8 pieces thick-cut bacon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 to 3 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 savory doughnuts, recipe follows
8 large slices Cheddar cheese
4 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
12 cups (3 quarts) vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup roughly chopped scallions
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the bacon on a wire rack fitted over a baking sheet and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake until dark brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Break each slice in half and reserve.
Cut the tomatoes into 4 to 5 slices each. Place a large saute pan or grill/griddle pan over medium heat and add a pat of butter. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook until warmed through but still solid.
Cut the doughnuts in half and butter the outside of each half. Place 4 doughnut halves buttered-side down in the same pan. Layer on a slice of cheese, a few slices of grilled tomato, a dash of hot sauce, 1 to 2 bacon pieces and another slice of cheese. Place the 4 remaining doughnut halves on top to make sandwiches and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until the cheese is melted, the sandwiches are heated through and there is a nice crust on the bottom, another 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
Heat the oil to 365 to 375 degrees F in a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cheese, scallions, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream and egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine, making sure there are no dry bits left.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly coat with flour. Pat the dough into a 1-inch disc. Then, using a large glass dipped into flour, cut out rounds for the doughnuts. Press the dough back together to cut out another doughnut or 2. Dip your finger into the flour, then press it into the center of each doughnut while it is on the floured surface to create a hole. Move your finger around in the hole to make it larger. Turn the doughnut over and repeat on the other side to make sure the hole is clear and large.
When the oil is ready, place the doughnuts into the oil carefully and fry for 3 to 4 minutes per side. The doughnuts are thick and take time to cook all the way through. You can flip them every minute to keep them from browning too much on each side. Transfer the doughnuts to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a little salt. Serve immediately.
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