Will maple and bacon ever replace chocolate and peanut butter?
The winning flavor combination of maple and bacon has never been lost on me. I’ve dipped bacon into my plate of syrup-drenched morning pancakes since I was a wee one. The crisp, salty bacon and its smoky undertones play so well against the sweet and velvety syrup. Couple this nearly magical mouth experience with the general mainstreaming of bacon (and the fanaticism which followed), and it is easy to see why pastry chefs are incorporating the maple/bacon sensation into their repertoire.
An Omaha-based craze for maple bacon donuts has served as impetus for hundreds of other interpretations by donut and coffee shops across the country. Over the summer here in Buffalo, Bistro Europa offered a maple bacon milkshake on their constantly changing dessert menu. I myself prepared maple bacon peanut brittle for holiday hostess gifts last year; inspired by a similar offering from an artisan candy maker I stumbled upon via the internet.
If you are looking to sample a fun example of the umami-laced flavor combo, stop in to Zillycakes. At the bakery’s unique custom cupcake bar, customers can choose from a variety of cupcake flavors, icings and toppings, designing a cupcake most suited to their personal preferences. On a recent visit I selected the maple cupcake, studded with smoky bits of bacon and best accented with Zillycakes’ classic cream cheese icing and a nibble of candied bacon on top. It was a rich and satisfying treat, as well as a great conversation starter for the next few parties I’ll attend. Stop in over the next few weeks if you’d like to sample the maple bacon cupcake yourself.
I expect that we’ll see this daring duo in many food and drink applications over the next year or so. I don’t know if it has the longevity of other tasty marriages such as salt/caramel or lemon/mint, but it should be fun while it lasts.
1008 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222