Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate Covered Bacon

I bet you would not know there was bacon in there if I had not told you!
  I can hear my arteries clogging as I type. I know it sort of sounds gross, and it also sort of sounds wrong. But trust me, if you try it you will understand. Also as this will most likely be my last post this year, I hope that you make a resolution with me to try new and crazy things.  Even if it is just bacon, try it!

  I first heard about chocolate covered bacon on some food show. Not sure if it was one of those "Look at the crazy fair food we tried" or what but I saw it and wanted it.

  As with many things I want, I don't get them. Do you know how hard it is to find chocolate covered bacon? Well maybe it is easier now, but a few years ago it was not. I think I finally found it at this super expensive grocery store, that is owned my Mark McEwan. I'm not sure if he is big all over, but here in Toronto he is huge. He even has a restaurant near my work.

  Anyway Hubby and I were at this store and we were both like kids in a candy store. I know, bad analogy for this, but you know what I am saying. But most of the stuff was so costly, we ended up with some drinks, a few yogurts and a bar of chocolate covered bacon. The bar cost almost $10. The price wasn't listed, and you know if you have to ask..... And I didn't want to look as poor as we are, I wanted to buy my chocolate covered hog with dignity. I think it worked.

Yes that is a plate of bacon, there is nothing else I can say about that.
   Anyway I ate that bar nice and slow, only because I was less than a year out from my gastric bypass and you are not supposed to have sugar. I know myself better now, and usually know how much I can have. Even when I shouldn't have any, but you know a little won't kill me.  I really don't eat as much as I say I do here, to me eating a lot is a whole cookie, so I am being good. Anyway that bar, it was awesome. My kid, "pork chop" ( A whole blog post of it's own) as I call him, liked it. I was upset, I wanted it all for me. So I told him it was all gone, you know, just to make sure he did not get into a bad habit of wanting chocolate with his bacon.

  So I loved it, and wanted more, but how can you justify that much money? I sure couldn't. We even found some in the Florida airport, small bars, I bought like 8. The lady said "so, I guess you like those eh?" She may or may not have been judging me, I choose to think she just didn't understand the Canadian bacon thing. You know, we have our own bacon here, so I just let her ring me up and walked away. No use in explaining it to her, she would have been embarrassed.

This whole box costs about $4 so not nearly as much as the whole bacon bar at the store cost me.
  So I thought of some fast things to make with my little man at home before the holidays and this was one of them. I asked him if he would like to make chocolate covered bacon and he gave me the look, you know, the one where they think you are the best mom ever? Yeah it didn't last, but I had my moment.

  As it turns out, X box was more important than bacon to him this time, which is fine, more for me.

I didn't measure the chocolate, just sort of guessed.
  So I started with a box of pre cooked bacon. I did not want to spend the time to fry up a whole bunch of bacon, making the house smell like a diner. Exspecially since I had cakes to bake too. So I microwaved the whole pack on paper towels and got it nice and crispy. I then used my mini food processor to grind it up, I left some larger bits, but mostly it was chopped up.

It looks so wrong, but trust me it is good, really good.
  I then melted candy melts, because it's what I had and they set up so nicely. I mixed it all together and put it into a disposable pipping bag and filled up my silicone mold. I think next time I will use a thinner mold, or do them less full. These are some thick chocolates. But man are they good.
It looks sort of gross, and lumpy but that is just all the bacony goodness.
  So once my mold was filled I put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, then popped out my bacon chocolates.

  I was happy with how they turned out, not as good as the $10 bar, but not bad at all. I plan to share some of it, and see if I can convert some of my friends to my dark weird ways.

 Give it a try, it is a neat experience.

You can sort of see the bacon chunks in there.  I know, not too appealing to look at.

I've also joined the Overflowing with Creativity Blog hop, come check it out!

It's Overflowing

I am also linking up with Sweet Temptations!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Baileys Bunt Cake

I think it looks good, maybe not the greatest pic, but still yummy.

  Oh I had such big plans for this holiday,  I was going to decorate, bake some more cookies and make an amazing Christmas day desert.  Well I got the cake done, and without Hubby's help, so I did one thing.  I know it's the little things. That pesky hospital stay really got in my way.

