Tag Archives: Saffron

Bacon and Vanilla Fregola Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting….


This is a recipe I came up with for the Marx Foods Dessert Challenge! I had never had Fregola before until now and we were instructed to make a dessert with it. We were also sent bourbon vanilla beans, star anise, and saffron. I wanted to do something out of the ordinary while being something sweet and savory so here it is! Enjoy! Please vote for my recipe HERE. 

These turned out to be amazing! I really enjoyed the Fregola texture incorporated into the cupcake. The maple syrup that the fregola was cooked in really worked well I thought. The vanilla and bacon hints tied it all together in this sweet and savory dessert!

Prep Time: 30 min

Bake Time: 20-25 min

Serves: 24 (regular cup cake size)



  • 1 C. Dry Fregola
  • 1 Vanilla beans
  • 2 C. Water
  • 1/4 C. Maple syrup
  • 20 Saffron threads

Cup Cakes

  • 1 C. Unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 2 C. Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla bean pod, scraped of seeds (use the seeds).
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 C. All purpose flour
  • 1 TBS Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 C. Skim milk
  • 24  Cupcake paper liners
  • 3/4 lb Bacon, cooked and crispy ( you know how I like it, nitrate free like Applegate Farms).

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 Stick of salted butter
  • 1 Vanilla bean pod, scraped of beans.
  • 2 C. Confectioner’s sugar, sifted.



  1. Wash fregola under cold water.
  2. Add fregola to a pot of: 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 20 saffron threads, and vanilla beans, and pod.
  3. Boil for 20 min.
  4. Remove vanilla pod and drain (do not rinse again).

Cup Cakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to cream. Gradually add the vanilla and eggs and mix in well. Sift together the dry ingredients; then mix into the butter mixture alternating with the milk.
  3. Add prepared Fregola.
  4. Pour batter into cupcake paper-lined muffin tins filling them 3/4 full. Bake until puffed and firm in the center and light golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Once cool frost the cupcakes with your cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla beans, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.


Disclaimer: Marx Foods sent me samples of their products in order to participate in this contest. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.


Whole Snapper Paella


Valencians use the word paella for all pans, including the specialized shallow pan used for cooking paellas. However, in most of Spain and throughout Latin America, the term paellera is more commonly used for this pan, though both terms are correct, as stated by the Royal Spanish Academy, the body responsible for regulating the Spanish language.[15][16] Paellerasare traditionally round and shallow, made of polished steel with two handles.[17]

Prep: 15 min

Cook: Time 30 min

Serves: 2


  • 1 whole wild snapper, 1-1.5 lbs
  • 1 C whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 12 asparagus tips
  • 12 thick mushroom slices
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 2 TBS butter
  • Spices ground together in mortar and pestle: 20 saffron threads, 10 peppercorns (mixed colors), 1 tsp sea salt, 8 dried tepin chiles, 1/4 tsp sumac
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped and roasted in oven on 350 for 15 min or until golden brown ( sprinkle on paella when done before serving).


  1. In a large paella pan spray a few shots of Olive Oil Pam and then lay the couscous down.
  2. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture onto couscous evenly and lime juice.
  3. Lay snapper in the middle of pan.
  4. Arrange asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, and shallots in a circle around snapper.
  5. Pour chicken stock on the circle around the fish.
  6. Lay lemon slices on top of snapper.
  7. Sprinkle remaining spice on top of everything.
  8. Top fish with 2 TBS of butter.
  9. Seal tightly with foil or parchment paper.
  10. Cook  for 30-35 min @ 425 degrees.
  11. Sprinkle paella with garlic crunchies and serve up snapper with a side of couscous!


Mortar and Pestle on FoodistaMortar and Pestle