Is there a more contemporary-turned-classic breakfast treat than the maple-bacon doughnut? We don't think so. Combining some of our favorite morning meal picks — bacon, maple syrup, and doughnuts — it's a complete package rolled into one pastry.
Obviously, a good maple-bacon doughnut is the sum of its three parts. The maple and bacon need to complement each other in both texture and salty-sweet balance. The underlying doughnut must have the right combination of fluffy and fried bread, functioning as the ultimate delivery device for its more flavorful toppings.
In search of maple-bacon doughnut excellence, we stopped by two Valley doughnut shops, Welcome Chicken + Doughnuts and Born & Glazed, to see which one championed in a duel of breakfast sweets.
In This Corner: Welcome Chicken + Donuts
The Setting: A chicken-and-doughnut store on the edge of South Phoenix? Yes, please. The shop occupies a stand-alone building that once belonged to a Mr. T's BBQ and Chili Emporium, retaining some of the old fast food kitsch while a new paint job, a few selections of wall art, and a pastry case stuffed with colorful doughnuts make it one of the quirkiest and hippest places around.
The Good: Welcome's doughnut was lightly fried, soft, airy, and gently sweet. It pulled apart easily in our hands but maintained its shape and form while we ate. The maple icing tasted like real maple syrup, while the bacon on top was fresh. Fried and precisely salted, the bacon had a tender texture and a satisfying crunch on its edges. Together, the sweet and salty maple-bacon combo was balanced and well executed.
The Bad: We had a hard time finding something not to like about Welcome's doughnut. However, we might have been happier if the bacon strips were cut in slightly smaller pieces and therefore easier to bite into. From a visual side, we also thought smaller bacon pieces would have looked slightly better.
In This Corner: Born & Glazed
The Setting: Born & Glazed is a sleek shop situated in a strip mall on Hayden and Osborn roads in Scottsdale. Decorated with neutral colors and modern-industrial accents, Born & Glazed is clean, bright, and undeniably on trend. We grabbed our doughnuts and posted up at one of the shiny, black-surfaced tables and enjoyed them while watching a surfing compilation on a nearby television screen.
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The Good: Our first impression of Born & Glazed's maple-bacon doughnut was that the icing tasted like our best childhood memories of maple long johns and other doughnut classics. The glaze was thick, coating most of the doughnut, and sugary sweet. The bacon was extra crispy, crumbly, with an almost Scotch-like smokiness. Together, we enjoyed the textural contrast of the very crunchy bacon playing off the thick, syrupy icing.
The Bad: We were underwhelmed by the quality of Born & Glazed's doughnut. Though it looked airy and light, the doughnut was chewy and difficult to pull apart with our fingers. We were disappointed with how tough the bread was and had a hard time discerning any of the classic fried dough flavor.
The Winner: Though we think preferences between these two maple-bacon doughnuts ultimately comes down to personal taste in bacon preparation, we have to hand the crown to Welcome Chicken + Donuts. Although we liked the smoky, crunchy, and sweet layers of the Born & Glazed doughnut, the toughness of the bread set it back for us. Welcome's doughnut's balance of sweet and salty elements set atop a delicious, well-made doughnut made it both a culinary delight and a breakfast win.