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How do you get kids, or your hubby, to eat zucchini? No need to hide it in chocolate, but tempting naysayers with bacon? Awesome. I was prepping for a taping of Cooks Corner and needed to test this first. I brought a dozen to work and as soon as the clink of the dish hitting the marble island was heard I had my first tasters. “Is that bacon?” “Oh my, what it this?” My first victim was a female colleague who is not a fan of vegetables, especially green ones. “Zucchini? In a cupcake?” The cream cheese frosting helped to ease her fear but the bacon won her over. One bite and she was happy. And so was everyone else. Zucchini does work in a cupcake. With or without bacon.

Bacon and Burnt Sugar Zucchini Cupcakes

zucchini cupcake with burnt sugar frostingInspired by a recipe found in Taste of Home

What you need:

Cupcake:

  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp candied ginger, crushed
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel (French sea salt; sub with sea salt)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c Devo Olive Oil Eureka Lemon EVOO (or evoo/canola with 1/2 lemon juiced)
  • 1/3 c grade b maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c shredded zucchini

Frosting:

  • 1 c  butter, divided
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c pure cane sugar
  • 1 tsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp fleur de sel (French sea salt)
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2-2 1/2 c powdered sugar

Maple-candied bacon:

  • 2 tbs grade B maple syrup
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 8 slices microwave bacon

What you do:

Cupcake:

  • Heat oven to 350°.
  • Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  • In lg bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt and cloves.
  • Min mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment beat eggs, sugar, oil, syrup, lemon juice and extract.
  • Gradually add dry ingredients to egg mixture.
  • Stir in zucchini.
  • Fill wells 2/3 full.
  • Bake 20-25 min or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 min.
  • Transfer to wire rack.

Frosting:

  • In med saucepan melt butter and sugars over med heat.
  • Bring to a boil, while stirring cook until thickened, about 2-3 min.
  • Remove from heat; stir in cream and sea salt.
  • Transfer to heatproof bowl, cover and refrigerate about an hour; the consistency should be similar to room-temperature butter. Check often – you do not want it to turn solid.
  • In mixer with paddle attachment beat chilled remaining butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  • Add burnt sugar.
  • Add powdered sugar, 1/2 c at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  • Beat until fluffy and well mixed.

Candied Bacon:

  • Mix syrup and brown sugar.
  • Lay bacon strips on microwave-safe plate
  • Using pastry brush, paint both sides of each strip with maple glaze.
  • Microwave for 40-60 sec (depends on microwave), being careful not to burn.
  • Remove from microwave and place on parchment paper to cool.
  • Cut each strip into thin slivers or finely chop.

Assembly:

  • Frost cupcakes. 
  • Garnish with candied bacon.
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