Lemon Thyme Cupcakes and Maple Bacon Popcorn

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The last two weekends have been a blur of blogger related activity! Last Saturday I attended the Fork and Talk Crafty Bloggers Meetup (more on this soon) and yesterday I attended the Arkansas Women Bloggers Meetup (more about this soon, too) and the Food Blogger Bake Sale in North Little Rock’s Argenta District.

If you purchased one of my goodies at the bake sale and this is your first time here, THANK YOU so much for stopping by!  My recipes are listed below!

The Food Blogger Bake Sale was hosted by one of my Arkansas Women Bloggers friends, Chrisitie Ison of Fancy Pants Foodie.  Some of the bloggers who provided baked goods included: Hillary Kleck of Sensory Sun; Lisa Mullis of Arkansas Outside; Heather Nabers West of Bake Create Love; Sunshine Crawford of Make Life Delicious; Julie Kohl of Eggs and Herbs; Stephanie Hamling of Proactive Bridesmaid; Kelli Reep of What Have You Heard; Gina Knuppenburg of Desperately Seeking Gina; and Paige Burkham of Approaching Joy.

All proceeds went to support Share Our Strength programs such as No Kid Hungry and Cooking Matters.

When I first signed up to supply some baked goods I thought I might stick with a traditional item like chocolate chip cookies.  I make pretty decent chocolate chip cookies but chocolate chip cookies can be pretty boring.  I decided I needed to make something that better reflected by cooking personality.  I love flavor and bold tastes and since I grow herbs I really should be showcasing what you can do with them.

 We have tons of beautiful thyme growing in our garden and it is a perfect herbs for both sweet and savory dishes.  I decided to make some Lemon Thyme Cupcakes and since I also had some dried lavender left over from last year I though a sweet Lavender Buttercream would be a perfect addition.  These cupcakes were super moist and flavorful. I was really happy with the results.

Lemon Thyme Cupcakes – Makes 12

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large lemon, zest and juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme, finley chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
12 cupcake paper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with the cupcake papers.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add two large eggs, the zest of one lemon, and the chopped thyme leaves, juice of one lemon and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.

With the mixer on low slowly add half of the flour mixture followed by half of the milk.  Combine and then add remaining flour and milk.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake papers (I use an ice cream scoop) and then bake for about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

Lavender Buttercream

1/2 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds (be sure to purchase culinary grade if you dont grow your own)
2 to 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature

At least 20 minutes in advance place 2 tablespoons of lavender into a metal tea ball or tie in a small piece of cheesecloth and place in a mug.  In a small saucepan heat the milk until it just begins to boil.  Remove from heat and pour into the mug over the lavender.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

In your mixing bowl combine the sugar and butter until fluffy and smooth.  Slowly add the lavender infused milk until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.  You may not use all of the milk.

When cupcakes are cool frost the cupcakes with a knife or transfer buttercream into a pastry bag and pipe onto the cupcakes.

Top each cupcake with a little piece of fresh thyme.  Enjoy!

Being a Vermont girl at heart I LOVE anything with maple syrup.  And it MUST be REAL maple syrup! And who (besides my vegetarian friends) doesn’t love bacon?  Popcorn is such a traditional easy snack but often lacks the pizazz I love in my food.  So I thought I would jazz up some boring popcorn with some salty bacon and sweet maple syrup!

Maple Bacon Popcorn – Makes about 6 Servings

8 cups of popped popcorn
4 slices of Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup REAL maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook 4 pieces of bacon until golden brown and crispy.  Cool, crumble and set aside.

Now here is the secret to REALLY flavorful popcorn.  Cook the kernels in the bacon grease!  If you don’t have enough bacon grease to cook the popcorn according to the package directions you can add canola oil as needed.

Once the popcorn is cooked place it into a bowl large enough for you to stir in the maple sauce.  Cover a large baking sheet (or your counter top) with a piece of parchment paper.

In a saucepan, combine the syrup, sugar, butter and salt.  Stir constantly until it begins to bubble.  Stir for about 30 seconds more then remove from the heat.  Quickly stir in the crumbled bacon pieces. Stir and then pour half of the syrup mixture over the popcorn.  Stir with a wooden spoon and then pour the remaining syrup mixture over the popcorn.  Stir until well coated and then dump the popcorn onto the parchment paper to cool.  Once cool, serve or place in an airtight container until ready to eat.  Eat within 2 days (this shouldn’t be a problem) for the freshest taste.  Enjoy!




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