Mixed Review: The Fresh Market's Maple Bacon Scones
I'm fascinated by supermarkets. If I'm visiting a new city, I always try to stop in and see what's for sale. So when a friend spent a week in South Carolina, I asked him to bring me back the most interesting thing he could find at the local Fresh Market, a grocery store that's predominately in the South and Southeast.
He brought me this box of Maple Bacon Scone Mix. I'll admit I rolled my eyes (and somewhere my father rolled his eyes and told me not to look a gift horse in the mouth.) It's just that I am pretty much over the whole bacon-in-sweets trend, having never really been on board to begin with. (I'll keep my meat and sweets separate, thanks.)
From common courtesy if nothing else, I knew I had to make the mix. So I rolled up my sleeves and quieted my fears that these scones would be of the same ilk as the lame, confused, meaty-sweet treats that gave the bacon trend its death knell.
Like other boxed scone mixes, this one requires very little in the way of additions. You add one cup of heavy cream to the mix, and stir. This mix has one extra component: a sealed pouch of bacon bits. I was encouraged by the notice stamped on the package that I was to refrigerate the bits after opening, and discouraged by the number of ingredients listed after "bacon."
While the scones were in the oven, I got a serious craving for waffles. It took me 5 minutes too long to realize this was because the smell of maple syrup was wafting heavily from my oven. I took a peak at the scones, which were browning nicely, and got considerably more excited.
Given the maple I had smelled during baking, I was surprised to find that the flavor of bacon dominated the scone. It wasn't just when I got a bite of bacon bit, either—bacon was uniformly present throughout the entire pastry. A quick look at the ingredients for the powdered mix confirmed my suspicion. The mix includes those sneaky "natural flavors" which make it impossible to guess what's actually in anything these days.
Still, I kind of liked the flavor. It tasted more like pork than like Bacon Bits, with a notable roundness and heavy dose of smoke. The key to these scones success is that they are neither aggressively salty nor overly sweet. And what sweetness there is tastes of maple, not corn syrup, and it melds quite well with the smokey pork flavor. The texture is good as well: soft with only lightly crispy edges, not dry, cakey, or crumbly.
I surprised myself by thinking "I would eat this," and even, "I could split this in half and put a fried egg on top." I realized I wanted to add another nail to bacon-sweets' coffin—but I'll have to wait for another day.
Has anyone else tried this mix? What do you think of bacon in sweets?