Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Fall - Mac & Cheese and Pumpkin Caramel Bacon Bars

I can tell Fall is here.  I have the baking bug something fierce!  First it was pumpkin cream cheese bread, now it's The Barefoot Contessa's Mac & Cheese and Pumpkin Caramel Bacon Bars from Spike.Bakes.  When I saw the recipe for these Bars, I knew I had to make them...immediately!  If you'd like the recipe for the Mac & Cheese or the Bars, just click on the links!

I have to thank my friend Cynthia for turning me on to Ina's Mac & Cheese recipe.  It is soooooo delicious!  I made a huge pan of it and since there are only three of us at home, it means I can eat it for lunch all week (and breakfast too...yep, I'm that kind of left overs for breakfast!).

Just in case the Mac & Cheese isn't enough decadence...I then made Pumpkin Caramel Bacon Bars.  What could be wrong with this?  Not a thing.  The pumpkin bar itself had the texture of pumpkin cookies (I love pumpkin cookies) and the frosting was incredibly yummy.  Before I read the whole recipe, I thought I'd have to find a way to add some of the bacon drippings into the recipe (wouldn't want to waste any of that goodness).  I had to laugh when I saw the recipe for the bars called for some of the bacon drippings!  I wanted to add it to the frosting too, but thought that might mess up the frosting consistency and maybe give it a bad mouth feel (you know, kind of like eating Crisco).  So I restrained myself.  Here are the "bars" out of the oven, before frosting and cutting which would make them actual bars!  Definitely not the greatest subject to photograph, but oh, just you wait until you see the picture of the bar iced, with bacon.  You'll be asking to stop by tonight!

To make the frosting, you have to make honest to goodness caramel.  The kind with sugar and water and cream and butter.  I was scared!  I've never made actual caramel before.  Last week I made a simple caramel for Dorie's cake, but it wasn't full fledged caramel.  I'd heard so many horror stories about caramel seizing and sticking to the pan and destroying lives (well not really destroying lives, but destroying good pans at least).  And, when you want to make hand made caramels at little bakeries, they are always so expensive.  I assumed making caramel was really hard, so I've avoided it.

Guess what, not so much!  It was actually a breeze.  I love that after it's boiled away, you put it in your kitchen aid and whip the snot out of it until it turns into a creamy, lovely caramel.  Then you add lots of cream cheese and've got a decadent, caramelly (not an official word) tangy frosting that you could eat straight out of the bowl (not that I would do such a least not while anyone is looking).

I did not take pictures while I was making the caramel, having to concentrate on actual cooking...but the next time I make it I will definitely take a few pictures.  Here's what the frosting looks like in the bowl.  I tell you, in real life it looks a thousand times more tempting.  Notice there are no finger prints in the frosting?  Those came later!!

And, for the grand's a bar, iced with bacon on top.  Do you think this tastes good?  Let me tell you...oh boy does it!


Leslie said...

Yes I will be definitely over for Pumpkin-Carmel and Bacon Bars what a yummy combo!

++MIRA++ said...

mac and yum!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Absolutely yummy mac and cheese!
Gorgeous dessert idea too!

Steph said...

Thanks for the comments. We've had such great leftovers all week! We even have a few of the bars left...they are so rich, hard to eat them all up!

Cakelaw said...

Wow - the mac and cheese looks good, but the pumpkin bacon bars are sublime! I am a caramel fiend, so I just want to eat all the caramel.