  Anyway before the holidays I was checking out blogs like I always do and I ran across this on a bakers blog and I was so excited. For many reasons.  Firstly my mother in law doesn't like anything too sweet, secondly it had to be easy and thirdly it had to have chocolate in it.  So this covered all the bases.  I planned to make it and keep the icing on the side so if my mother in law didn't want any it would be all good.

  So I had emailed Hubby and he was all, that looks perfect.  Then when I was asking him to help he noticed it was made with a cake mix.  He made some comment about making something else, so I said I would do it alone.  He is very anti cake mix, another thing to put on the negative list for him! ( the list is getting long LOL.)

  So following the recipe that was on the blog I whipped this together really quickly.  I would have loved to make this with mini bunt pans, but I am not buying any more pans. But I did get like four more new different ones for Christmas so, you know unless I see them on super sale on boxing day, I am NOT getting any more.

This is all you need, and a bit of water.

Baileys Bunt Cake
From Suzie Homecaker

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes

1 yellow boxed cake mix
1 box of instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
3/4 cups of oil
1/8 cup ( or 2 TBSP) water
1/4 cup of vodka
3/8 cups (or 6 TBSP) of Baileys

Icing sugar and Baileys to make as much as you want, and as thick as you want.

So I probably made it more complicated than it had to be, but you know, some times I do that.

I first put the cake mix and pudding mix in a bowl and mixed it together, just to ensure that it was mixed before I added the liquid.

I then measured all the wet ingredients together and added them into the dry mix all at once.  I did this because I have found when I use instant pudding in a cake, it thickens really quickly so I wanted to do it fast.
My pan all ready, the dry ingredients and the wet all set!

Once it was all mixed together it got really thick, I then put it in my buttered and floured bunt pan.  I put it in the oven in the middle and left it for 39 minutes, I tested it with a wooden skewer and when it came out clean I knew it was done.  
I am so happy that it came out so nice, I have never done a bunt cake before, I think.

I found it really puffed up, and I could have trimmed the bottom when I was done, but you know I was not really concerned with how amazing it looked as I was in getting it done.  So I put it on a cake carrier plate, and then made the glaze.

I just put icing sugar in a large measuring glass cup and mixed it with Baileys until it was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon thickly.  I then poured the glaze over 3/4 of the cake and then put the cover on and put it in the cold basement until we were ready.  I had extra glaze just in case anyone wanted more.  
I left a bit without glaze so that my mother in law can have it less sweet.

I think it turned out really great, and I cannot wait to find a mini bunt pan, you know if they have them on sale.   I also don't know if the glaze soaked into the cake a bit, making it moister, but you know, it was all good.
All ready to eat.
 Just a small update before I go, this was the best cake ever.  Moist and dense and so flavourful.  I do think if I make it again I would use half cream and the other half Baileys in the glaze, as it was strong enough to make me feel it.  And I am not one to use only a little glaze, so just keep that in mind.  I now want to make cupcakes with this and my Baileys cream cheese icing.  Oh goodness, the new years is not going to be a light one for me.

I also linked up with A well seasoned Life, check out some of the great bloggers!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Oreo Bark and My Hospital stay

See how cute they turned out?  Keep reading and you will be surprised that  they did.  I sure was.
  So I had this post all ready to go earlier in the week, I actually have a whole bunch ready.  But then Wednesday at work I got sick and had to go to the hospital.  I just got home, and I am trying to get something in my tummy before I have a shower, oh how I missed my shower. So I thought I would pop on and let you all know my exciting news.  I had a bowel twist or obstruction, we are not 100% sure.  Now part of me thinks I must have the worst luck in the world.  The other part of me is just happy I did not end up needing surgery and I am going to be home for the holidays.  We were not sure what was going to happen.  All I know is the pain was worse than labour and I didn't get a cute baby at the end.  Oh well.  So at least I have my posts all lined up to go so I can put them up and relax and try to enjoy the fact I am home.  I had plans to make a desert for Christmas diner and share that night, because it looks so good.  It may not happen, we will see if I can talk Hubby into making it and I can take credit for it, unless he screws it up more than I would, then I am totally telling you all he made it.

