When I received my March issue of Food Network Magazine, I got really excited to see that it was "The Bacon Issue". I was more intrigued when I saw the feature on the cover that said "Wow! Chocolate-Bacon Cupcakes." In December when I was at the Distillery District Christmas Market, I tried Leonard Pig Candy Chocolate Covered Bacon and I loved it. So I jumped on the idea of making these interesting cupcakes. I adapted the recipe to make to make it gluten free. These are a must try and a crowd pleaser. I served these to a bunch of ladies at a recent vino night and they were a hit (they also couldn't even tell they were GF)!
From Food Network Magazine (March 2014 | Volume 7, No. 2 | p. 132)
For the candied bacon:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
12 slices gluten-free bacon cut in half
For the cupcakes:
1 package of gluten free chocolate cake mix
1 tbsp instant espresso/coffee mix
For the frosting:
1 cup jarred dulce de leche
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sea salt for the topping
1. Make the candied bacon: preheat oven to 350 and set a rack on a foil-lined baking sheet. Whist the brown sugar, sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Toss bacon in the mixture until coated. Arrange bacon on the rack in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes until dark brown. Let cool. Chop the bacon into small pieces.
2. While the bacon cooks, prepare the cupcake batter. Follow the instructions on the gluten free chocolate cake mix and mix in the instant espresso. Alternatively, you may use your own gluten free chocolate cake recipe.
3. Prepare muffin tins with muffin cups. Fill muffin tins with batter until 3/4 is filled. I made mini, bite-sized cupcakes, which made 48. You can make regular sized cupcakes though, or even a cake. Follow the instructions on the box for bake times. Once cooked, remove to a rack and cool completely.
4. To make the frosting: beat the dulce de leche, cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes (or cake). Top with candied bacon and sprinkle with sea salt.
The candied bacon was really delicious. Some parts were chewy, others were crunchy. It was deliciously sweet with a hint of smokiness and salt. I had left over bacon and the next day made a candied bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. It sounds weird, but you can't judge it until you try! Yum! I can't wait to make these again. Thank you Food Network for an amazing recipe that not only tasted beautiful but looked beautiful.