Bacon Maple Pancake Muffins

My daughter and I came up with this recipe when we were looking for something to cook for breakfast that wasn’t the traditional fried eggs with bacon (and a side of rice, of course).

We also didn’t feel like having just plain old pancakes either, but we knew we wanted bacon.  Pancakes appealed to us, but again, we wanted something new and different.

That’s when our bacon maple pancake muffins were born.  I already had a very good pancake recipe, but I wanted to incorporate the taste of maple syrup into all aspects of what would become such pretty tasty meal that could very well double as dessert if so inclined.

I did a lot of research on how to make this turn out more than just a plain baked pancake batter.  I found out that maple syrup is slightly acidic, and therefore, I needed to counteract that by adding a bit of baking soda to my batter, in addition to baking powder, in order to get my muffins to rise properly.  As you can see in the photos below, these muffins have an nicely rounded dome.

I also didn’t want to serve these with a side of syrup, like we do with ordinary pancakes.  So my daughter and I decided to make a maple buttercream frosting to go on top.  I guess with the addition of the frosting, these muffins can also be called cupcakes.

What’s the difference between muffins and cupcakes, you ask?  Well, one school of thought is based on the ingredients used.  I’ve read that using more than a stick of butter and one egg makes a recipe a cake.  In my recipe, I use one stick of butter and one egg, so that’s why I call them muffins.  On the other hand, like I mentioned above, another school of thought is that if you add any type of frosting to this, it’s a cupcake.  So…what does that make my recipe….maybe I should call them muffincakes or cupcakins.  Hahaha … or maybe not.  😉

I think we should just call it DELICIOUS.  Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it.  🙂

Bacon Maple Pancake Muffins topped with Maple Buttercream and Bacon Sprinkles

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Scroll all the way to the bottom for my complete recipe.  Each of the following photos describes my step-by-step process.

 

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Fry bacon until crisp.

 

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Mix the dry ingredients together.

 

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In a separate mixing bowl, roughly cream the butter and sugar together.

 

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I left a stick of butter on the countertop overnight to ensure it was softened in the morning.  You don’t need to use a whisk or mixer to cream the butter with the sugar.  I used a fork to do this since the butter was so soft.  *Note:  Do not use melted butter.

 

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Mix the egg into the butter-sugar mixture.  I pulled out a whisk to mix in the egg, but you can do this with a fork as well.

 

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This is what the egg-butter-sugar mixture looks like after mixing.

 

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Pour in the milk, maple syrup and vanilla exract.  There’s no need to mix — you’re going to dump this in with the dry ingredients and mix it there.

 

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In this step, stir the dry ingredients together to ensure the baking soda, baking powder and salt are mixed in with the flour.  The only equipment you need for this step is a mixing spoon.  Do not use an electric mixer — you only need to stir this for a few times to get the proper consistency.  In fact, over mixing this batter will make your muffins turn out tough and dense.

 

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Pour the liquid ingredients into the the bowl with the dry ingredients.

 

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Use a mixing spoon to mix it all together.  About 50 strokes should do it.  It’s okay if there are a few lumps in the batter.

 

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Crumble your cooked bacon ahead of time.  Half of it will go into the batter, the other half will be used to sprinkle on top the frosted muffins.

 

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Fold the bacon crumbles into the batter.  This is important:  DO NOT let the batter sit.  You want to bake this as soon as possible after mixing.  This is because once you’ve added the wet ingredients to the dry, the baking soda and baking powder start to work their magic and the batter will begin its “rising” process.  You don’t want it to rise while sitting in your mixing bowl–you want this magic to take place in the oven so that you have nice tall muffins with a rounded top.

 

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It’s a good idea to line your muffin tin ahead of time, so that you can immediately scoop your batter into them as soon as you’re done mixing it.  You’ll have just enough batter to make 12 muffins.  Use slightly less than 1/3 cup of batter in each muffin cup.

 

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Bake the muffins anywhere between 15-20 minutes.  The baking time will vary, depending on your oven.  My oven (not to mention I live at a relatively high altitude) tends to take a little longer to bake things.  I check for doneness about 2 minutes prior to the minimum cooking time.  In this case, I used a toothpick to test for doneness at the 13-minute mark.  My muffins were still a bit wet, so I baked them for an additional 5 minutes.

 

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The extra 5 minutes of baking did the trick.  The muffins should be a golden brown.  A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean, although a few crumbs sticking to it is okay.  Let the muffins cool completely before adding your frosting.

 

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Make the frosting while the muffins are cooling.
I also left these two sticks of butter out overnight to completely soften.

 

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You WILL need an electric mixer to make the frosting.  Because the butter is already soft, you don’t need to beat it.  I just turned my mixer on to low speed for a few seconds to spread the butter out a bit.

 

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Mix in the maple syrup and milk.

