The Kitchen Prep: Tailgate Thursday: Arkansas Edition!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tailgate Thursday: Arkansas Edition!

I was thisclose to giving myself a "bye week" on today's Tailgate Thursday. Birthdays sure do take a lot out of you! {Especially when you're turning 31! Bleh.}

Luckily, I had already made and photographed some of today's tailgate snacks a few weeks ago in anticipation of a week that I wouldn't have time to get everything together by Thursday. Always thinkin'!

Today I'm sharing recipes for an Arkansas Razorbacks tailgate. The University of Arkansas is located in Fayetteville, and I have actually had the pleasure of attending a game there a few years back. {In 2008 actually... wow, that was a while ago!}

Clockwise from top left: The stadium on gameday, 2. Scoreboard before the game,
3. Getting some food at Grub's on Dickson St., 4. I spy Tim Tebow! ;)
Here's a little secret: I have a tiny bit of a soft spot in my heart for The Razorbacks.

You heard it here, folks.

Why is that, you ask? Well, after spending a weekend in Fayetteville, it was hard not to have some sort of appreciation for the people there. They were hands down the nicest football fans I've ever met. {Well, except for whomever stole our tailgate grill that weekend... but, let's face it, there's always one in the bunch.}

I've been to a few different towns for football games {wearing orange & blue, no less}, and I have to say that wearing the opposition's team gear on a gameday in a college town will show you their true colors mighty quick. {And please note that I am aware that visiting Gainesville on a gameday as a non-Gator can be just as unpleasant thanks to some fans who forget their manners after the first sip of beer. I do apologize.}

But, Arkansas fans? Now they knew how to show their visitors some true hospitality. So, here's to you Arkansas, keep it classy!

1. The "Woo Woo" Pig, 2. Hog-Hugged Sweet Potato Wedges
3. Piggy Print Cookies 4. Red Zone Dress by Twelve Saturdays
Today's cocktail, The "Woo Woo" Pig is a twist on the classic Woo Woo cocktail, made with raspberry liqueur rather than Peach Schnapps for a little extra sweetness and a deeper red hue to go with Arkansas' Cardinal Red color.

And though these Hog-Hugged Sweet Potato Wedges are so easy to prepare I can hardly call them a recipe... I guarantee they will be one of the most popular snacks on gameday. My husband and I could not stop picking at these when we made them. {And the Honey-Scallion dipping sauce? Amazing!}

Finally, these Piggy Print Cookies are not your average thumbprint cookie recipe. No ma'am. Because the little well in these babies... it's filled with candied bacon. No, really. Sort of disgusting how delicious these are. {And if you still haven't jumped aboard the "bacon in sweets" bandwagon, don't knock it 'til you've tried it!}

I can't speak for how Hogs & Gators get along in nature... but around here, they're friends! :)

The "Woo Woo" Pig
adapted from the classic Woo Woo cocktail

2 oz. of vodka {or white rum if you get hungover at the mere sight of vodka like I do}
1/2 oz. raspberry liqueur {such as Chambord}
2 oz. cranberry juice
A splash of sour mix, optional
1 lime wedge

Place all ingredients {including lime wedge} in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled glass.

Hog Hugged Sweet Potato Wedges with Honey-Scallion Sauce
Adapted from Food Network Magazine

2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced lengthwise into wedges {about 16}
8 slices of bacon {preferably center cut}, cut in half
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 scallions, chopped {white & green parts}
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Set aside.

Wrap each sweet potato wedge in bacon. Secure with a toothpick if needed. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and bacon is cooked and crisp.

Meanwhile, mix melted butter, honey, scallions, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together to combine.

Place potato wedges on a serving platter and serve with dipping sauce.

Piggy Print Cookies {Maple-Bacon Chocolate Chip Thumbprints}
Adapted from Cooking Channel TV

For Candied Bacon:

7-8 strips of bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar {I used plain white sugar & it still worked out, but brown would be even better}

For Cookies:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour {plus 2 or 3 extra tablespoons if dough is too wet}
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter {3/4 cup), melted & cooled
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon maple syrup {or 1 teaspoon maple extract}
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks

For Candied Bacon:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a separate plate, sprinkle each piece of bacon with sugar, patting lightly to adhere the sugar to the bacon.

Place on an oven-safe baking rack on top of the lined baking sheet. Arrange sugared bacon slices on baking rack, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until bacon is cooked and sugar is caramelized. {Keep an eye out for burning, it can happen quickly!}

Remove from oven and cool completely. Chop bacon into small bits. Set aside.

For Cookies:

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat together butter, brown sugar, eggs, and maple syrup or extract until smooth. Add dry ingredients a bit at a time until fully incorporated into a dough. {I added a few tablespoons of extra flour to stiffen dough because it looked a bit wet. Use your judgement when you make these.} Gently stir in dark chocolate chips.

Scoop by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet. Using your thumb, create an indentation in the center of each cookie. Fill with crumbled candied bacon, about 1/2 teaspoon for each.

Bake for 11-12 minutes or until just starting to get golden around the edges. Cool on a baking rack. {Or eat warm out of the oven... hog heaven!}


chineka said...

The maple bacon chocolate chip cookies look yummy. The pairing of bacon and sweet potatoes is clever. I'm going to have to try it out.

Teresa said...

Made the bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes for our Auburn-Mississippi State tailgate yesterday and they were a big hit - all gone in pre-game with none left for post-game snacking. Used maple syrup in the dipping sauce instead of honey and it was a great addition. Thanks for the great recipe!

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