© Martin Jonsson
One of our editors used to run a cooking blog devoted to all things bacon. While the blog is long gone, we've dug out the recipes..
Brace yourselves, because I'm about to add a storm of bacon to your lives. Back in 2012 I became obsessed with bacon, and decided to see if there was anything that couldn't be made at least 20% tastier by adding bacon to it one way or the other (as it turns out, bacon smoothies are pretty disgusting, but that's basically it).
In what may be the greatest twist of fate ever known to man, I became vegetarian a year or so into running the blog, which left me little option but to stop coming up with recipes. I stumbled across my old recipes the other day and still think some of them were pretty smashing, and my own decision not to eat meat should certainly not rob anyone else of the glories of bacon. So, over the next few weeks, I'll be publishing some of my old favourites.
Caramelised bacon cupcakes - ingredients
Let's start with the shopping list.. fair warning: it's far from healthy.
For the caramelised bacon:
- 100g uncooked bacon
- 150g light brown sugar
- 2-3tbsp of liquid*
*I used water, but the more adventurous among you may add an additional dimension by using something like whisky or rum.
For the cupcakes
- 50g of unsalted butted
- 115g light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 115g plain white flour
- ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 25g cocoa powder
- 125ml sour cream
For the white chocolate and cream cheese topping
- 200g white chocolate
- 150g cream cheese
For the chocolate ganache
- 100g plain/dark chocolate
- 100ml full fat cream (double cream in the UK, around 48% fat)
Let's get cooking
There are quite a few steps to this recipe, and you'll need a fair bit of patience.. but the result is worth it.
Step 1 - proper caramelised bacon
Back in the day I had a whole section on my blog devoted solely to different means of achieving perfectly crispy caramlised bacon. I don't think we'll be going into quite as much detail on that here, so we'll stick to the easiest method for now.
- Set your oven to 220 °C, or 180-200 °C if using a fan-assisted oven. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Put the sugar in a large mixing bowl and add liquid to it one tsp at a time while stirring. Keep adding liquid until the mixture becomes liquid but not runny or soupy. It needs to be quite thick.
- Add the bacon to the sugar mixture and make work it a bit with your hands so that both sides of every slice are evenly covered.
- Place the bacon on the lined baking tray, and cook at the top run of your oven for about 15 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
Step 2 - the cupcakes
The recipe should make about 16-18 cupcakes.
- Preheat your oven to 180 °C.
- Grab a large mixing bowl and add all of the ingredients to it. Mix together using an electric whisk if you have one, or warm up your elbow a bit and do it the old fashioned way.
- Get your cupcake cases out and place a healthy tablespoon of batter in each of them - they should be about half full.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until they have about doubled in size and are firm to the touch. Leave until cool (ideally on a cooling/wire rack).
© Martin Jonsson
Step 3 - white chocolate and cream cheese topping
- Grab a heat proof bowl, a saucepan and some water. Put the water in the saucepan and balance the bowl on top - ensure that it doesn't touch the water, though, and put over medium heat. Once the water is simmering, but not boiling, break your chocolate into the bowl and melt, stirring regularly.
- Let the chocolate cool for a bit while measuring your cream cheese out into a separate bowl.
- Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then fold in the (cool) white chocolate.
- Spoon the topping onto the cupcakes, then put in the fridge for about an hour until set.
© Martin Jonsson
Step 4 - chocolate ganache and decorating
- Melt the chocolate using the same method as above, but add cream to it as well (you can add the cream before the chocolate has melted). Stir the chocolate and cream regularly as the chocolate melts so as to combine the two.
- Once the chocolate has melted and combined with the cream, transfer into a new (cool) bowl and whisk for about 5-10 minutes until smooth, cool, and glossy.
- Pour into a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes to your heart's content.
- Cut/break the cripsy caramelised bacon into whatever shape and size tickles your fancy and get creative. Mine were about 2cm.
Martin Jonsson is a freelance journalist/editor and notorious over-eater.