Today my office is having a Cultural Food Fest. I thought about making some Australian Pavlovas or the Austrian cookies I did earlier this year, but a quick poll of my coworkers made it clear that they wanted brownies and bacon.
Since there’s voting and prizes involved, I figured I’d better follow the demands of the public. So on today’s American Dessert Sampler:
- Mini Maple Bacon Cupcakes
- Key Lime Tartlets
- Peanut Butter Brownie Blondies
- Pecan Tassies
Sound yummy? You can do it, too.
Mini Maple Bacon Cupcakes
These are just like my Maple Bacon Bundt Cake and Maple Bacon Cupcakes, but tiny. Follow the same recipe and reduce the baking time to 8-10 minutes.
I waited until the morning of the event to frost them, that way I didn’t have to refrigerate the cupcakes, just the frosting. By the time I got to work it has warmed up enough to be easy to pipe out.
I also saved myself a little time by buying two pouches of real bacon pieces (not the crunchy fake bacon bits) and I sprinkled them on the cupcakes just before serving.
Key Lime Tartlets
I decided to make these because 1) I feel like Key Lime is a truly American flavor, b) I’ve never made anything lime before and, III) there’s a recipe in the Baked Elements book that looked too good to pass up. Of course their recipe is for regular sized tarts, so I improvised to make them smaller.
First of all, have you ever squeezed key limes? They are very tiny, so they give very little juice, so it takes a while.
I crushed up the pretzel sticks and made little crusts in my mini muffin pans. I soon realized that my pretzels weren’t crushed quite enough to really fill in all the little gaps, but I persevered!
They baked up beautifully and smelled delicious. Then I had to get them out of the pans. This is where the flaw I had sort of anticipated came to life and I spent much too long coaxing the little tarts out without having them crumble.
After the first couple of batches I decided to try them with more of a pie crust, so I used some of the dough from the pecan tassies. Those popped out much easier, but didn’t have quite the same exciting taste as the pretzel-crusted tarts. I’d like to try making the full sized ones sometime in a proper tart pan.
Peanut Butter Brownie Blondies
Reese’s post a lot of delicious looking things that fans make and I just had to try this one. It was good, but I’d like to try it using more of a cookie base and real brownie top instead of the cake mixes. True, it was really fast to put together, but I’d still like to play with the concept a bit. Worst case is that my coworkers have to eat a lot of failed attempts, right?
The best part was unwrapping all the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and having the smell of them take over the kitchen. Why don’t they make Reese’s Peanut Butter potpourri for the holidays?
These are cookies, but almost everyone who had one said they were like little pecan pies, which I think is accurate.
This recipe is an oldie but a goodie from the Betty Crocker cookbook. I made them from scratch but they also have a quick version that uses refrigerated cookie dough.
To set up my space I brought a plastic picnic style table cloth, some fake red, white and blue flowers, and a big sign advertising what I had on offer. Pretty, eh?
The bad news? I didn’t win the dessert division. That honor went to the two guys who served up mango lassi. I spent eight hours in a kitchen and they spend 15 minutes with a blender, a tub of ice cream and some canned mango.
All three categories (appetizers, entrees and desserts) were won by Indian dishes, so my key takeaway from this event: Know your audience. Next time I’ll make gulab jamun and kick ass doing it!
Miss American Pie,