“I enjoy having breakfast in bed. I like waking up to the smell of bacon, sue me.
And since I don’t have a butler, I have to do it myself.
So, most nights before I go to bed, I will lay six strips of bacon out on my George Foreman grill.
Then I go to sleep. When I wake up, I plug in the grill. I go back to sleep again.
Then I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon.
It is delicious, it’s good for me, it’s the perfect way to start the day.”
Michael Scott - "The Office"
If Michael Scott were not a fictional character, I'd probably date him. Or at least make out with him just for his bacon. (Listen, buddy, YOU try being divorced and single at my age - let's see where your moral compass lands your judgemental ass, K?)
I've been addicted to the "sweet meat" since I was a kid. (...YIKES...) In short: I love bacon. Everybody who knows me knows this. Within minutes. "Oh Jennifer Eolin? I just met her. Nice girl. Really digs bacon apparently. Kinda weird how often she mentioned it, come to think of it. Actually, I take back the 'nice girl' assessment. She's a hardcore freak show. Has anybody called PETA yet?" (Update: PETA has their version of a SCRAM on my meat drawer in my kitchen to monitor my pork intake... Tee hee!)
So a few weeks ago, I saw a recipe on the Food Network site for Maple French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes. I knew these needed to be made and immediately consumed. But since I do not have a working oven in my apartment (and yes, I've lived here a year - SHUT UP!) I called my friend, Lauren, who not only has a working oven, but expertly knows how to use it. (She also humors my weirdness, so naturally, we're friends.) We decided Thursday, July 23rd was to be BACON CUPCAKE DAY. Squeeee!
I showed up to her place (after sitting in traffic for an hour and a half!) wearing a shirt that would, no doubt, tip Tim Gunn's good fashion sense ass over tea cups:
I'm sure in Tim Gunn's mind the only other faux pas I could have committed was to wear this shirt with leggings. That would have killed him in 2 seconds flat. (PS - Thanks to R.M. for the t-shirt!)
We got right to work (after watching "The Fashion Show" on Bravo for 2 hours). It was immediately obvious that even though I'd had many years of 4-H cooking experience as a child, I was not in my element:
(This picture is brought to you by Swans Down Cake Flour.
When you care enough to bake with the very best...
or at least with the only brand the store carries.)
After some scolding and "I'm going to talk to you like a 2-year-old, Jennifer," lectures from Lauren (all warranted on my part - we'd STILL be whipping the egg whites and sugar had she not intervened) I finally got the hang of it all:
(Dear Julia Childs,
We now come to the part where we need to talk about the batter. Tasting the batter is my favorite part of cooking (or being around people who cook). I love to sample it. It's ALWAYS delish. But look at this mess:
YEECH. The nicest compliment I can give it is, "Well, at least it looks like clean barf." Needless to say, I was obviously a little apprehensive to taste this concoction:
But I decided a positive "yes, and!" attitude was a better idea...
("OMG. This is what heaven tastes like!")
Time to bake!
Now... whilst these little succulent pork puffs roasted, we made the icing. (Okay, we made the icing after consuming a pot roast. I'm not kidding.) The icing... sigh... here's where the endeavor started to falter. The recipe called for an 8 oz. package of cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, confectioners sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon. The consistency was runny and it tasted like a cavity.
I like sweet things (that's what she said!) but I could feel my body making Type II Diabetes as I stood there. Panicked, I screamed: "WHAT DO WE DO NOW?! WE NEED FROSTING!!! LIFE AS I KNOW IT IS OVER!!" Calmly, Lauren, who puts the "rock" in Betty Crocker, pulled out some regular frosting to which we added a little maple syrup and cinnamon to, and the results... Epic win!
(Is there a guild for thumb models?)
Finally, after putting the final touch of bacon bits on the top of our ghetto-recipe-frosting, the cupcakes were ready to eat! (Between watching television and eating a pot roast, this took about 5 hours of our time to do. Shut up! It was fun!)
And the result... AMAZING. Love. Heart. I want to spoon it all night long.
I really can't wait to make these guys again. The sweet and the salt combine together perfectly. The only change we'd make next time is that we'd make them into mini-cupcakes as they are quite rich, and one cupcake could be overwhelming. (I ate 4.)
I'm now excited to try other bacon recipes where bacon plays an unusual role. I can't wait! (I'm gonna need more shirts...)