I guess you could say I’m a little late to the party posting a recipe for maple bacon doughnuts, but then, I’ve never had anyone complain when I make doughnuts.

I love the concept of maple with bacon. They just go together. Remember when I made those maple bacon pecan bars last fall? That’s what I’m talking about. The problem with most maple bacon doughnuts you can buy (at least, at any of the doughnut shops I’ve seen), is they’re made with fake maple syrup. Now I’m a girl who grew up in New England, and then lived for a year and a half in Québec, so the fake maple syrup thing is just not happening. But I could never figure out how to get an all-natural really maple tasting frosting, let alone one with that nice golden maple color.

And then I found maple sugar. It’s so expensive (like $13.00 or more a pound!), but it’s not like we make these everyday, and it really makes the recipe here. And you only need three-fourths of a cup, so that’s doable, right? I found mine at the bulk section of my local health food store. When you’re trying to track some down, I suggest calling first to make sure the store has it. If none of the stores carry it, you can always buy it online.

To make the maple icing sugar, all you do is pulse the maple sugar a few times in a coffee grinder (which I use for spices) or in a food processor, and you end up with powdered maple sugar. Since it’s so intense on its own, I add a little bit of regular powdered sugar to balance it out when I make the frosting.

maple bacon doughnuts

1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 package (1 scant tablespoon) instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed to 110ºF
4 slices thick cut all-natural bacon (I bought mine at Whole Foods)
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
8 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
maple frosting (recipe follows)

1. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flours, brown sugar, yeast, and salt. Pour in butter and milk, and mix on low until combined, scraping down the bowl if necessary. Raise the speed to a 2 if using a KitchenAid, or to the best speed for kneading if using another brand of mixer. Knead dough for 10 minutes. Scrape dough onto a floured board and knead a couple times by hand. Oil the bowl and place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.

2. While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 425ºF. Place bacon strips on a wire rack set over a parchment paper lined baking sheet (a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil works well, too). Brush the bacon strips with maple syrup. Cook for about 15-25 minutes (depending on the intensity of your oven, and the thickness of the bacon), or until the bacon is crisp and to your liking. Check often and remove pieces early if they cook faster than others. Remove from oven and cool. Crumble into pieces or use kitchen shears to cut into small pieces.

3. In a heavy bottomed pot or in a deep fryer, heat the vegetable oil to about 325-340ºF. While it comes to temperature, pour out risen dough onto a lightly floured rolling surface. Roll dough out to about 1/4-inch. Use cookie cutters to cut into rounds or whatever shape you like (If you have a maple leaf cutter, use that! I just now thought of that . . . that would have been cool.), or you can just use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into rectangles to make maple bars. To make my traditional doughnut shape with the hole in the middle, I use a 4 1/2-inch round cutter and use the bottom of a large pastry tip to cut out the middle hole. Place shapes on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise while the oil heats.

4. Cook about 3-4 doughnuts at a time, about 1 minute on each side, until the doughnuts are golden and crisp. Remove and let drain on paper towels. If you are using the stove, keep an eye on the temperature to make sure it stays in the 325-340ºF range. Reduce the heat if it starts to overheat.

5. Dip each doughnut in the frosting and place on a cooling rack. Top with bacon pieces.

maple frosting

3/4 cup maple sugar (available at health food stores in the bulk section)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, and add more white powdered sugar or maple syrup, to achieve the consistency you want.