Remember the meat party? Well, as a baker I’m not too sure it can be a real celebration without some type of dessert. So after sticking to the strict meat-only rule with my mini-meatloaf cupcakes, I had to bring a real sweet treat that would keep me in theme just enough to appease the hosts. Your classic back-of-the-bag chocolate chip cookie recipe would taste great with a crunchy bacon add-in, but to combat the side-eyes I knew I’d get from the B.Y.O.M. attendees I knew these cookies had to be a little bit jazzier. So, I added in the bacon crumbles and drippings, browned the butter to deepen the flavor, and boozed them up with a “little” bourbon…how could you go wrong?
-2 ½ cup flour
-1t baking soda
-1 stick butter
-½ cup bacon fat
-¾ cup brown sugar
-2T bourbon (optional, or use less)
-about half a pack of bacon
-4oz. semi-sweet chocolate
-4oz. bitter-sweet chocolate
If you’re going to bake the cookies right away, preheat your oven to 350. Step one, cook the bacon over low heat. We want fully cooked-through, crispy bacon with no burnt pieces, and low heat will help us get there. After you cook the bacon, set it to drain on a plate with paper towels, and CAREFULLY pour the bacon drippings into a bowl. More often than not, these drippings are put in an aluminum can to cool to only be disposed of, but not today. The bacon fat is going to amount to half of the fat we put into these cookies, and will elevate that bacon flavor. As the drippings cool, brown the butter. Put the butter in a small sauce pan and let it melt over medium-low heat. Once it starts to turn into a liquid, start watching the pan more carefully, and swirl it to stir often. This part requires concentration, as you don’t want to over brown your butter. Browned butter looks well, brown. But it has a nutty aroma and makes the butter taste even more endulgent, if you can believe it. Burnt butter also looks brown (I know, not ok) but it is NOT rich or wonderful, it tastes awful. Really, really awful. It stinks, and will mask all other ingredients in your recipe and ruin it. So, once the butter starts to bubble a bit, gets really transparent, and has the slightes bit of brown, take it off the heat and keep swirling. The butter is still hot and will change to a slightly-toasted brown, and you won’t have any problems with burning. If you’re still nervous about burning the butter, cut 1-2T from the stick of butter before you brown it, and once you get to that off the heat stage, throw in the reserved butter to cool the melted butter down (I did this, partly due to paranoia, partly because I didn’t have any more butter to waste). Pour in the reserved bacon fat – which should amount to half a cup – and let the mixture cool to room temperature. In the meantime, get your dry ingredients together, crumble the bacon, and cut up the chocolate into bite sized pieces.
The rest of the steps are much easier, and are exactly the same as any cookie recipe. Cream the sugar with the fat, add in the eggs, then blend in the vanilla and bourbon. Add in the dry ingredients one step at a time until you’ve got your dough pretty consistant.
Note: This will be a pretty greasy dough, and that’s ok! Any time you use a liquid fat, the dough is going to appear to be a little thinner and much shiner than what you’d normally get with unmelted butter. After the dough is combined, stir in the chocolate and bacon, cover the bowl, and put it in the fridge to chill. I chilled the dough for about an hour because I was really hungry, but you can even chill the dough overnight. (Gotta love the make-ahead recipes). If you’re OK with raw dough, this is where you taste test.
Shape and bake the cookies on a parchment lined tray for about eight minutes, or until just done. I always err on the side of less-cooked because like the butter, the cookies will hold the heat and continue to cook even when out of the oven. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for about two minutes before moving them to cooling trays. Or, if you’re really hungry, eat them immediately!
The cookies will be a combination of sweet and savory, chewy and crunchy, and bacon-y and boozy, and will keep for a week in an air-tight container. You can even serve them cold!