 

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Sift in the powdered sugar — I used a strainer to do this, but a flour sifter works well too.

 

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This shows 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar.  My recipe calls for up to 4 cups of sugar — I only used 2.  You can use 3 or even the entire 4 cups of sugar if you like (it will be really sweet if you do).  The added sugar also serves to make your frosting stiffer, which is what you want if you plan on using a piping bag and decorating tip to decorate your muffins.  I didn’t want to do this with this batch — a softer frosting was good enough here since I only planned on using a small cookie scoop to scoop out enough frosting to top each muffin.

 

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Mix the sugar into the butter mixture until smooth and creamy.  Frost your muffins once they are completely cooled off; the frosting will melt if the muffins are still warm.

 

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I used a small cookie scoop to place even amounts of frosting on each muffin.  Slightly spread out the frosting to ensure the top of the muffin is covered.

 

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I suffer from a mild case of OCD.  I wanted to ensure that each muffin had equal amounts of bacon crumbles, so I broke each of remaining 6 bacon strips in half, then made 12 little piles of bacon crumbles.  (Don’t judge me.  LOL)

 

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Top each muffin with bacon crumbles.

 

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♬ ♩ ♫  ♪     Ta daa!!!!!!     ♬ ♩ ♫  ♪

 

imageThis is what the inside looks like — fluffy and moist.  And, as you can see on top, there is ample frosting on top.  These muffins are delicious without the added frosting, by if you are in mood to indulge, don’t skimp on the frosting.  All in all, these muffincakes are absolutely DELICIOUS!  Decide for yourself; give my recipe a try.  🙂

 

Bacon Maple Pancake Muffins with Maple Buttercream Frosting
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These muffins are the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Perfect for breakfast, they also double as a dessert.
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Muffin Batter
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 thin slice maple bacon
Maple Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 stick butter
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 6 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2-4 cup powdered sugar
Topping
  • 6 thin slice maple bacon
Instructions
Muffin Batter
  1. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir to mix all the ingredients together. Set aside.
  2. In a smaller mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and milk (there is no need to stir).
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Using a mixing spoon, stir to combine, about 50 strokes. Do not over mix; a few lumps remaining are okay.
  4. Fold in the bacon crumbles.
  5. Pour slightly less than ⅓ cup of batter into each well of a muffin tin lined with paper liners. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Check for doneness at around 13 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean (a few crumbs are okay). The muffins should be golden brown in color when done. Do not over bake.
Maple Buttercream Frosting
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Add the maple syrup and milk to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix to combine.
  3. Mix in the sifted powdered sugar, starting out with only 2 cups of sugar. Add more sugar to make a stiffer frosting (which is good if you're using cake decorating tips). Less sugar yields a creamier frosting. Frost the muffins after they've completely cooled off.

Homemade Beer Chili

Homemade chili such a versatile dish that can be changed up depending on the ingredients you add.

My family’s favorite is chili made with ground beef, but we also love white chicken chili and chili made with ground chuck (or cut into small pieces) and cooked in a pressure cooker.

It’s not only versatile in how it’s prepared, but how you serve it too.  Of course, being Chamorro, we love eating steaming hot chili with freshly cooked white rice.  We also love it served with chips–our favorites being Doritos or Fritos–or heaped onto a baked potato with a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

However you serve it, it’s delicious.

My recipe contains some unusual ingredients–my “secret” ingredients.  (Shhhh….don’t tell anyone.)  🙂

Among my treasure trove of secrets in this recipe, I add an entire 12-ounce bottle of beer–YES, BEER.  I like using ale in this recipe, but by all means, use your favorite beer or whatever you have on hand.  Don’t worry, though–all of the alcohol gets cooked out, leaving behind only a hint of beer, imparting a new dimension of flavor that will leave your friends wondering what you put in it.

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I also add about a cup of crushed tortilla chips.  This serves as a thickening agent without adding flours or starches to the chili.  Add more chips for a thicker chili.  I think I used about 5 or 6 handfuls of chips to get a cup’s worth of crushed chips.  Just put the chips in a bowl and smash it with your hands.

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Give my recipe a try–I think you’ll like it.  🙂

Click on the thumbnail photos below to open up a full-sized photo.

