Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cookie Craving. Peanut butter Ginger Bacons.

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Oh yeah. I went there. And they're even dipped in chocolate.

I can't really take FULL credit. The idea came from Joy the Baker when she made her Peanut Butter Bacon cookies a few days ago. It was super easy. Have you ever made 5-ingredient peanut butter cookies? Peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, vanilla. That's it. No flour, so I guess they can even be called "gluten-free." So it's basically that, plus cooked bacon.

Well. Here's my problem. When it comes to baking and recipes, I can't just leave well enough alone. (That's the saying, right?) I have to doctor it up or do something to give it my own twist. Even before I make the original recipe. People yell at me for this. I say "Screw it. I wanna do it this way." It's so much more exciting! So what I did w/ the cookies...

I candied the bacon first. DELICIOUS. If you haven't heard of candied bacon, it's super easy. You basically coat the bacon in brown sugar and bake or broil it. Some people make a glaze. Some people add a spice. Emeril Lagasse does it with brown sugar & cayenne powder. I made a glaze of 2 tbsp honey, 1/2 c brown sugar, & 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger. Then you schmear it on the bacon—I made 10 pieces. My glaze was too thick and I had a ton left, so next time, I'm going to keep the amount of honey & ginger but only do 1/4 c brown sugar. Then you bake it (or broil it). And then you eat it. And it's AMAZING.

So after the bacon cooled down, I chopped it up into bits and pieces, put it in the cookie mixture, folded it in, et voila. Peanut butter bacon cookies. But that wasn't all. I also added 1 tsp of the bacon grease to add a smokey flavor and 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger to the cookie mixture. I'm obsessed w/ fresh ginger. I can't get enough. Its like I was missing it my whole life and only within recent started integrating it into sweets. There were some doubts, but you know what I say? Y'ALL. TRUST ME. Just trust me on these things. The peanut butter + ginger? It's good. It was a good idea. It's your prerogative not to like it, but just give it a whirl before you go hate on it. Thank you. :)

Alright. After all that, roll it up, dip them in sugar, press some fork criss-cross patterns into them if you like, and pop it in the oven at 350 until they're lovely golden brown & delicious. Probably 8-10 minutes. My oven's a bit psychotic so I can't accurately gauge timing (that story will be another day).

After they've baked and cooled, melt some chocolate w/ some paraffin wax. Dip an edge of the cookies in the chocolate, set them aside and let them cool yet again. I put them in the fridge so the chocolate would set better.

In the end, I think candying the bacon actually toned down the bacon flavor, which made them more versitle. Not everyone loves the idea of bacon in their baked goods but the bacon flavor in these was subtle, even while biting into actual bacon pieces.

So yeah. That's it. I shouldn't say "that's it" b/c it's more involved than I expected, but still easy! What's not to love about a peanut butter cookie dipped in chocolate? AND THEN BACON???? The intrigue level is HIGH. "Say what?? Bacon? For real?" Yes, for real. Plus, you can pass them off as "high-protein cookies" if anyone needs extra convincing. :-)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Adventures in Cake Balls

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What's this, you ask? It's a cake ball! It's cake, frosting, & chocolate all wrapped up into a cute little bon-bon type treat. AND... they're called "cake balls." Let's face it. Saying the word "balls" is funny. (Yeah, you know what I'm talking about!) I'm normally not one to love fifth-grade humor, but even I get a secret chuckle out of saying "cake balls" to people. When they ask "What are these?" and you cheerfully reply "Cake balls!" with a toothy grin, they smile back, giggle like a 10 year old and say "CAKE BALLS?!?" b/c 1) they look super cute--how could you not love them? and 2)...they're laughing b/c you just said "balls." It's fun. Try it. But anyway, I digress. On to the point.

The inside is chocolate cake mixed w/ salted caramel frosting, actual salted caramel, cream cheese, & cinnamon. Then it's dipped in milk chocolate and topped w/ salt & roasted pecans. This was the first cake ball making adventure. I had a batch of chocolate cupcakes that didn't turn out quite right a few evenings ago. They tasted absolutely fine! But I must've been rushing through the motions and not put the right amount of baking powder or something in the mix b/c they just would not hold together. I'd unwrap them, and they'd crumble. Again, they tasted fine! So I really didn't want to toss the 36 bunk cupcakes that I now had sitting around b/c that's some expensive ingredients to just toss, you know? So now what??? How about some cake balls!

Have you heard of cake balls? If not, check out Bakerella. She's got a bunch of ideas. The link will lead you to her "cake ball" section, but she also has some tasty looking cake pops (basically the same thing but in a slightly different form). If you Google a recipe, the basic ones will tell you that it's a sheet cake (baked) crumbled up and mixed w/ a can of frosting, rolled into balls, chilled, and then dipped in chocolate. Since I make all my own goods here at the Sugarlush kitchen, I use my gourmet frostings & other ingredients to enhance the deliciousness of each tasty morsel. It's totally worth it.

Before I leave you, might I recommend a glass of milk to go along with the tasty bites! They're delicious, but SUPER RICH. So maybe even an ideal diet dessert, right?!?! It's by no means low-fat, but you eat just one and you're satisfied! It's a good theory, anyway. ;-)
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