Earlier this month I had the pleasure of joining some of my fellow food bloggers in Washington DC for Eat Write Retreat. The weekend was so much fun! The event was packed with hands-on workshops, delicious food, cool swag and tons of networking opportunities. I’ve always wanted to attend a food blogger conference and was very excited when I realized there was one right in my neck of the woods. Eat Write Retreat was pure magic; I met many local and national bloggers (and a few international bloggers!) who I admire. It was w0nderfully intimate, and I was able to spend some time getting to know most of the other attendees. More importantly, it reminded me of why I began blogging in the first place and has inspired me to take my site to the next level.
The OXO Cooking Challenge
The OXO Cooking challenge took place on the final day of Eat Write Retreat and I was lucky enough to be paired up with Stephanie of Copy Kat Recipes and Stephanie of 52 Kitchen Adventures. It was an Iron Chef/Chopped inspired competition where we had one hour to create a dish that would be judged on taste, creativity and presentation. We were allowed to make anything we wanted but were given the option of including sponsored ingredients for additional points: mushrooms, watermelon and Jarlsberg cheese. Definitely a challenge! We ultimately chose to focus on the creativity points (though we were still able to incorporate Jarlsberg).
We decided to make a dessert with the thought that an hour would be enough time to create something delicious if we divided up tasks. What did we wind up baking? Beer, bacon & cheese cupcakes! You heard me right. And yes, they were sweet. As luck would have it, we were the the only team who went with dessert. We came up with a game plan and the challenge went smoothly. The best part?
Our cupcakes were a hit and Jarlsberg will soon be distributing a nationwide press release with the recipe! But I’m sharing it with all of you in advance. Here you go!
- 6 strips bacon (I'd recommend a slightly sweeter bacon, such as applewood)
- ½ cup Märzen beer
- 4.5 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup grated Jarlsberg
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ + ⅛ cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Jarlsberg, finely grated (optional for garnish)
- Cooked bacon, finely chopped (optional for garnish)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ⅛ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350. Cook bacon until crispy then remove from oven, drain well, and finely chop. Coat a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray.
- Heat beer and butter in a large saucepan on medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add Jarlsberg. Remove from heat, and whisk in the sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream with the egg. Mix the sour cream mixture into the beer mixture.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Fold flour mixture into the batter. Stir in ¾ cup of finely chopped bacon.
- Fill cups in prepared tin almost full. Bake for 12 minutes, or until inserted cake tester comes out clean.
- Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy.
- Slowly sift in powdered sugar.
- Spread onto cooled cupcakes, then garnish with remaining bacon bits and finely grated Jarlsberg.
If you want to experiment a bit, I think candying the bacon garnish would be fun. Thanks again to Stephanie and Stephanie being fantastic teammates! Visit their blogs to read additional posts about the winning cupcakes:
I want to give a shout out to the wonderful event organizers, Robyn Webb and Casey Benedict. Eat Write Retreat was a labor of love and their hard work made the weekend truly special. Also, thank you to the many sponsors including OXO, Calphalon and Feastie. I got so many fun toys! I kept a lot of it for myself, but I’m planning to have a few giveaways over the next couple months to share my treats with all of you. This blog wouldn’t be what it is today without your kind words and continued support.
Finally, here’s a bit of link love for some of my fellow attendees! Please take a moment to visit their fabulous blogs:
For a full list of attendees check out this link!email. You can also follow me via RSS, Facebook and Twitter.