Every March I fly to Los Angeles to eat In-N-Out burgers (double double animal style) and hang out with my best friend. Most years, I limit my LA food-related excursions to burgers and Korean bbq. But this past March, I shook things up a bit and went to Huckleberry. I had been pouring over their cookbook for a few months and it seemed like a good idea to check out the bakery. I won’t spend a lot of time telling you about what I ate, how I found it, etc. (if you’re eager to know, i’m happy to share!), but i will tell you this: I had a maple bacon biscuit while I was there that I have not forgotten.It was the perfect balance of sweet, salty and smoky in a crumbly and buttery package, and I loved it. When I got home, I wrote “maple bacon biscuit” into my notebook of must-make baked items, and called it a day. Cut to Monday when I was simultaneously paging though the aforementioned notebook, thinking about what I might blog about this week (that wouldn’t put me over the edge in light of it being the first week of school), and wondering what I’d be feeding my dinner guests come Saturday, and lo and behold, there was my scribbled note about Huckleberry’s biscuits, and my answer. Now because I have decided (for whatever asinine reason) that this blog (for now) will only include original recipes, I immediately took to my books to learn all the ins and outs of the fine art of maple-bacon-biscuit cookery.
I spent some time with Huckleberry’s recipe for the aforementioned biscuits, with Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the same, and with Shirley Corriher’s recipe for touch of grace biscuits (for the one billionth time) as I was thinking I might like to use some of my white lily flour for my maple bacon yumminess. The internet provided many (“slight”) adaptations of the Huckleberry and Smitten versions, but surprisingly very few (if any?) original ones, which was, of course, fine with me: I love a hole in the baking blogosphere.
Here’s how I filled it: A maple bacon biscuit made with white lily flour (rather than regular all purpose), an excessive amount of squishy-crunchy (a scientific term coined by two food-scientists I live with) bacon (ie: bacon that has both crispy bits and fatty bits), butter, plus a bit of bacon fat, maple syrup (in the dough), as well as atop the just baked biscuit, and creme fraiche (cause why not? it works in my scones and moreover, creme fraiche and white lily in the same recipe?? need i say more?). The resulting biscuits were everything I had hoped for and more — uber bacon-y, uber maple-y, and uber-tender (due to the creme fraiche, I’m thinking). My 12-year-old resident taste-tester declared them superb, as did the woman who cuts my hair, and I’m pretty sure you will, too.
Maple Bacon Biscuits
- 4 1/2 cups white lily flour or other self-rising flour
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter cold
- 10 or 11 slices of bacon
- 1/2 cup 2 Tbsp creme fraiche
- 1/2 cup maple syrup plus more for dribbling over freshly baked biscuits
- 1/4 cup bacon fat
For The Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp maple extract
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, spray a half sheet pan/cookie sheet and cover in parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and toss the butter in the flour until well-coated. Place the bowl in the refrigerator.
- Make the bacon on the stove-top in a large frying pan, in shifts, if you cannot fry all 10 pieces in the pan at the same time. I use medium-high to high heat and flip the bacon with tongs frequently while cooking it. Place the bacon on a plate lined with paper towel. Pour the grease into a measuring cup. Discard all but 1/4 cup and place the 1/4 cup of bacon fat in the fridge.
- Chop the bacon into small bits and set aside.
- Remove the flour and butter from the the fridge and using your fingers, work the butter into the flour until coarse, pebbly bits form. Add the bacon bits and toss to combine. Add the creme fraiche a few tablespoons at a time, using a wooden spoon to incorporate it into the flour and butter. Add the maple syrup and bacon fat and toss again. Once all of the floury bits have been absorbed, dump the dough out on to a floured work surface.
- Flour your hands — the dough is sticky — and gently press the dough into a large circle about 2 to 3 inches high — I basically make my biscuits as tall as the side of my biscuit cutter. Using a 3-inch floured cutter, begin cutting out biscuits. Do not twist the cutter as you make your biscuits. Press any scraps back together again and continue forming biscuits until you have used up all of your dough. Transfer the biscuits on to your prepared pan and place the pan in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
- Once frozen, prepare the egg wash by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking. Brush the biscuits with the wash and bake for 14 minutes, rotating after 7 mins. Immediately upon removing the biscuits from the oven, drizzle each biscuit with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Let cool slightly before serving with butter.