Since I don’t eat meat, I never got onboard the whole chocolate-and-bacon trend, but even if I did eat meat, the thought of greasy bacon on a cupcake or covered in chocolate makes me a little bit queasy. I’m all for savory-sweet combinations, but I can’t wrap my brain around that one.
Now coconut bacon, that’s a different story. Coconut bacon is everything good about actual bacon — the subtle sweetness, the smokiness, the crispiness, that salty, savory flavor everyone loves — but without the greasiness or the meat. This is a bacon that is made for pairing with chocolate.
It’s also a bacon for pairing with doughnuts.
Coconut bacon, if you haven’t made it before, is a really simple substitute — raw coconut flakes are tossed with tamari or soy sauce, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, maple syrup, water, and cracked black pepper, then baked in the oven until they’re crispy. We’ve added them to a salad back in May, and they can be used in most ways you’d use store-bought bacon bits. Once you’ve given it a try, you’ll want to have a batch on hand at all times — it’s good stuff.
Anyway, back to the doughnuts. These are baked doughnuts, so they’re a little bit different than the kind you get at Krispy Kreme. I don’t like cake doughnuts, because they’re much too dense and dry for me, and the squishy doughnuts always leave me wanting more (I’m convinced they’re 90% air, 10% doughnut), but these baked doughnuts are what would happen if cake doughnuts and squishy doughnuts had a baby — they’re soft and tender, but they have a little more heft to them than a Krispy Kreme. Oh, and since they’re made with flax egg and almond milk, they’re vegan too!
Because I didn’t want the taste of the doughnuts to compete with the topping, I flavored them with just a touch of vanilla. Then I dipped them in a thick chocolate glaze — one might even describe it as a luxurious chocolate glaze — and topped them with their crowning glory, smoky coconut bacon. Oh yes! To make them even smokier, I sprinkled a tiny bit of smoked sea salt on top too, although this is optional.
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If you eat these doughnuts right away, the coconut bacon will be crisp, but if you let them sit for a while, the coconut will soften a little bit as it absorbs the moisture from the glaze. We enjoyed the heck out of these both ways, but fresh-and-crispy had a slight edge, so if you can, you might want to bake these in advance and then glaze ’em and bacon ’em before serving.
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