maple ice cream with candied bacon sprinkles

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oh my, so much has happened since i was last on my blog.  i had a baby, moved to colorado, started a new job, and bought a house!  phew!  so needless to say, while i was still baking and cooking there wasn’t much time for picture taking (well, we took lots of pictures of our baby, but not so much of food) and blog posting.  i give so much credit to those who can continue to blog with a new baby and other life happenings!  so now that things are kind of settling down, i’ve been getting the blogging itch and i’m back.  we’ll see how long this actually lasts, but i’ll do my best.

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baking has been a bit of a challenge with the enormous change in altitude from dc to denver/boulder.  i’ve experienced my fair share of sunken cupcakes and cakes, flattened cookies, messed up caramel, etc.  but do you know what has been trusty through and through – ice cream!

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this actually works perfectly because ice cream just may be one of my favorite desserts and we now have an extra freezer, so i can easily keep the freezer bowl for my ice cream maker in the freezer ready to go at all times.  since moving to colorado, i’ve made a bunch of different kinds of ice cream from mint chocolate chip and blackberry to vanilla bean and milk chocolate.  if you follow me on instagram, you also recently saw that i made some peanut butter oreo ice cream too (recipe coming soon!)

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well a few weeks ago, chris and i were brainstorming what my next ice cream experiment would be and he came up with maple bacon!  sounds good to me.  i ended up combining 2 of david lebovitz’s recipes to make maple ice cream with candied bacon “sprinkles.”  oh man this stuff is good!

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wedding baking adventures

in the past couple of years, i’ve actually made cupcakes (and a cake) for a few different weddings.  it first started with my friend, tammy when we made cupcakes and a cake for her future sister in law’s wedding.

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we made over 160 cupcakes and a 9 inch rose case. half the cupcakes were vanilla/white cupcakes and there other half were one of my favorites, oreo cupcakes. they were all topped with vanilla bean american buttercream. tammy also found the super cute flower decorations on etsy. they really dressed up the cupcakes to make them perfect for kat’s black/white themed wedding.

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the cake was a white cake also with vanilla bean buttercream. we used the rose frosting technique that i learned on i am baker to decorate and frost the cake. for our first attempt, we thought it turned out pretty good. yay! it was made even better with the ‘love’ topper that they added.

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i also made cupcakes for my dear friends, david and patrick’s wedding. i made 9 dozen cupcakes.

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half were peanut butter cup chocolate cupcakes (these chocolate cupcakes with this fluffy peanut butter frosting).

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chocolate & peanut butter chip cookies

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i first made a version of these cookies years ago – remember these chocolate peanut butter cup cookies?  pretty awesome photography, huh?  haha, sad days with my old phone that took terrible pictures.  anyway…

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with the peanut butter cups, the cookies were just a bit too sweet. so i made some adjustments and came up with this version. believe me, it is sooooo much better. chris agrees too – it’s now one of his favorite cookies.

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the mixture of peanut butter chips and semi sweet chocolate chips provide a much better balance than the peanut butter cups did.

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another reason these cookies are great is that they are almost brownie like – soft and kind of chewy, since they are soft baked. yum!

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best way to cook bacon

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as you may recall a couple weeks ago, i co-hosted my friend, tammy’s dc bridal shower. i made a bunch of different dishes from a spring frittata to browned butter blueberry muffins. but do you know what was the hit of the brunch menu?

BACON!

can you believe it!?!? it was too funny. everyone gobbled it up and complimented how well it was cooked. so kind, but it was one of the easiest things i prepared for the brunch. since everyone loved it so much, i figured it would be worth sharing this cooking method with you all.

start off with regular ol’ bacon. we buy bacon in bulk from costco – no judging!

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line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

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and arrange the bacon strips in a single layer on the baking sheets.

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mango strawberry cupcakes

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when trying to figure out what kind of cupcakes to make for july birthday treats, i asked one of our july birthdays if he had any preferences. he voted for fruity over chocolate, so i started to think of some ideas. since it’s been very, very hot in dc this past few days i wanted to make a cupcake that was refreshing and light.

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tropical flavors came to mind – how about mango and strawberry! ding ding ding! they would be the perfect flavors for a summertime cupcake.

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so i made a vanilla cupcake with strawberry filling, topped with a mango swiss meringue buttercream, lastly decorated with a mango drizzle and a strawberry slice.

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they were a hit this past week with my coworkers, one even proclaiming it to be his favorite! yay! i’m so glad that these cupcakes were a success.

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