Irish Cream Cupcakes with Coffee Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Woah.

Woah.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!! I love, love, love this holiday.  Everyone is Happy-Go-Lucky, on the hunt for green beer, Lucky Charms, and classic corned beef and cabbage.  Not to mention, this year it coincides with March Madness which is doubly fun!  My class this afternoon put me up to the challenge to bring them a tasty treat, and I gladly obliged.

I knew I wanted something that fully takes on the spirit of the holiday – and what says that more than Lucky Charms and Baileys?  Plus Coffee!?  Sign me right up.  I’m pumped about how these turned out.  A little bit about the recipe….apple sauce?  In cupcakes?  It’s delish – and it adds such moisture to the cupcakes!  I love how they smelled like Baileys when I took them out of the oven!  And the coffee buttercream exceeded expectations!

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Bacon Bourbon Jam and Baked Brie

The only picture I could capture before people started digging in!

The only picture I could capture before people started digging in!

Back in college, I had three main food groups – Eggo (waffles), Choco(late) , and Baco(n).  Let’s be clear…I was NOT a good cook in college.  My life’s motto was, “How is Maddy going to use her toaster oven today?”, which resulted in a lot of quesadillas, broiled hot dogs, dino nuggets, and Eggo waffles.  It was by FAR my favorite kitchen appliance.

Now, I occasionally eat weird foodie whole grain waffles with fruit, antioxidant-filled dark chocolate, and last, but most certainly not least, a lot of bacon.  Good ol’, thick cut, salty, fatty bacon.  Balance, right?  Or something like that…

So, when I was brainstorming potential burger toppings, I wanted to try and make homemade bacon jam.  I’ve seen it on charcuterie boards in restaurants and thought it couldn’t be THAT hard, so I went at it!  The process took a while, but it was incredibly rewarding.  What resulted was this delicious, savory jam that I couldn’t wait to try on everything.  We ate it on burgers that night which was DELISH – and I had some leftover and my mind started turning for the perfect appetizer combination that would wow a crowd.  Bacon and Brie!  Classic combination!

I used a variation of this recipe to create the jam.  Check it out below and let me know what you all think!

Bacon Bourbon Jam and Baked Brie
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 appetizer servings
 
This bacon jam and baked brie will definitely impress a crowd! The jam will keep for some time in your fridge, so you can make ahead of time and quickly assemble this appetizer.
Ingredients
For the Bacon Jam:
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dry thyme
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium wheel of brie
  • 1 sleeve of savory crackers (I chose cracked pepper flavor)
Instructions
  1. Using a cast iron pan, cook the bacon strips until crispy, then set aside. You may need to do this in 2-3 sets because you don't want to overcrowd the pan.
  2. Drain excess bacon grease into a bowl.
  3. Chop your bacon into small pieces.
  4. Put two tsp. of bacon grease back into pan and add butter. Saute onions over medium heat until translucent - about 7 minutes.
  5. Add salt, thyme, brown sugar, sherry vinegar, bourbon, pepper, and cayenne pepper to pan and stir until combined.
  6. Add water and bacon. Stir consistently until mixture results in a "jammy" texture and a red/brown color - about 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  8. To heat the brie: Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for about 8-10 minutes (around 375 degrees). Preheat jam before serving. You'll have plenty of extra jam with this recipe.
  9. Serve with crackers and enjoy!

 

 

Treat Yo’ Self: The Breakfast Sandwich

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I had to redeem myself this morning after a complete *kitchen FAIL* last night.  I was prepared to make a zucc-noodle+cherry tomatoes+feta+WINE dish for you all, which I whipped up recently and L-O-V-E-D.  But.  Alas.  I had no lemons to add some zest.  I accidentally used smoked paprika instead of regular to recreate my Cajun Seared Salmon.  I put too much oil in the pan and – I kid you not – when I dropped the salmon in, I sprayed hot-paprika-oil all over my beautiful white Michigan shirt and my NECK.  Causing me to burn not only my neck, but the SALMON because I couldn’t flip it in time with the pure CHAOS in the kitchen.  Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night finishing the bottle of wine and licking my wounds.

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AnyHOO.  I woke up this morning and needed a rejuvenation.  A confidence boost.  I went with what I know – the best BFast Sammies in the land.  And darn-it-all, these ARE the best BFast Sammies ever!!!  I do declare.

There’s something magical about oozy yolk and crispy bacon and creamy avocado all combined into one delicious bite.  There’s also something magical about eating a breakfast that is not certified dairy-free, butter-free, cheesy-free, grease-free.  OH and the SPINACH.  I’m not one to just *throw in some spinach!* because I think breakfast should be largely vegetable-free.  But the additional flavor is BOMB DIGGITY and I implore you not to skimp on the spin’ spin’ because it MAKES or BREAKS this sammie.

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So, HUZZAH.  Valentine’s Day is on a lazy, brunchy, Sunday morning this year.  Perfect excuse to whip these up, turn on some superhero movie and just laze away the day.  PS – a mimosa on the side would be perfect.  But, I made these on a weekday morning and let’s be honest, that’s not entirely appropriate to *kick off my Thursday!* with a little mimosa.  So I shall live vicariously through you all when you add some bubbly to your Sunday morning!

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The Breakfast Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 sandwiches
 
This classic breakfast sandwich is a real crowd pleaser and perfect for breakfast in bed!
Ingredients
  • 2 english muffins, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese - cheddar is best
  • 4 slices bacon
  • ½ avocado, sliced thin
Instructions
  1. Cook your bacon until crispy. If you've got a large crowd, I find it easiest to make the bacon in the oven (375 degrees, about 20 minutes). Set on paper towel to absorb excess grease.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add spinach and toss to coat with the olive oil. Sauté until wilted and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan.
  3. In the same pan, fry the eggs over-easy, adding cheese at the end. Cover pan to better melt the cheese.
  4. Toast the english muffins and add the butter immediately after for supreme melting.
  5. Assemble sandwiches - 2 slices of bacon, spinach, ¼ avocado, egg and cheese. Enjoy!