Thursday, December 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Maple Bacon Fudge

Yes, that title is indeed correct. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are planning your black-eyed pea recipes for New Years!

As I've mentuoned before, I make cookie bozes every year for friends and family. I usually make about 30 boxes with around 15 cookies in each box (5 different kinds) and some fudge pieces. I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest (where else!) and decided it needed to be included in my cookie boxes this year. Funnily enough, the original article was from NPR. Who would have guessed?

I've made desserts with bacon before, and the salty/sweet combo is just awesome. This recipe is easy, salty, sweet, and fun. All of which make an excellent choice for a marathon baking session. The end result looks something like this, but keep in mind that this was doubled.

When I posted the above photo on Facebook, my aunt E commented: "Sick. Lusciously sick." Couldn't have said it any better myself. This fudge is so good, and honestly next time I might even leave out the peanut butter chips and just double up on the maple and bacon. Although they do look fun sitting in the pot together!

Here's the recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

Peanut Butter Maple Bacon FudgeOriginal recipe from NPR
Makes 49 squares
  • 12 strips maple-smoked bacon, with 2 strips reserved for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1. Cover an 8-inch-square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning several times, until browned and done, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop finely. Reserve 2 of the chopped slices for garnish.
3. Combine all ingredients except bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until chips and butter are melted, and mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in bacon.
4. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the reserved chopped bacon on top and lightly press with your fingertips. Cover with aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
5. Slice into 7 equal rows to create 49 squares.Serve at about room temperature.

Do you have any bacon dessert recipes?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

48 Hours in: Austin!

I'm so sorry I've been MIA. I'm in my second to last semester at school, I work part time as a server/bartender, I'm covering a maternity leave part time at a publishing company around my classes, and I'm freelance editing for the company I did my previous internship for. But I'd rather be busy than bored!

I have so many recipes to share within the next few weeks - I hope your ready!

Even with all this craziness, I did manage to sneak away for a weekend in September, so here's a rundown of that trip. I have a few more Texas posts coming your way, too. I promise, I'll be better now.

So, here it goes!
In September, I went to Austin, Texas for roughly 48 hours. For someone who has never been to Texas before, this was a slightly crazy undertaking. How can one expect to get a taste for a new city, especially one in a state as big as Texas in 48 hours? But my friends, I'm here to tell you it's possible!

My flight left Boston at 1:30pm, and I landed in Houston at about 5:00pm local time. I hate flying, so thank god things are bigger in Texas, because I quickly got my hands on the biggest beer I could find.

A quick flight later, and I landed in Austin. One of my good friends, Priyanka, lives in Austin because she is amazing and got her masters at University of Texas at Austin. Once we cleared the airport our minds were on one thing: food! We got chicken wings at a local Texas chain, because that's what we needed - so, so delicious.

On Saturday, we went to Magnolia Cafe for breakfast. I've seen this place on the Food Network, and was so excited when Pri suggested we try it. After a bit of a wait - but, god bless them, they had coffee in a carafe outside - we were seated, and oh my does this place live up to it's rep. We split a gingerbread pancake (had to) and each got our own meals (don't judge). I got Texas eggs benedict, and I apologize but I was far to busy devouring my food like a rabid animal so I forgot to take a picture. It was poached egg, over a biscuit, with a spicy hollandaise, and something else I'm forgetting but honestly, it's okay because I'm still drooling. It was so good. Order it. I swear you won't regret it!

After that, we drove to University of Texas at Austin so Pri could show me her school. The football stadium on the campus is unfathomable. It's GIGANTIC. This photo shows what's above the ground... it goes down a few levels, too.

It's a beautiful campus.

Sidenote: So Texas had been in a little draught for over a month when I arrived, and ironically it rained the entire two days I was there. Saturday was more cloudy than rainy, which is always a good thing.

Our next order of business was coffee, because well, that's what we do. We went to Mozart's on the water and I got one of the best chai lattes I've ever had. This place was adorable and I so wish Boston had more cafe type places like this one where you can plug in and study.

After that, we drove to Lake Travis and the Oasis overlooking the lake. The views are stunning, and I can only imagine what they look like on a sunny day. We got ourselves some pretty delicious Margaritas, and then headed to the gift shop and found amazing Texas souvenirs.

Next we played tourist some more and drive around the crazy houses on the Lake. The cool thing about  this lake is that Lake Austin, Lake Travis, and Ladybird Lake are all in and around downtown Austin and are reservoirs on the Colorado River. They create this amazing mecca for recreation with walking trails, boat ramps, and water sports galore.

After our tour, we went to dinner at Curna's Grill and then out for drinks on East 6th Street. Austin has a few designated "going out" areas and they are all fantastic. East 6th is where South by Southwest happens, so there is live music and a ton of jam packed bars and nightclubs.

Hi Pri!

Another area is Rainey Street, near Ladybird Lake where a few blocks of old bungalows have been transformed into cool outdoor bars. It's always so packed and of course, there was no where to park so we went to 6th. However, if your in Austin, definitely check out Rainey Street!

On Sunday, we drove to San Antonio. Austin to San Antonio is roughly an hour drive, and is a really cool thing to do.

We saw the Alamo (slightly disappointing!) and the San Antonio Missions (not at ALL dissapointing).

And Coyote Ugly! I was so tempted to go inside to see if I could find Piper Perabo...

We also got to check out the Riverwalk, but it was pouring so we couldn't walk it - next time!

Next stop were cowboy boots stores galore, food trucks, and then we were off to the bats!

There is a whole food truck park that is seriously the coolest spot. They were closed since it was rainy/later on a Sunday/ etc. but Priyanka promises amazing food there.

Under the South Congress Street Bridge, millions of bats live and every night they fly out of the bridge to hunt. The full story can be found here: Austin Bats

It is a sight to behold, slightly creepy but totally worth it.

I flew home early Monday morning, and Austin is definitely one of the coolest cities I've been to. I can't wait to go back and hopefully see more of Texas.

Does anyone have favorite parts of Austin or Texas in general?