Homemade Beer Chili
 
This is a hearty and very tasty chili that contains my "secret" ingredients that are sure to make you come back for more!
Ingredients
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 6 tablespoon Dashida beef flavored seasoning
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 12 oz beer
  • 3½ tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 can (28-oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (28-oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 can (15.5-oz) white kidney beans
  • 2 can (16-oz) dark red kidney beans
  • 4 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and black pepper
  • jalapeño peppers
Instructions
  1. Place the ground beef in a large pot. Add the Dashida; stir.
  2. Add the onions to the pot.
  3. Cook over medium high heat until the meat has browned. I like using this utensil from Pampered Chef -- it's used to break up the ground beef into smaller pieces as you cook it (I switch to a cooking spoon after the meat has browned).
  4. Pour in the beer. I like using a good ale, but you can use your favorite beer. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Keep the heat on high until the liquid in the pot has dried down and the alcohol has cooked out.
  5. Add the chili powder. Stir to combine.
  6. Add the paprika. Stir to combine.
  7. Add both cans of tomatoes (crushed and diced) to the pot. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium.
  8. Add the crushed tortilla chips to the pot. Stir to combine.
  9. Add the beans and stir. Keep the heat at medium; cook, uncovered, until the mixture returns to a boil. The crushed chips should have softened and dissolved into the mixture by now, thickening it up quite a bit.
  10. Add the Parmesan cheese; stir. I like adding grated cheese to this recipe. It adds a bit of saltiness and gives it added depth of flavor.
  11. Add the brown sugar; stir. The brown sugar adds another layer of flavor in my recipe. I find it also balances the saltiness from the Dashida and grated Parmesan cheese, as well as compliments the spiciness from any added chili peppers (optional).
  12. At this point, you can stir as much hot chili peppers you like. My kids don't like spicy chili so I don't add it.
  13. Serve over hot rice, or in a bowl with a side of your favorite chips (we like Fritos or Doritos with this). Enjoy!

 

Rosette Cookies

Rosette cookies are not native to Chamorro cuisine, but they are very popular on Guam.  I remember eating these cookies when I was a little girl — the more sugar on them the better!

My recipe for these crisp cookies adds cornstarch — this simple addition keeps the cookies nice and crispy for days, provided you store them in an airtight container (a ziplock bag works really well).

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like them.  🙂

ROSETTE COOKIES

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1.  In a shallow bowl, beat the two eggs.  Mix in the milk and water.

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2.  Mix in the flour, corn starch, sugar and salt.

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3.  Whisk until there are no more lumps.  The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter.

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4.  Place the mold in the oil while the oil is heating up.

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5.  When the oil and mold are hot, lift the mold out of the oil.  Let as much of the oil drip off as possible (if you still have oil on the mold, the batter won’t stick to it).

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6.  Dip the mold into the batter, but careful not to submerge it.  Dip the mold only to just below the rim (if the batter goes over the rim, it won’t release into the hot oil).

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7.  Lift the mold up out of the batter.  Allow any excess batter to drip off.

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8.  Place the batter-covered mold into the hot oil.

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9.  Keep the mold submerged in the oil for about a minute or so — the rosette should drop right off the mold all by itself.  If it doesn’t drop off by itself, use a chopstick or fork to nudge the rosette off the mold.

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10.  Lift the mold out of the oil.  Fry the rosettes until golden brown.  Remove the rosettes from the oil and place in a metal colander to drip off any excess oil.

NOTE:  The mold must be hot before dipping in batter.  If the mold has cooled off (while you’re waiting for a batch of rosettes to fry), dip it back in the hot oil to reheat then repeat the process again.

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11.  While the rosettes are still hot (just after taking them out of the oil), shake them in granulated sugar, or a mixture of sugar and cinnamon (use as much cinnamon as you like).  I find it best to place the sugar (or cinnamon sugar) into a paper bag.  Place the rosettes in the paper bag, fold the paper bag closed, then shake-shake-shake to get the rosette coated all over with sugar.

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Here is a video that shows the dipping-frying process.

 

ENJOY!

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Chicken ala King

Chicken ala King is a classic comfort dish.

Growing up, chicken ala king was usually served at rosaries, after the prayers were completed, of course.  It was chicken ala king, beef vegetable soup with glass noodles or long rice, rosketti, and custard pie that I remember being served most often after rosaries.

Now you don’t have to wait for those somber occasions to enjoy this comfort meal.  My recipe and step-by-step photos show how easy it is to prepare yourself.

My daughter calls it chicken pot pie without the crust.  I wouldn’t say it’s quite like chicken pot pie, however.  I think it’s BETTER than chicken pot pie.  Who agrees with me?  Give my recipe a try and I think you’ll agree too.  🙂

CHICKEN ALA KING

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MAKE THE FILLING:

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING:

    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 5 tablespoons butter
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon, more or less to taste
    • 2 cups flour
    • 3 cups water
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
    • 2 16-ounce bags frozen corn
    • 2 12-ounce bags frozen peas and carrots
    • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

This is what heavy cream looks like. You can find it in the dairy section of your grocery store.

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DIRECTIONS:

1.  Cut the chicken breasts into very small pieces then place into a large soup pot.

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2.  Add the butter, garlic and chopped onions to the pot.  Cook over medium high heat until the chicken is done.  Add in the powdered chicken bouillon.  Stir to combine.

