Bacon roses

Meredith Browning bakes and sells bacon roses, which she says have become a holiday favorite for people across the nation.

Amazeballz, a cake ball bakery in downtown Plano, has attracted attention and a loyal customer base since its May 14 opening due to its high-quality ingredients, specialty flavors and array of other tantalizing treats.

But besides the bite-sized cake confections, one particular item has been flying off the shelves and attracting the carnivorous consumer: bouquets of elegantly packaged bacon roses.

Meredith Browning, owner of Ditzy Blondes, first dabbled in bacon arrangements in 2011 to create a unique gift for her diabetic father.

“I’m a single mom and I was very poor, and my dad’s birthday is right next to Christmas,” she said. “He can’t have cookies or candy, so I was trying to come up with something edible because I’m a … foodie. I didn’t have enough money to buy steaks, but I had bacon.”

Using diabetic-friendly organic brown sugar and spices, Browning rolled up and cooked the bacon and, noticing the rose shape, replaced the tops of her Dollar Store faux roses with bacon “flowers” and settled them in a decorative vase.

She snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook, and the rest is history.

“People loved it,” she said. “That Valentine’s Day I made approximately 13 orders for people, but the initial design wasn’t really all that great. It was wire-stemmed … so I redesigned it with stems so that they could stand up in the vase.”

Unsure if her product would sell, Browning started her own company and created a website to gauge interest. Soon, more and more customers were joining the bacon bouquet craze.

“It’s something fun that you can give to someone to make them smile or laugh,” she said. “Bacon does something to people, because it’s just something that they like to eat. The smell of it makes people smile … it makes them happy.”

Unprepared for the success her business would experience, Browning had to rent out a kitchen to feverishly produce 487 orders for Valentine’s Day.

“I didn’t realize that this was going to take off quite like it has,” she said. “I had no idea that it would be this popular.”

Browning said it takes between three and four hours to make and assemble an order. Rolling the bacon takes about 25 minutes, then it’s baked and set out to cool as the stems are made using FDA-approved paint. To give the appearance of a rose, Browning disassembles flowers so that only the leaves remain, giving the bouquet a realistic finish.

“When I deliver the product to customers, and I see how happy it makes them, it makes me feel like the best person in the world because I made someone happy that day,” she said. “It’s just so amazing whenever someone is so happy and you helped do that.”

Jaime Wiggins, Amazeballz owner, began selling Browning’s bacon roses about a month ago, along with treats from other local vendors, including Dallas Caramel Company, Bisous Bisous and Birdcage Bakery.

Browning and Wiggins met through a mutual friend who promoted each entrepreneur to star her own baking business. Browning said the two clicked right away, and that she’s proud to sell her product at Amazeballz.

Accurately assuming that bacon roses will make the perfect Father’s Day present, Browning is about 100 orders away from her production cap. Orders must be placed by June 16 to guarantee on-time delivery for dads. Local orders placed online can be picked up at Amazeballz, 930 E. 15th St., Ste. 200. Shipping is available nationwide.

Bacon rose bouquets arrive vacuum-sealed and can last for about two weeks if unopened. Once the bouquet is opened, the bacon needs to be eaten or refrigerated within 24 hours. Instructions for heating the bacon are included with each shipment.

For continued coverage of local news, follow Brittany Feagans on Twitter.

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