Bacon Cheddar Donuts
In September of 2014, Brandon and I were invited to join our friends on their vacation to Portland, Maine. They had been the year before, loved every second of it, and thought it would be fun to go back with another couple. So we packed our bags, overfed the cats, and drove up for Labor Day weekend.
It. Was. Glorious. We spent 4 days eating and drinking our way all over that city. If you've never been to Portland, GO. It is chuck full of famous breweries, distilleries, and amazing eateries. There's even cideries and meaderies! When you talk about Portland you get to pretend you're Dr. Seuss! Portland is home to Allagash Brewing Company, Shipyard Brewing Co., Maine Mead Works, Urban Farm Fermentory, Duckfat, and a magical, wondrous land called The Holy Donut.
The Holy Donut is perhaps the best donut shop I have ever been to. The downtown shop was high on our list of places we must go to while visiting Portland. Their secret is that they use mashed Maine potatoes in their dough, which gives the donuts a simultaneously dense and airy texture. You'd never know there was potatoes in the donuts. The potato flavor blends right in and acts as a perfectly neutral, wholesome canvas for the endless array of flavors The Holy Donut offers on a daily basis. They also use all fresh ingredients, and source their ingredients locally whenever possible. But that's not the reason I fell in love with them. No, no. You see, in addition to an impressively wide variety of sweet donut flavors, they also offer a savory donut.
Savory donut!!! Have you ever heard of such a thing?? The Holy Donut makes the most delectable, spectacular, bacon and cheddar filled donut. One bite into this flakey pastry and I was in heaven. It made the hike up the hill from the parking garage and waiting in line for 15 minutes completely worth it. Also, as a side note, I had one of the best chai tea lattes of my life there as well. And the cannoli donut wasn't anything to scoff at either.
But the bacon... And the cheddar!!! While the other donuts are allowed to cool, the bacon cheddar donuts are kept warm, so that each and every bite oozes with hot, gooey cheese and tender, salty bacon. If you're looking for a good hangover cure in Portland (which, let's be honest, the city is full of booze, so you will be), this is it. This actually was my hangover cure… We had gone to the Portland Brew Festival the night before. It worked like a charm! And I'm especially glad that Brandon and I each got our own. DO NOT SHARE THE BACON CHEDDAR DONUT. One bite and you'll be fighting each other to the death for the rest of it.
I was so in love with that donut that on our last day in Portland, while we were running around buying and eating last minute things, I insisted we go back to The Holy Donut so that I could take a little piece of heaven home. I bought two more of those glorious bastards, and drove them all the way back to Saratoga Springs, which, mind you, is a 5 hour drive. The next day, Brandon and I reheated our precious cargo in a low oven, till they were hot and perfect once more. I kid you not, as I ate that last bacon cheddar donut, tears filled my eyes, because I knew, with every fiber of my being, that it would be a very long time before I would feel the ecstasy of that moment once again. (The Holy Donut does not ship. I looked into it.)
Since I can't just run off to Portland every time I want a donut, I had to come up with a substitute. I discovered that if I take store-bought refrigerated biscuits and stuff them with diced bacon and sharp cheddar cheese, and then fry them in hot oil, rather than baking them, the flavor is ALMOST the same as those delectable enigmas from Maine that haunt my memories. It's no potato batter, that's for sure, but it certainly satisfies my cravings and keeps me from running away to Maine at the drop of a hat. For realz, it would get crazy expensive if I ran to Maine every time I got a craving for one of those magnificent donuts. Writing this post was hard enough.
Yield: 8 Donuts
- 1 can refrigerated biscuits (8 count)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4-6 strips bacon, cooked and diced
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Open the can of biscuits and separate them. Gently pull each biscuit open, leaving one edge still connected, creating a pocket within the biscuit.
- Place 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese in each biscuit pocket.
- Add a tablespoon of diced bacon to each biscuit, and top with more cheddar cheese.
- Fold up the biscuits and seal in the bacon and cheese by pinching the edges together. They should stick together pretty easily. Pinch out any excess air bubbles, and make sure all the bacon and cheese is locked inside the dough.
- In a heavy bottom pan, or large cast iron skillet, slowly heat about 1.5 inches of vegetable oil until hot. Heat the oil on low to prevent it from burning. Test the heat of the oil by dropping in a small piece of the biscuit dough. The oil is hot enough when the dough puffs up and turns golden brown.
- Using a slotted spoon, carefully place the filled biscuits in the hot oil. To ensure even cooking, do not crowd the biscuits in the pan. Only fry as many as will comfortably fit in the pan, keeping in mind that they will puff up and expand as they cook. I fried mine in 2 batchs of 4.
- Flip the biscuits after 2-3 minutes, once the bottom side has turned flakey and golden brown. Fry the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes. (Cooking times may vary depending on the heat of the oil. Watch your donuts closely and don't let them burn!)
- Once your biscuits (now donuts!) have reached your desired shade of golden brown wonderfulness, carefully remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Allow to cool for a few seconds, and serve!!