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This is the powdered chicken bouillon I use.  You can find it in most grocery stores.

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3.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the flour all at once; stir.

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4.  Pour in the water, stirring vigorously to prevent lumps from forming — the mixture should be very thick at this point.  Mix in the heavy cream and evaporated milk.  Keep stirring until there are no more lumps.

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5.  Stir in the frozen corn, peas and carrots.  Bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Cook over medium high heat until the mixture has thickened once again.

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6.  After the mixture has thickened, stir in the chopped eggs.  Pour the filling into the pastry shells and enjoy!

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MAKE THE SHELLS:

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE SHELLS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:

1.  In a shallow bowl, beat the two eggs.  Mix in the milk and water.

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2.  Mix in the flour, corn starch, sugar, salt and garlic powder.

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3.  Whisk until there are no more lumps.  The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter.

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4.  Place the molds in the oil while the oil is heating up.

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5.  When the oil and molds are hot, lift the molds out of the oil.  Let as much of the oil drip off as possible (if you still have oil on the molds, the batter won’t stick to it).  Dip the molds into the batter, but careful not to submerge the molds.  Dip the molds only to just below the rim (if the batter goes over the rim, it won’t release into the hot oil).

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6.  Lift the molds up out of the batter.  Allow any excess batter to drip off.

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7.  Place the batter-covered molds into the hot oil.

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8.  Keep the molds submerged in the oil for about a minute or so — the shells/cups should drop right off the molds all by themselves.  If they don’t drop off by themselves, use a chopstick or fork to nudge the shell/cup off the mold.

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9.  Lift the molds out of the oil.  Fry the shells/cups until golden brown.  Remove from the oil and place in a metal colander to drip off any excess oil.

NOTE:  The molds must be hot before dipping them in batter.  If the molds have cooled off (while you’re waiting for a batch of cups to fry), dip them back in the hot oil to reheat then repeat the process again.

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10.  Let the shells/cups cool then fill with Chicken ala King and enjoy!

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Fresh Shrimp Kelaguen

I love shrimp kelaguen.  I love kelaguen, period, but shrimp kelaguen is at the top of the list, especially if it’s FRESH SHRIMP kelaguen.  Oh, and serve this up with fresh corn titiyas…man, oh, man, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

For those of you who don’t know what kelaguen is, it’s kind of like ceviche.

Funny story…I had a recipe for fresh shrimp kelaguen, then my sister, Carolyn, shared hers as well.  I went back and compared our recipes and they were almost identical. Of course they would be nearly identical — we learned to cook from the best teacher in the world, OUR MOM. Here’s to all of our moms and dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents … thanks for teaching us so many things, especially how to make all this yummy Chamorro food!

So, back to fresh shrimp kelaguen.  This is a time consuming process, but it is WELL WORTH the effort.  If this is served at a fiesta, I ignore all other food and gorge myself on this delicacy, it’s that good.

Here is my sister, Carolyn’s recipe.

Give it a try and let us know how you like it.  Enjoy!

FRESH SHRIMP KELAGUEN

Recipe by Carolyn Merfalen

Carol's Shrimp Kelaguen 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 pounds fresh shrimp, with the head and shell on
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lemon juice (or powder), to taste
  • 6-8 stalks green onions, sliced
  • Freshly grated coconut
  • Hot Pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Fresh shrimp (with the heads on) is best for kelaguen. You can, however, still make it using frozen shrimp (again, with the heads on).  I recommend pouring boiling water over the raw shrimp, to lessen its sliminess. Let the water run right off the shrimp, preventing it from puddling. You want to avoid it being cooked in the boiling water.

2.  Depending on your liking, you may keep the shells on. Fresh shrimp is best for this since the shells are very soft and easy to chew and swallow. Otherwise, carefully remove the shells from the body and tail of the shrimp, especially if you are using store-bought boxed frozen shrimp since those shells are hard.

3.  Work on the heads last…carefully remove the shell around the top of the heads. You should be able to see a tiny black sliver right in the center, top of the head, after removing the shell. (I don’t know what it is, but it looks dirty. My mom also mentioned it’s bitter.)  As you work with the heads, use caution in preventing the orange substance in the heads from being thrown out. That orange substance is what gives the kelaguen its reddish color and very distinct flavor.

4.  Devein the shrimp, if the shells were removed. (I usually remove them and devein them.) Mash the shrimp a bit using a fork.

5.  According to taste, add lemon juice or powder, salt, finely diced green onions, freshly grated coconut, and red hot peppers.  Mix to combine.  Serve with titiyas or hot white rice and enjoy!  Absolutely delicious!

Carol's Shrimp Kelaguen 3

Carol's Shrimp Kelaguen 4

Carol's Shrimp Kelaguen 5

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