Night Market & Peanut Butter Bacon Cannoli Cupcakes

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Headquartered in Center City Philadelphia is The Food Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving access to affordable, healthy food and providing nutrition education. But if you ask most Philadelphians about The Food Trust, they’ll tell you the organization sponsors Night Market!

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Night Market is one of Philadelphia’s most popular food festivals. Since 2010, the Food Trust has worked with community partners to host Night Markets across the city and showcase Philly’s eclectic food scene.

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There are four events in a season, and each event spotlights arts and culture along with the city’s best restaurants and food trucks.

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The largest Night Market to date took over 9 blocks of the famed South Street and covered it with more than 80 food trucks and restaurants.

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With so many options, it’s best to choose your food — and your company — wisely. I always attend with my one of my favorite Philly foodie friends, Lauren from Pumpkin Prose, and her husband, M. The three of us have navigating Night Markets down to a science! We approach the events with the following rules:

1. If you can get it anytime at a brick-and-mortar restaurant, skip it.
2. If you think you want it, have one person wait in line while the others go up to the window to check out the food that’s coming out and decide if you should stick it out on line.
3. Sharing is caring! Offer bites, licks, and tastes. Share orders. The more dishes you share, the more you can try!
4. Eat and critique.

As with any good food experience, we always end a Night Market with dessert. When Lauren and I saw Peanut Butter Bacon Cannolis, we couldn’t resist!

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One bite and we were…disappointed. (And you know how I hate a disappointing dessert!) The flavor combination had so much promise yet we were left wanting. It didn’t take long before we acknowledged that we could make a better version. Thus began a culinary brainstorm that led to Pumpkin Bacon Cannoli Cupcakes! Using my cannoli cake recipe, a hybrid ganache recipe, and Lauren’s frosting, we knew we created a winner.

Lauren and M are moving this summer, and I know Night Markets won’t be the same without them. However, now I can make these cupcakes anytime I need an edible memory of our fun foodie adventures.

photo 1-8 Click Here To Print This Recipe.

Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup milk

For the Filling

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 3 strips crispy bacon, crumbled

For the Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 strip crispy bacon for garnish, optional

Instructions:

For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake pans.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl; set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping after each addition. Add vanilla and almond extracts.
  • On low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

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  • Fill liners 3/4 way. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean, approximately 15 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack. Cool completely.

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For the Filling

  • Break chocolate into small pieces and put in a medium bowl.
  • In a small pot on the stove, heat the cream until simmering. (Do not boil.) Pour cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Add the butter and stir until melted.

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For the Frosting

  • In a stand mixer, cream the butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and sugar; mix until smooth. Switch stand mixer to high and beat for 2-3 minutes.

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Putting It All Together

  • Use an apple corer to remove centers of cupcakes.
  • Use small spoon or piping bag to fill holes with ganache.
  • Pipe frosting on cupcakes.
  • Garnish with a piece of bacon, if desired.

DISTANCE TRAVELED TO NIGHT MARKET: 15 blocks

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Train Travel & Pumpkin Granola Bars

This week, work brought me to Washington, DC, a quick, two-hour train ride from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.
Opened in 1933, 30th Street Station is on the National Register of Historic Places and I am always in awe of the stunning architecture and sculpture that adorns the terminal.

(Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial)
Despite it being one of the busiest railroad facilities in the United States, the station retains its historic charm. While most departure boards have gone digital, I love that you still have to listen for the clickety clack of the flap display at 30th Street, waiting for your platform number and boarding cues.
 
As a frequent flier, I often forget how much I enjoy train travel. I can pack my liquids, show up minutes before departure,
use my portable electronic devices at any time (with an outlet to charge them!), enjoy adequate legroom, walk about freely,
and relax and watch the beautiful American landscape roll by outside my window.
And before I know it, a few hours have gone by and I’m in another city. This time, the nation’s capital, with an equally beautiful train station

(Union Station Interior)
with gorgeous architecture
and history right outside the station doors.
Next month, when I take the train again, the sights outside my window will include the changing fall foliage. Inspired by the new season and the ease of train travel, I wanted to bake a quick, portable, fall treat this weekend — Pumpkin Granola Bars!
This recipe, with a substitution encouraged by its creator, is from My Baking Addiction.


Yield: 12-16 bars

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil, allowing for a 1 inch overhang on the sides of the pan. Lightly spray foil with non-stick baking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla until smooth.

Pour wet ingredients over oats and stir until oats are moistened. Stir in cranberries, dark chocolate chips, pecans, and pumpkin seeds.

Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cut into bars. Can also be enjoyed crumbled over ice cream or yogurt.

 

DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO WASHINGTON, DC: 136 miles

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