A holiday recipe for Savory Chicken and Bacon 'Cupcakes' With Tabasco Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 18

Cupcakes

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup onion, cut into 1/8-inch-dice

1/3 cup celery, cut into 1/8-inch-dice

1/3 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-dice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup cornmeal

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1 egg

1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained well

3/4 cup small-diced cooked chicken breast (about 3 ounces)

5 strips cooked bacon, chopped fine (about 1/3 cup chopped)

Frosting

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Garnish: 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions or chives

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. To make the cupcakes: Spray nonstick mini-muffin tins with cooking spray. (The muffin tin cups should be about 1 3/4 inches in diameter.) Set aside.

3. In a small skillet or sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion, celery and bell pepper for about 3 to 4 minutes, until just starting to get tender. Add the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds more. Let cool.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and Old Bay seasoning. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and sour cream.

5. When the sautéed vegetables are cool, add the cornmeal mixture to the egg mixture and mix lightly. Fold in the drained corn, cooked chicken, cooked bacon and vegetables along with any butter remaining in the pan. Do not overmix; fold in just until evenly distributed.

6. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup, dividing the batter between 18 small cups. (You want to fill them to the top.) Bake the cupcakes for about 14 to 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake centers comes out clean. Rotate the pans after the first 7 to 8 minutes of baking.

7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan and let cool briefly on a wire rack before frosting. The cupcakes can be made up to 1 day in advance, covered and refrigerated before frosting. Storing these in the refrigerator is imperative as the chicken would spoil if left at room temperature for an extended period of time. (If reheating them, warm them for a minute or so in a 350-degree oven before frosting.)

8. To prepare the frosting: In a small bowl, mash the cream cheese with a fork, then whisk in the milk and Tabasco until smooth and creamy. Top each cupcake with about 1 teaspoon of frosting then sprinkle with green onion for garnish. Serve warm.

Copyright 2010 by Kathy Casey Food Studios® Liquid Kitchen™ (www.kathycasey.com)