Growing up, we had a ritual every Saturday morning in our house. My older sister and I piled into the family car: nightgown, tennis shoes, pink foam curlers, and all. Our destination: Delicious Donuts & Bakery on Nelson Road in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The bakery is a standalone shop across from a cemetery. It’s white with gray shutters and a matching gray metal roof, which made the most beautiful rap, tap, tap, tap sound on rainy mornings. There was a large ice chest in the front of the shop—I imagine fishermen would grab a few bags of ice for their catches of the day along with their morning doughnuts and coffee. We pulled up to the “drive-through”—the side window of the small house where we were greeted by the most heavenly scent of sweet dough. The sugar-coated stuffed doughnuts filled with berries and lemon curd were the ones my sister and I begged for. My parents ordered savory doughnuts called kalotchies, which were stuffed with boudin or crawfish tails. By the time we got home, my sister and I had faces covered in sugar and smiles.
Now that I’m older, I need my doughnuts to be sweet but balanced with a touch of saltiness. My Bourbon Bacon Doughnuts are what I’m craving on the weekends. Tucked away in the pockets of these cloudlike, lemon kissed brioche doughnuts are pieces of smoky, crispy bourbon scented bacon. They are generously filled with billowy, just-sweet-enough cream and topped with more irresistibly sweet and savory candied bourbon bacon. The aromatic oaky headiness of the bourbon and caramelly brown sugar beautifully compliments the smoky saltiness of the bacon. After the bacon cools, you are left with dazzling, irresistibly sweet, smoky slices, both ready to accompany the heavenly cream and adorn the doughnuts. There’s only one word to describe these, delicious.
*This post is sponsored by Jones Dairy Farm.
Bacon Bourbon Doughnuts
Makes 12 doughnuts
Jones Dairy Farm Dry Aged Cherrywood Smoked Bacon is the crowning glory to these doughnuts, and is a beautifully balanced bacon for this recipe. The center cut is perfect as it crisps up wonderfully, and it is slightly sweet, creating a lovely balance to the saltiness. Visit the Jones Dairy Farm site to find their Dry Aged Cherrywood Smoked Bacon near you!
PS If you can’t find superfine sugar, simply whiz up granulated sugar in a food processor for 30 seconds or so until superfine!
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ teaspoons rapid rise (fast-acting) yeast
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Sunflower oil, for greasing bowl
Peanut oil, for frying
Superfine sugar, for coating
Whipped Cream Filling, recipe below
Candied Bourbon Bacon, recipe below
In a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, eggs, lemon zest, and water. Beat on low speed until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball, about 1-2 minutes.
Continue mixing on low speed and slowly add the butter, about 1 teaspoon at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, mix on medium low speed until the dough is glossy, smooth, and elastic, about 8 minutes, scraping the dough down halfway.
Lightly grease a medium bowl with sunflower oil. Scoop the dough into the bowl, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 11⁄2 hours. Quickly knead the dough in the bowl to let the air out and tightly recover. Chill overnight or up to 24 hours.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Lightly flour a work surface and cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a tight ball, either by rolling the dough between your palms or on the work surface. Place on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle more flour on the tops of the dough. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
In a heavy-bottomed medium pot, heat 2 to 3 inches of peanut oil over medium heat to 360°F. Line a plate with paper towels. Once the oil preheats, gently pick up a ball of dough and carefully slide the dough into the oil. Place 2 more balls of dough into the oil and set a timer for 2 minutes. Gently flip the doughnuts and fry on the other side for an additional 2 minutes. Drain on the prepared plate for a minute or so. Toss the hot fried doughnuts into a shallow dish with the superfine sugar.
Repeat to fry the remaining dough in batches of three. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the thermometer, making sure the temperature of the oil stays at 360°F. Adjust the heat as needed as you are frying the doughnuts.
Once the doughnuts have cooled slightly, pierce down the “seam” of the doughnut with a paring knife stopping about ¾ of the way down, creating a pocket for the filling. Place a piece or two of the Candied Bourbon Bacon inside the pocket, and then generously fill with the Whipped Cream Filling and top with yet another piece of Candied Bourbon Bacon.
Whipped Cream Filling
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream begins to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue whisking until the cream is softly whipped, holding its shape but still silky and smooth.
Candied Bourbon Bacon
6 slices Jones Dairy Farm Dry Aged Cherrywood Smoked Bacon
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350oF.
Stir bourbon and brown sugar together in a small bowl.
Place the bacon slices onto a rimmed baking sheet fitted with parchment paper. Brush bourbon sugar onto both sides of the bacon slices. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 min or until beautifully brown.
Lift the bacon off of the parchment, letting the fat drip off and place it on a plate lined with parchment paper. Do not use a paper towel. The candied bacon will stick to it! The bacon will have a beautiful lacquered look and will harden as it cools.