored.  But again, all for naught!  This robot arm works perfectly.  Meanwhile, I thought the syrup looked pretty cool.  "What are you doing, boiling pot of maple syrup?" I decided to take a picture.  It looked cooler and cooler.  As soon as I took this picture, that imploding center of foam quickly burst forth and spilled over in every direction and onto the fire below.

"Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!" I cried.  (Seriously.  Like I said to Jim, at least I know I don't swear when under pressure.)  Eventually I figured out which direction to turn the knob so the fire would go out.  I lost a good amount of syrup.

Oh, I'd emptied what was left into the egg mixture before I took this picture.  It wasn't all lost!  But you can see the giant puddle.

No matter!!  The 4 sticks of butter had to be cut up and emptied slowly into the mixture.  (I will tell you, I could have done it much slower.)  Again, I worried that it would never congeal.  It was an egg-and-syrup mixture that should NOT go near a cupcake.  I put the mixer on a higher setting and went about my other business.

When I checked on it again, I saw this beautiful frosting in place of what I had.  What magic is this?  Oh, it's science.

I was done with Martha's instructions.  Everything was complete.  Except I took it further.  There is a wonderful bacon-on-baked-goods trend going on (it has been for a while, I know).  Maple-bacon donuts, bacon in candy bars, etc.  I don't eat bacon (it's a pig-loving thing) so I've missed out on it so far.  Until today!!  I bought turkey bacon (thin and crispy--the best) and cooked it up!

Oh man.  Bacon.

Nice 'n crispy.  I split it up into little bits and decorated the tops of half of the cupcakes (not everyone wants meat on their cupcakes).

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!  You are correct.  They do taste delicious.  Which would you rather?

I'm not sure what's next, but I've been eyeing a banana recipe, and a gingerbread one.  Stay tuned!