  So please have a great holiday and I will be on over my days off, what else is a girl to do when she has to rest right?  Now please enjoy my pre written post on the joys of screwing up your holiday baking.

  I have been seeing chocolate bark on the blogs I visit for a long time now.  I loved the idea of it, but did not like the look of the large chunky pieces.  I like small and uniform and the stuff I saw was not small, or uniform.  Now to tell you that I now understand why they make bark the way they do, well lets just say I had an A Ha moment.

  I decided that for the holidays I would make Oreo bark in my silicone gingerbread man mold.  Firstly I am happy how it turned out, but I will definitely change how I do it next time. Secondly there must be someone watching out for me, because I was so close to just tossing it all out. It would have been a big waste of chocolate and time.  And you can never get that chocolate back.  The time, well not so important.

Oreo Bark

-1 bag of Oreos ( I used double stuffed)
-white and milk chocolate candy melts, about 3 cups
My nice set up, before I almost tore my hair out.

  So I put the Oreos in a plastic bag and smashed them with a meat tenderizer.  First mistake, they got all gloppy, maybe because they were double stuffed but I had a hard time getting them out of the bag.  Also the pieces were still so big it was hard to get into the mold.  So next time I use a food processor to get it done.
At least I got to get some frustrations out.
See more smooshy than crushed.

I then melted my white melts ( you can do either first, just do whichever kind you want on the top of your bark first)  I then mixed in half of the crushed Oreos and mixed them together.
Oh well, it was too late now, so I just stirred it all together.
Now looking at this you would think it would be okay.  And  you would be wrong, it was far from okay.

  I then put them in a disposable piping bag, you can always use a zip lock bag, but we don't have zip lock bags big enough in this house for some reason.  I then cut off the end and piped the filling into my mold.  Here is where the frustration began.  The Oreos were so big they clogged up the piping bag and they would not fit perfectly into the mold.  So I was frustrated, may have said some bad words.  I may have had to tell my son that I did not just say what he thought I said.  And I may have wanted to toss it out the window. 

  So I filled them as best I could and tapped the mold on the table to get the chocolate to settle. Then I put it in the fridge while I got the other layer ready.  I started by going back and bashed the remaining Oreos some more, still it did no good.  I mixed the remaining Oreo's into the melted milk chocolate candy melts and put it in a new disposable piping bag.  Again my bag got all clumpy and I ended up using a pallet knife to try and get the filling nice and level.  It didn't work, and the backs looked horrible and I thought  I was going to cry.  I did have a little extra chocolate left over and made a small puddle of traditional bark on a plate.  Can I just say how easy it was?  Well I am an idiot and that is all I have to say about that.  And I did not have enough milk chocolate so I just left a few men with one layer, I was not going to do any more, I was so done with this.

Redemption!  Cutest bark ever!

  I know right!  All that trouble and cursing and what not and they worked out.  Only next time I will blend those Oreos to smithereens, and we will all be happy.

  I did end up eating the extra puddle of bark but you know what, my gingerbread men look so cute! And if you wanted you could even decorate them with sprinkles, but I was too frustrated and had eaten too much bark to care by that point.

  Oh boy am I glad the holidays are almost over.

  And can I just say this is the reason I hate trying new things, if they don't work out exactly like I plan I may end up hurting someone.  And Hubby thinks that him losing a body part is not worth the cookies, chocolate or whatever.  But he is a wimp, so I don't really listen to him anyway.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mini Mudslide Whoopie's

A whole bunch of yummy!
 Okay people, these are going to be good.  I made Mudslide cupcakes in a jar last month.  And I had a bunch of left over frosting.  Now I had planned on eating it, with a spoon, right out of the freezer. Yeah I admit I have problems.  Anyway, as with many of my plans, it did not come to be.  So I decided to pull it out of the freezer and use it again.  Only because it was like frosting gold, and I like gold.  And Diamonds. 

  Anyway.  The last time I made whoopies I really loved them, but they were a little too big, and a little too good.  I think I ate one and went into a sugar coma. Not good, not good at all.  So this time I made them smaller. I used my cake ball sized cookie scoop to make them, and they turned out a better size.  Still big enough to fill you with sugar, but not big enough to make you pass out.  I hope.

