Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bacon Maple Bar vs. Bacon Maple Bar

I heard from a family member up in Everett, WA, USA, about a couple of local shops that both sell fresh bacon maple bar doughnuts about seven blocks from each other, so I was curious as to which of them was better. Feeling adventurous and wanting to compare them first-hand and as in-depth as I could, I went to both shops, bought one doughnut each, and then later tried them at home.
Here's what I found:

Pictured: Left, Henry's Donuts. Right, Karl's Bakery & Cafe.
Having a personal love for bacon, I immediately determined that Karl's does not have enough bacon on it, but that it looks bigger and is completely hand-made.
Henry's just looks like a store-bought maple bar that someone just stuck on a bunch of bacon bits with a slight bit of extra icing.
Karl's is also noticeably heavier, as though made with more wholesome ingredients.

You can see how Karl's is slightly taller. Already my stomach was crying out for Karl's, but that my taste buds were aching for all that bacon on Henry's.

Another delicious view of the two competitors.

Cutting the two in halves for tasting purposes, I was surprised by how hard it was to cut Henry's, and by how it caved in and forced me to be careful not to flatten it. It was as though it were made hardly of anything. I imagined chewing it would be rather doughy. The Karl's was super easy to cut, especially since the outside was crispy, it didn't cave in like Play-dough, and since the bread part didn't stick to the knife.

Let the games begin!

*nom nom*

Detailed Results:

Winner on bacon: Surprise! Karl's won!
Reason: Henry's bacon was not only overpoweringly salty, but it also had a strong hint of a chemical flavor, as though it were an artificial bacon flavoring or smoked flavoring. That was awful. I truly did not expect that. I wanted to eat and taste bacon, but instead, I got bacon and fake bacon. Please, give me one or the other, folks. Putting in both good and bad only puts them in a wild boxing ring, not at all complimenting each other. *clash!*
Improvement suggestion for Karl's: Add just a little more salt, and add a lot more bacon, then I'll be dancing.

Winner on icing: Tie. 
Reason: I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the two. The texture and the amount was about the same, and both competitors didn't have as much icing as I expected.
Improvement suggestion for Karl's: When you put on the bacon, I suggest using a stickier icing to sort of glue on the bacon (that, or press the bacon a little harder into the icing), because my first bite involved losing a mouth-watering chunk of bacon [and other little pieces] to the floor... and then my dog ate it. Also, I imagined more of a creamy texture to melt around those meaty chunks, so maybe have the icing be hardened on the outside and creamier on the inside (It would compliment the texture of the breading, which I'm going to get to in just a second). In addition, I kept waiting for more of a maple flavor to compliment the bacon, so I'd say: Either more icing or a tiny bit more maple extract should do the trick.

Winner on breading/dough: Karl's! Yay!
Reason: Not only was it the taste and texture that made the kill, but it was also how it changed during the chewing process. A lot of people don't realize the importance of having a doughnut with an excellent bread part to it (in fact, they couldn't care less about it), but they sure will consider it once they try this one! The taste was like a sweet, home-made bread baked by someone's neighborhood-famous grandma. ...Make that world-famous. The texture was phenomenal. It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. But it was not chewy or doughy. I could tell that much thought and effort was made into making the recipe just right. I liked it so much, I turned the doughnut upside-down and took a bite of just the breading. I determined that it was so delicious, I'd be willing to eat it even without icing or anything else on top or filled inside. The fun part was chewing it and not once finding it turning into a chewy, near-tasteless, pasty glop that gets stuck to my gums, teeth, or the roof of my mouth. I appreciated that very much. 

Another thing about the different textures: Biting into the two doughnuts was also interesting, I might add. Similar to the case with cutting it with the knife, the Henry's went almost completely flat when I took each bite. There was hardly anything in there to begin with. It looked deceptively the same as the Karl's on the inside, but the compositions were hardly related enough to be cousins. I don't know what either were made of, but one thing's for sure: Traditional store-bought doughnuts are not real doughnuts. I'm not buying those again, not after what I've learned. I'll still eat them when someone offers one to me or if they're around and I'm "hungry", but I'm not throwing my dollars away to artificially-flavored air.

Needless-to-say final verdict: The Karl's Bakery & Cafe bacon maple bar totally wins this!

Oh, and comparing the prices:
Henry's Donuts bacon maple bar: $1.80
Karl's Bakery & Cafe bacon maple bar: $2.50
Even though Karl's is more, it's better worth buying. It's bigger, better, more filling, healthier (as far as doughnuts go), and... at the time - now, I don't really know if this was just a deal of the day or anything, but... I also got another doughnut (for my sister) for the price of one. So, buy one get one free? Not bad, Karl's! Not related to the bacon maple bar, I have to note that Karl's has a wider selection of bakery items, and they're a lot fancier, too. It was my first time in there, and now will definitely not be my last.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. I haven't tried anything else at either of the two places, so I'm not saying Henry's Donuts itself is bad, only their bacon maple bar. But, each to their own tastes. I have yet to compare many other things over time. Explore your own taste buds!