Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Chocolate? Check. Caramel? Check. Bacon? Check. Delicious? Definitely.

I have had these cupcakes bookmarked FOREVER. Literally, they’ve had a star in my Google Reader for a very long time. I even included them in my Top Ten list back in June of 2009. It took me forever to make them and I’m very glad I did.

I made these for our friend’s annual Pirate Party. The bacon provided a salty and smokiness to the cupcakes that balanced the sweetness nicely. And this caramel frosting is my new favorite. It’s awesome. Hubby thoroughly enjoyed licking the beaters and bowl after I made the frosting.

This chocolate cupcakes recipe wasn’t my favorite. I overfilled mine a little bit and the top of the cupcakes looked almost like meringue after they baked. It was also a little flaky and crispy similar to a meringue. I think not overfilling these would have helped that issue, but if I made these again, I might just use a different chocolate cupcake recipe and add bacon to it.

One Year Ago: Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies and Overnight French Toast
Two Years Ago: Raspberry Meringue Cookies

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Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Yield: 24

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
200 grams of dark chocolate, chopped
3 sticks butter (340 g), at room temperature
2-1/4 cups sugar (250 g)
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour (165 g)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (23 g)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 pound uncooked bacon

For the Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 1/4 cups sugar (250 g), separated in half (1/2 c + 2 Tbsp per half, or 125 g)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 large egg whites or enough powdered egg whites and water
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

For the Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

Cook the bacon until crispy. Chop the bacon into very small pieces and set aside.

Place chocolate and butter in a metal bowl and put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until everything is melted.

Remove the bowl from the water and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside.

When the chocolate mixture is cool, beat with an electric mixer or your stand mixer for 3 minutes. The mixture will get just a tad thicker.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each one. After two or three eggs, the mixture will start to get thicker and shinier.

Once all the eggs are incorporated, add the dry ingredients. Mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Add the bacon and fold it in with a spatula.

Scoop the batter into cupcake cups until 1/2 to 2/3 full.

Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing to a cooling rack.

For the Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Make the caramel
Place half of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. Let the syrup come to a boil, washing down the sides with a wet pastry brush if necessary to prevent crystals from forming.
Boil the syrup, swirling occasionally, until it changes color to dark amber (~340° on a candy thermometer).

Immediately remove from the heat (the sugar will burn if it gets to 350°). Carefully add the cream, standing away from the pan since the mixture will bubble a lot. Stir the caramel until smooth and transfer to a heatproof bowl to cool. (I actually put the bowl into an ice bath, stirring occasionally, to help it cool faster.)

While the caramel cools, place the rest of the sugar, the egg whites and the salt in the metal bowl of a standing mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water. Whisk continuously until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 140° Fahrenheit.

Fit the standing mixer with the whisk attachment and put the bowl in place. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it is stiff.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and begin adding the butter, a tablespoon or two at a time. Beat until the butter is no longer visible, and add in more, until it is all added. At some point it will look curdled and broken, but just keep on beating and beating until it gets smooth again. This could take a few minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment and add the caramel and vanilla extract. Beat on low until combined and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

At this point you can frost your cupcakes, or you can refrigerate the buttercream for up to 2 days. When you want to use it, take it out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, about an hour. Rebeat in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Recipe as seen on Scrumptious Photography, cupcakes originally from Chockylit, frosting originally from Martha Stewart

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17 Responses to “M&M Cookies to Celebrate Valentine’s Day”

  1. #
    1
    Carrie — February 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I love freezing dough but somehow most ends up in my tummy unbaked when I do that 🙂

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    2
    oneordinaryday — February 12, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    What a great gift! I’m thinking that would be wonderful for all sorts of occasions. Thanks for the idea!

  3. #
    3
    Carly — February 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    These are adorable and I love that idea! Two questions, though: 1) Were these as good as the cookies from the other recipes? and 2) When you freeze them, do you bake right from frozen?

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    4
    Jen — February 12, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Great questions Carly – As far as comparing them to the other cookies. I enjoyed the chocolate M&M cookies the best, but they were REALLY chocolatey. The other non-chocolate M&M cookies were a bit more chewy and they had nuts in them, so they had a different vibe. This recipe was more of a classic M&M cookie for sure.

    As far as baking from frozen, you can def just go straight from freezer to oven. Bake them ~13 minutes instead of ~11 and take them out when they look done.

  5. #
    5
    Cara — February 12, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    these were delicious!

  6. #
    6
    stephchows — February 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    they look so cute all frozen up 🙂

  7. #
    7
    Leanne — February 12, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I love the pink and red M&Ms. Thanks for the idea of freezing the cookie dough.

  8. #
    8
    Memória — February 12, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I was going to ask you the same thing as Carly, well the first question. These cookies are cute. Your freezing method reminded me that I have a bunch of sugar cookies still in the freezer! Do you know how long cookies can stay in the freezer?

  9. #
    9
    Jen — February 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I don’t know how long they will last in the freezer. I have a tendency to forget about things in my freezer… I’d guess a couple months? Anyone have ideas?

  10. #
    10
    nutmegnanny — February 12, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    What festive little cookies 🙂 I love them! I also like the fact that you froze them. I bet they were delicious. Make sure to enter the All Through the Year Cheer event for Valentine’s Day 🙂

  11. #
    11
    Julie — February 13, 2010 at 4:49 am

    I think that sounds like a great way to spend valentine’s day. It can be intimidating the way it’s so hyped up. The cookies look very festive, love ’em!

  12. #
    12
    Vivian - Let's Try These... — February 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    We don’t do “valentine’s day” either since my MIL was born on the 14th and daughter’s birthday is the 15th – besides, its more important to say you love someone everyday, not just one day out of the year. Love the idea about freezing the cookie dough in preshaped form and giving that away. Wonderful idea!

  13. #
    13
    Deborah Dowd — February 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I am looking for cookies that travel well for my soldier adopted through Soldier’s Angels and these look like a winner!!

  14. #
    14
    Kerstin — February 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Mmm, these were so tasty! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  15. #
    15
    Amy (Sing For Your Supper) — February 16, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    These are just too cute!! I love M&M cookies too!!

    http://www.singforyoursupperblog.com

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    bcallegra — February 17, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Just had to add my two cents on the idea of giving cookie dough frozen and ready to be baked – genius! For some reason, I’ve never thought of that, even though I’ve given cookies frozen to people to be defrosted when they’re ready to eat. I love the dough idea!

  17. #
    17
    Megan — February 20, 2010 at 2:16 am

    YUM-these look absolutely delicious! I love the pink and red M&Ms!

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