Baking-Sweet, Salty and delicious!

Recently I was in the mood for baking, I think the cold weather makes me crave warmth. What goes better with hot coffee or tea than something baked fresh and out of the oven.  Well on this occasion not only did I want to bake I wanted to jump dive into some delicious bacon. So with that in mind my creative direction went straight to adding bacon to my recipes to create that salty sweet craving that seems to sneak up on me every now and again. 
There is such a variety of bacon on the market, but for these special treats all I needed was really good tasty side bacon. You know which one I mean, that old fashioned sliced kind of thick from the market that once it hits a hot pan, you can see the fat start to render off and the hearty thickness of pork belly start to cook up only to see it retain most of it’s shape and flavour. This is what worked for me in these recipes as I tried to “crumble” the bacon I found that chopping it was really going to give me the right texture for the baked goods. 
Now this is where I have to stop because during my recipe creation process I felt that baking was only going to do for one of the recipes, the other will be fried. Yes I decided to make a donut as well. Something I haven’t done in a long while and with my bacon class getting closer I thought this would be a perfect time to get experimental. 
All this talk about Tim Horton’s and the donuts they were removing from their menu, I thought this would be a good time for me to start making them! 
The biscuits came out of love of all the ingredients I had on hand; bacon, dates and blue cheese. Oh yummy indeed. Brunch was looking good for a weekend! 
I hope you enjoy these recipes and give them a try. The biscuits are perfect to make into mini size and serve them as an appetizer or add them to a weekend brunch with poached eggs. The donuts however could also join a brunch but my favourite is to bite into one warm and sit back and enjoy a tea leisurely while I dream of the sun warming me up. 

Blue Cheese, Medjool Date and Bacon Biscuits

Sit back and enjoy a wonderful biscuit that combines the sweet rich flavour of Medjool dates and the salty smoky taste of bacon and blue cheese. Try serving these up at your next family brunch and make them smaller to feed a bigger crowd with other offerings alongside.

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) cornmeal
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup (175 mL) butter cut into small cubes
3/4 cup (175 mL) Natural Delights Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped cooked bacon
1/3 cup (75 mL) crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup (175 mL) 18% table cream (approximately)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and pepper. Using fingers, add butter and rub butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs start to form. Using a fork, stir in dates, bacon and blue cheese. Drizzle cream over top of mixture, tossing with fork until mixture starts to come together.

Gather up dough together with your hands and place on floured surface. Knead gently a few times to bring together. Pat out dough to form about a 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick circle. Cut into 8 wedges and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in centre of preheated 425 F (220 C) oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. 

Makes 8 biscuits.

Tip: Let cool completely and wrap individually with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Warm through in the microwave or in the oven before serving.

Apple Cinnamon Bacon Donuts

Just as Tim Horton’s is taking away some of their donuts, I think I’m going to start creating some! These combine many of my favourite ingredients including bacon inside and on top of the donuts.

1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
1/3 cup (75 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
1 tbsp (15 mL) traditional active yeast
1/4 cup (60 mL) cooked crumbled bacon
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) all purpose flour (approx)
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Maple Bacon Glaze:
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) pure maple syrup
4 tsp (20 mL) milk
1/4 cup (60 mL) cooked crumbled bacon

In a small saucepan, heat milk, butter and sugar over medium heat until sugar and butter melt. Remove from heat and whisk in applesauce, vanilla and cinnamon. Sprinkle in yeast and let stand for about 10 minutes or until frothy. 

Whisk together flour and salt. Stir flour mixture and bacon into milk mixture to form soft ragged dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead dough until smooth. Place in oiled boil, cover and let rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Punch down dough and roll out to about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thickness. Using a glass, donut  or cookie cutter cut out donuts and place on flour sprinkled tea towel lined baking sheet. Let rise for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil to about 350 F (180 C). Once oil is ready, start frying donuts a few at a time, turning over when side is golden (about 2 minutes). Remove with slotted spoon onto paper towel lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Maple Bacon Glaze: In a bowl, whisk together icing sugar, maple syrup and milk. Dip each donut top into glaze and set on cooling rack. Sprinkle with bacon and let stand to set before enjoying.

Makes about 1 dozen donuts.

Tip: To make square or rectangle donuts, simply roll out the dough and cut into 12 rectangles. Cut some in half to make minis.


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