I used my small cake ball scoop, they are about 1 - 2 TSP.
  So I used a whoopie recipe from the great whoopie book I bought and changed it up a little.  I wanted to add some smashed up whoppers, because that is what they needed.  So I followed the recipe and replaced the chocolate chips with my whoppers and baked away.
They flatten out as they bake, to about the size of an Oreo, maybe just a little bigger.

 Mini Mudslide Whoopie's
Makes 34 minis
Adapted from Susanna Tee's book, Whoopies

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 extra large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup smashed whoppers ( or chocolate chips as the recipe calls for in the book)

-Heat oven to 375 ( 350 if you are using a convection oven)
-cream butter, and sugar together
-add the egg and vanilla
-sift together all dry ingredients and mix in
-slowly add the milk and mix until combined
-add whoppers or chocolate chips and mix
-scoop out with small ice cream scoop, or use a teaspoon to make drops of dough
-bake for about 6 minutes, until they are fully baked, the best way to tell is if the shine is gone from the dough, they puff up and become matte
-remove from tray after 2 minutes so they do not continue to bake

*make sure you use parchment paper if you are using the whoppers as they sort of caramelize and stick a bit, trust me it was a little tricky getting them off the paper, so I can only imagine the cookie sheet.

Frosting ( I had left overs from before)
1 package of cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
icing sugar*
1 TBSP vanilla bean paste or just vanilla
milk or Irish cream or half of each **
Irish cream flavouring to taste (if you are not using the real stuff, and if so replace the booze with milk)

*as much as you need to get the amount and consistency you need
** same as the icing sugar as much as you need

 For the icing, just cream the butter and cream cheese, then add the vanilla and alternate between Irish cream and icing sugar until it is as thick as you want and you have as much as you need.  I think about 1 TBSP is good for each whoopie, but I pipped mine so I bet I used more.  The icing freezes well.  And tastes great eaten on a spoon, right out of the freezer, or so I have been told.

I put them together on a cookie sheet so I could just put the whole thing in the freezer.
 So once your mini whoopies are cooled, line then up in two rows, one row tops the other row bottoms. The bottoms should be flat side up.  Then take your icing in a piping bag, with a larger round tip ( or you can use a zip lock bag and snip the tip off) and pipe a flat layer of icing.  You can do a lot or a little.  It's up to you.  I did it thinner, because I had plans for these whoopies. Plans that even you will not want to miss.
See how easy is that?
I was going to put crushed whoppers on top, but I found these, and for $5 a bag, they were only going to be  garnish.
  Okay so once you pipe the filling, put the tops on and push them down a little so they stick.  Now while I got cleared up and ready for the next step I popped them in the freezer to harden up.  I then got a large bowl and melted some candy melts and added paraffin crystals.  I used milk chocolate, but you could do any colour, Christmas colours would be really cool actually.  Why do I think of these things after the fact?
I set up with two forks to dip, as the pies were big, I would dip then pick it up with a fork, and tap the extra chocolate off on the side of the bowl.

So I melted my candy and added the crystals ( or shortening if you want) to thin it out, I did not want too thick of a coating on my pies.  And then, here it is people, I dipped those whoopies in chocolate.

Take a minute to let that sink in.

Mudslide Whoopie Pies. Dipped. In. CHOCOLATE!  Sorry, didn't mean to scream, but people, seriously?  This is good stuff.
I have nothing to say, really, it's just chocolaty goodness.
So after you have a heart attack over the shear genius of what you are doing, sprinkle a little smashed up whopper, or sprinkles or whatever on each one and call it a day.  Or just wait until they dry

This was supposed to be my artistic shot, and it looked good on the camera, then I uploaded it.  Sigh, I hate my pictures.

Now that is what I am talking about, layers of yummy goodness.
I found these little cards in the Michael's $1.50 spot last year, perfect.
So I put three in a bag for my friends at work, and some in a container for the group of guys that get some too.  All done!
 Once they are dried you can either eat them, which I suggest.  Or you can wrap them up with cute little cards and be happy your holiday baking is almost done.

