Bacon Bourbon Doughnuts | amber wilson

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.

Bacon Bourbon Doughnuts | for the love of the south

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 | amber wilson

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.



Bacon Bourbon Brittle | for the love of the southHalloween used to be a much simpler time. I remember dressing up like a genie, head to toe in cheap magenta polyester, lagging around a plastic pumpkin pail. The pumpkin and I grinned from ear to ear as we both filled to the brim with sweet treats. Under the cover of night, my friends and I scurried around the neighborhood, harmoniously shrilling “trick or treat” to whoever dared open their front doors. We sat on the curb at the end of the evening, rummaging through our loot of glassine bags chockfull with homemade cookies, crinkled parchment wrapped caramels and silver foil bound candies.

Now a day, kids saunter through the streets with their parents at hand and go door-to-door during the “safety hours” of dusk. Instead of the homemade caramels and brittle and popcorn balls, youngsters are only allowed to relish in prepackaged candies, for fear there may be a razors or poison in the candy. Razors or poison? Since when did Halloween get so treacherous? I long for the days when the faces on jack-o-lanterns were the creepiest part of the evenings, grinning from ear to ear from the dimly lit porch lights.

So here is a treat of homemade bacon bourbon brittle, not for the kiddies trick or treating this year, but for myself. I will devour this brittle on the couch, in the dark watching Arsenic and Old Lace, nibbling and awaiting the end of this scary season whichsomersaults into Thanksgiving and cartwheels onto Christmas. No tricks, just treats (which just so happens to be my favorite part of this holiday.) I’ll grin ear to ear like the pumpkin on the front porch, eating my homemade candy, dreaming of a simpler world, or at least a simpler Halloween.

Bacon Bourbon Brittle | for the love of the southRecipe: Bacon Bourbon Brittle

Serves 8

Vegetable oil, for greasing parchment paper

½ cup of sugar

¼ cup of light corn syrup

1 ½ tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon of butter

3/8 teaspoon of baking soda

1 tablespoon of bourbon

½ cup of crispy bacon, torn into small pieces

Sea salt, to sprinkle

Brush a parchment-lined baking sheet with vegetable oil; set aside. Bring sugar, corn syrup and water to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Fit the saucepan with a candy thermometer and cook until the thermometer registers 290 degrees, 3-4 minutes.

Stir in butter, cook, stirring often until the thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Take off heat and add baking soda, bourbon and bacon pieces. Stir together and immediately spread onto prepared, greased parchment paper and spread with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt. Let cool and break the brittle into pieces. Enjoy!

Make Ahead: Brittle can be made one week ahead. Store airtight, layered between pieces of parchment paper at room temperature.


Bacon Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs were always the last dish prepared on Easter Sunday. There was a reason for that indeed. In southern Louisiana, there is a tradition carried on every year called pâqueing (pronounced: pocking). Dyed Easter eggs are the victims in this little ritual. The sacrifice is great and the outcome even greater, multi-colored deviled eggs! Back to pâqueing though… every person grabs a dyed egg and with both little ends, you begin the tap the egg. The one that doesn’t crack, wins! Everyone goes on from person to person until all of the eggs have been used. Then we are left with cracked hard-boiled eggs…oh, you know where I am going with this…We quickly finished preparing the eggs just like we would with any other deviled eggs (or should I say angel eggs because grandma would not allow the devil to be part of Easter). Finally, we were left with a crystal egg plate filled with rainbow-colored eggs! Hallelujah!

* Note: this recipe contains normal hard-boiled eggs, not dyed ones!

Recipe: Makes 24: Adapted from Bon Appetit February 2012

12 eggs

2 tablespoons of melted butter

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

2 teaspoons of mustard

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 scallion, sliced for garnish

Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Place eggs in a large pot. Add enough water to cover over the eggs about 1 inch. Bring the eggs to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Then transfer the eggs to an ice water bath and let cool completely. Peel and halve lengthwise while removing the yolks. Finely mash the yolks, butter, mayonnaise, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Transfer the mixture to a sealable bag and push all of the mixture to one of the corners. Snip off the end of the bag and pipe the filling into the remaining egg whites. Garnish with bacon pieces and scallions.



Cornbread was our traditional Sunday supper.  I can remember the smell of hot oil heating up in a skillet in the oven. That seasoned skillet was waiting patiently to be anointed with the humble, sunny cornbread batter that my paw-paw carefully mixed together.  My paw-paw’s cornbread was like an unsweetened corn cake. My mom would serve everyone his or her own wedge of bliss. The crunchy bottom of the cornbread was always mysteriously gone from my slice (which so happened to be my mom’s favorite part).  We filled our white bowls with the savory bread and christened it with milk and sugar.  At desperate moments to stay up and play cards, we snuck Community Coffee into our bowls.  Happiness and sunshine fit in-between my two hands on Sunday nights.

Inspired by Highlands Bar & Grill cornbread recipe. Yum!


¼ cup of bacon fat

¼ cup of melted butter

1 ¼ cup of buttermilk

½ cup of milk

½ cup of flour

1 tsp. salt

2 cups of cornbread mix

2 Tbsp. honey

1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 4500

Put the skillet in the oven when preheated

Mix 2 cups of cornbread mix, flour and salt in bowl. Then add buttermilk, milk, butter, honey and all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Stir to combine. Add egg to batter.

Coat hot skillet with bacon fat and let sit in the oven for at least 5 minutes

Once the skillet it piping hot, add the golden batter and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top. Enjoy!