For some reason, I have never been a bacon person. With only a few half-baked vegetarian stints and a general love of meat, especially of the barbecue/pork varieties, I have probably had straight-up bacon about five times in my entire life. And I’m pretty sure I’ve had good, well-prepared bacon too, and yet, I feel “meh” about it. I think it’s the texture of the fat that bothers me. The few times I have prepared bacon, I find myself “trimming” away at the fat for a minute or two before realizing that if I keep doing that, over half of the bacon will be in the trash. (What is wrong with me???)

Lately I’ve been forcing myself to cook with bacon, in brussels sprouts and burger recipes, for instance. And since I have a huge sweet tooth and bacon desserts seem to still be popular, I thought I’d try to come up with my very own bacon dessert for July 4th festivities. I’m drawing heavily from my Burnt-Butter Brown-Sugar Cupcakes and throwing in some caramelized bacon to make the Burnt-Butter Brown Sugar Cupcake with Maple-Buttercream Frosting and Caramelized Bacon you see above. (Quite a mouthful!) Want to make some? Click below!

Ingredients for Caramelized Bacon

12 slices bacon
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp water
pinch cayenne

Ingredients for Cupcakes

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups self-rising cake flour (NOT all-purpose)
4 tbsp granulated sugar
4 tbsp light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
5-6 tbsp milk

Ingredients for Frosting

6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup caramelized bacon drippings
5 tbsp chopped caramelized bacon
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch sea salt
3 tbsp milk

First off, caramelize the bacon: preheat the oven to 375 and grease a jelly roll pan, or line it with parchment. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, water and cayenne. Arrange strips of bacon in pan and cover with brown sugar mixture, flipping so they’re all coated. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until caramelized and a darker brown, flipping once half-way through. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly in pan. (Do not toss out the drippings!)

Meanwhile, time to burn some butter: place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it turns a dark golden color (3-5 minutes). Take the pan off the heat and strain into a bowl (to separate from the sediment). Let the butter sit until it solidifies, but is still a little soft. (This took almost 30 minutes because it’s hot here; if hot out, put in the fridge for about 10 minutes).

When the butter is solid, yet soft, place in a food processor along with ALL cupcake ingredients except milk. Blitz! Add milk slowly and pulse till well-mixed. Divide among 12 cupcake papers and bake for 15-20 minutes.

While they are baking, finely chop up 5 tbsp of bacon. Pulse all of the frosting ingredients in the food processor except the milk. Add milk slowly and pulse till well-mixed.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost ’em! Chop the rest of the bacon and top cupcakes with it. Thank me later? Now?