Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Maple Bourbon Bacon Donuts

If there was ever a bakery that speaks to the rebel in me that wishes to spend days covered in tattoos, wearing leather pants and baking tasty treats, Bleeding Heart Bakery, would fit the bill. I secretly dream of working in a place where sugar and butter rule and is an escape for people in the middle of the endless workday.

I may not be able to work in sugar but my baking can be influenced by that life. This recipe is a variation of the sour cream donuts I made back in July and was inspired by the bacon obsession sweeping through Chicago. Bleeding Heart covers bacon in chocolate, sprinkles it on baked goods and injects it into cookies. I also had a maple bacon donut at Nightwood Café, which is located in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago and it was truly amazing. The maple frosting dripped seductively off the warm donut and the bacon was still glistening as if it had just been fried up on the spot. I had to taste it slowly and let it melt in my mouth so I could truly savor the mind-altering sensation that ensued after my first bite.

I changed the recipe a bit by eliminating the streusel topping and replacing it with crispy bacon bits on top of a bourbon maple glaze. Add as much or as little of the Bourbon as you like depending on the week you have been having. I put in about a tablespoon.

Final note, donuts, as anyone who has ever made them knows, is a bit of an undertaking but completely worth it.

Enjoy! AJ - xo

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake

A very disturbing thing happened the other day. A wonderful and very thoughtful friend brought me a very sweet treat from a little bakery that shall remain nameless. The treat was supposed to be a Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake and I was excited to try something that sounded and looked so good. So you can imagine my disappointment when the treat was anything but sweet, not to mention completely lacking in taste. Don't you hate it when that happens? You expect to be wowed and end up ingesting something that could be mistaken for chalk. It's like a slap in the face!

There's not a lot that gets under my skin as much as bad food from a bakery whose sole purpose in life is to churn out great baked goods. In my insulted state, I did what anyone would do, I found a recipe and made my own. I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen and knew it would be amazing just from reading the ingredients. I switched out the graham cracker crumbs for ginger snaps and the result was fantastic and worked wonderfully with the pumpkin and spice filling. After tasting this, my bitterness over that bakery's utter failure, slowly faded away. I am now in a blissful state of forgiveness. Enjoy!