Monday, September 27, 2010

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Okay, now I've heard many people say, "Chocolate covered bacon! EWE, gross." But I say unless you've tried it, don't diss it. :P Actually I was one of those people not too long ago. A few years ago, while I was watching Breakfast Television, the host back then, Simi Sara had mentioned while on vacation she had eaten the most decadent chocolates with bacon bits inside. I thought EWE but then my hubby said it sounded pretty yummy, salty, sweet, creamy, and chewy. Hmmm, I hate to admit it, but he was right, it didn't seems so bad.

So I purchased some thick slab maple bacon. I panned fried half a batch and baked the other half. Made myself a batch of dark chocolate ganache. And dipped the bacon strips in the ganache.

Just thinking about them now makes me all giddy. They were YUMMY! The panned fried ones were definitely crispier but were a bit messy to deal with since the strips were not nice and flat like the baked one.

I shared them with my sister L and my nephew M who were visiting from San Fran. Unfortunately, L had to leave early for work and had forgotten her stash, so M ate all of them and said they were one of the best things he ever ate.

Flash forward to 2010 (that was in 2008), my other sister B was heading down to San Fran for a wedding, and L said "Bring me some chocolate covered bacon," since she's been thinking about them for the past 2 years! So I hastily made her some. I wasn't impressed with the recent batch since I didn't get a chance to get the thick cut maple, just plain old bacon from the grocery store, but L loved them anyway. Said they were pretty tasty and satisfied all her craving... salty, sweet, creamy, and chewy. :D

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cupcake Experiment

I haven't made cupcakes in a while and have been itching to make some for quite some time. I unfortunately have parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews who all happen to be born around the winter holidays, so around this time I'm desparately begging people for a celebration just so I can make the dessert.

It just so happens that a very close family friend invited us to a farewell dinner for her daughter T who would be returning to Taiwan for work. She's never had my desserts, so yeah me.

I've been wanting to find a new go to white/ vanilla cake recipe. So I searched all recipes for the highest and most rated recipe. I think I have made this one before but don't remember the end results so thought it was worth another try. It was okay, but I don't think I will stop searching since I think even boxed cake mix taste moister (is that grammatically correct? - moister, more moist...) Anyway, I still had some over riped bananas (didn't get to use all of them during the cookie recipe), so I split the cake batter in half and added a mashed banana into it. Not half bad, I actually think it tasted better as a banana cake than a vanilla cake.

Well, to make a long story short. For the vanilla cuppies, I made strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream (with too much fresh strawberry puree, that's why it's a bit splotchy - oops, but oh so tasty) and turned the banana ones into banana split cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, chocolate ganche, chopped toasted walnuts, colored jimmies, and a cherry to top things off.
T thought they were heavenly. Yeah me again! :D

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently picked up a copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies book at Winner's (on sale for $16.99). I love cookbooks like this one. There are photos for every recipe! I do have many cookbooks with little to no pictures, but when that beautiful photograph shows you what you can make with that particular recipe, it's a giant incentive to tackle it.

Anyway, I'm so excited about this book. I want to try each and every recipe. But will have to spread out the recipe testing since hubby and I are on a diet to look fantastic for our trip to Hawaii next year!

But I have to at least try one. So as I'm perusing through the photos, I come across the banana walnut chocolate chunk cookies. I have super ripe bananas that I know I will just toss in the trash since it's too ripe for regular comsumption. Well, why not save those bananas (I paid good money for them), and try this recipe out. :D Wow, it's a banana nut bread and a chocolate chip cookie in one! It's so good.
I did share with my nephews who devoured half a batch in one day, and I hired a personal trainer last week, can you guess who ate the other half? :D
Take care, my friends. I hope you will give this recipe a try.

Recipe for Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
makes about 3 dozen
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar (if bananas are super ripe, can cut a little on the sugar, I used 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks (I used chips)
1/2 cup coarsely shopped toasted walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together both flours (Sifting will not work since you will end up straining the whole wheat - ask me how I know that), salt, and baking soda in a bowl.
2. Put butter and both sugars into a bowl and with mixer on medium speed, beat until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate, and walnuts.
3. Using a spoon, drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks. Let completely cool. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.