3/4cuphard apple cidermaple flavor if available, otherwise original is fine
1Tablespoonpure maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a sheet pan with tinfoil and top with a couple of cookie racks. Mine overlap a bit and that is just fine. Lay the bacon loosely over the cookie racks.
Sprinkle brown sugar over the raw bacon and press into the bacon to stick. Bake for 20 minutes. The bacon should be crispy, with a layer of glossy sugar over them. Using a sharp knife cut by the bunches and set aside.
Add the flour, sugar, and baking soda into a large bowl and whisk.
Add the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a bowl and whisk as well, being sure to break the yolks.
Pour the hard apple cider into the egg mixture bowl. Doing this step separately ensures that the mixture is not overworked and will not cause deflation in the carbonated cider. We want the bubbles!
Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk quickly, careful not to overmix. The batter should look like pancake batter. Fold bacon into the batter now if you wish.
Pour into a well-greased cast iron loaf pan and top the batter with the chopped candied bacon. Baking it again on top of the bread will help it to maintain its crispness. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes.
Combine room temperature butter and maple syrup into a small bowl to butter the fresh bread with. Allow the bread to cool in the pan when removed from the oven for about 30 minutes, after which it should pop right out.
*If maple hard apple cider isn't available in your area, you can use original hard apple cider and add a teaspoon of maple extract to enhance the maple flavor. **Be sure to check out the post on castironrecipes.com for more tips, tricks, and details for making this the best maple bacon quick bread possible!
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