And just as a disclaimer, I ate one, then wrapped the rest up, then I had to fight the urge to open a few bags and take more out for me.  They were that good.  At least I managed to eat only one, and didn't get sugar sick.  Go me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cake Pop Trees, and Give Away Winners

A different colour for the holidays.

  So first of all I want to thank those of you who entered my first give away. I was so excited about this and I hope that if nothing else you all got a few ideas for your baking at home.

  I am going to start this post off with a little tutorial using an item from my next give away. I wanted to showcase another of My Little Cupcake products. I ordered the new three molds and thought that the best way to get you all excited about them and the next giveaway would be to show you an example. I decided that since it is almost Christmas I would try out the obvious shape, the cone.

 So with the cone shape, just like the cupcake shape, you fill the mold, close it up, then take out your perfectly shaped cake pop. It is so easy, and seriously I cannot tell you how much time it saves, and it ensures every pop is the same size. Love it.
They may not look great now, but just you wait.

  So I was inspired by some cookies Lila Lola made. She made some really pretty pink and silver Christmas trees. I loved them, I like unusual colours for the holidays. And it was just perfect because I was making some pink cake balls for a friends little girl. I think it was fate I did not have a girl, my house would be pink and purple, and my manly Hubby would have had to live outside. Maybe I should have another one, you know, whole bed to myself if Hubby is outside. It's just a thought.

  Anyway once my cones were shaped I put them in the fridge until the next day. Once I was ready I melted my candy melts, and coloured them pink with candy colouring from Americolor. I then did my first coating of chocolate. I always double dip my cake pops when using coloured or white melts, because mine crack and it ensured that the cake pop filling does not show through.
Lolli pop sticks in and ready to dip.

Doing the first dip.

Let the extra chocolate drip off.

Standing to dry, and don't worry about how they look, you cover them up with the second dip anyway.

 Once they were dipped I let them dry and come to room temperature. While they were drying I got myself a large bowl to catch any sprinkles, a paint brush to make texture, tweezers and any sprinkles I might need.

  Now for the first one I wanted it to look all sparkly, like it was covered in snow. So I took the cake pop and dipped it again, tapping the stick on the side of the bowl to make any extra chocolate fall off, and then I sprinkled pink sanding sugar all over to cover it. Then because it was so girly I put a pink heart sprinkle on top. So cute.
I use a spoon to sprinkle the sugar all over.
It could also be a love tree, they have those right?  Well I think they do, and if not, they should.

  The others I wanted to make more realistic. Well as realistic as a pink tree can be you know? I dipped the cake pop again and tapped off the extra a little bit. Then as it started to dry I dabbed at it with a food only paint brush while constantly turning the pop and continued doing this until the chocolate was setting in peaks. Once done I took a toothpick and dotted on chocolate and stuck my sprinkles on. I think they turned out really cute.
If there were pink threes they would look like this.
Bad picture, sorry.
Another picture of the love tree.

  I was really happy with how these turned out, so easy to shape and dip. And they are the perfect size. And this mold is just one of the four that is in the set I plan to give away sometime in the new year. So please check back. If you become a follower you will be sure to see it when I set it up.
First place prize!

  Okay so now on to the give away from this week. The prize was one of two super cute cupcake pop molds. So seeing as this was my first give away I was a little surprised with what I had to work with. I totally forgot that not everyone that commented would qualify or that when I commented I would count in the total. So what I did was start at the top of the comments and worked my way down counting all the comments that qualified. To qualify all the comments had to have was the answer to the skill testing question which was 8+12=?. I did that because from what I read on line to give a prize in Canada you have to have a skill testing question.

  So I counted all of them up and there were 10 total, which gives really great odds.  So this is my first time using  I know that some people are able to show the pictures of the draw, but I tried and was not able to.  I hope that I can figure that out, and if you know I would really appreciate it.  Again I wanted to say thanks to all the people that entered, and by working from the top down the two numbers picked were 9 which was Jasmine and number 7 which was Tam.  Jasmine I have emailed you, and Tam I do not have your email, I will post a comment on your blog to ask you to contact me.

The Winners are Jasmine and Tam!

 So again thanks all for reading and thanks to My Little Cupcake for supplying one of the cute molds.