I can add this to a list of things I did not know. When this Challenge came up I thought… boring!!! Meat and cheese arranged on a board is not cooking. Clearly I was confused with what a charcuterie board is verses what charcuterie actually means. For those of you who are as clueless as me ( I may possibly be the only one), charcuterie is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork. All I needed to read was bacon and I was on board.
Most of us buy our bacon, ham and sausage already prepared at the store. Not a lot of us have the time to cure or smoke our own meats. We think we don’t anyway, but it in reality the process of making your own bacon is not as complicated as you would think. Now finding pork belly at a grocery store is more complicated than you would think. Or it was for me. I called 6 different stores in the area until I found one that could order some. When I called to see if my pork belly came in they had forgot to place the order. At this point I was thinking it was impossible to get any around here. In my last final attempt Albertsons came through!
I brought my ginormous 5 pound slab home, trimmed it and removed the skin (harder than I thought it would be). Mixed my cure in a bowl and began coating it on both sides evenly. Placed it in a glass dish uncovered and placed it in my fridge to start its 7 day process of turning into bacon. After the first day the liquid starts collecting at the bottom of your dish to make a brine for it to soak in. I added a couple drops of liquid smoke for flavor. After 6 days I sliced it up into bacon strips divided it up into baggies and threw it in my freezer.
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup sea salt
2 drops liquid hickory smoke
Now that I have all this bacon I decided to make some candied maple bacon that will be in and on top of my maple bacon cupcakes. I know, its almost to much to handle right?!
For the bacon I preheated my oven to 350, dipped my bacon slices into maple syrup with a little water added to it and then coated them with brown sugar. Laid them out on a lined cookie sheet and baked them until they were nice and crispy. Not burnt though. The time depends on the thickness of your bacon.
Maple Candied Bacon Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
10 slices bacon
I decided to use the recipe in my I Love Bacon book for the cupcakes with a little adjustment here and there.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
2 2/3 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons candied bacon pieces
Maple Buttercream Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
6 slices candies bacon, 1 inch chunks and crumble pieces
1. In a stand mixer combine butter and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth.
2. Add in 4 eggs and combine.
3. Add vanilla bean paste and baking powder. Combine.
4. Then add flour and milk alternating a little at a time until everything is combined. Set aside.
5. In another bowl beat egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form, making a meringue.
6. Combine the meringue with the batter until it is completely incorporated.
7. Preheat oven to 350.
8. Line cupcake tins and fill 3/4 full.
9. Bake until slightly brown on top and cooked all the way through. Set aside and let cool.
10. While it’s cooling whip butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar until light and fluffy for frosting.
11. Pipe frosting on top of cupcakes and add crumbled candied bacon pieces on top and a chunk of bacon for decoration.