Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

The hubby and I don't like to give in to the commercialism that has become Valentine's Day, so instead we try to show each other love throughout the year. I like to bake a little something for the hubby as well, and he has been known to bring me home flowers on V-Day - but he's also good about surprising me with flowers throughout the year, which I love.

Army of Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
The past few years I've done chocolate chip pan cookies in a heart-shaped pan I inherited from my mom (we used to use them growing up for Valentine's Day, and I like the tradition). But I wanted something a little different this year, and a friend happened to mention something about adding bacon into chocolate chip cookies. Yes, brilliant, I'll do that!

A brief caveat: if you're not into the whole bacon + chocolate/sweet thing, these are probably not the cookie for you. It's delicious to me, but I understand not everyone's palate appreciates it. (As the hubby puts it, "you got your chocolate in my peanut butter! Well you got your peanut butter on my chocolate!" And if you don't get that reference, you obviously didn't see Reese's commercials in the 80's.)


Mmm, bacon!
As usual, the internet search began to see what recipes or experiences were out there. I discovered that generally speaking, people were just adding diced up cooked bacon into the batter and cooking them as usual. That didn't sound very exciting. But then I found this recipe where they substituted bacon fat for half the butter. Oh yes, that sounds perfect! I also loved that their recipe was almost exactly what I usually use - the one on the back of the Ghiradelli chocolate chips package. It's my favorite, and the only adjustments I make are adding a little more vanilla and making sure you can taste the salt (which shouldn't be a problem when adding the bacon). But I think the use of both white sugar and brown sugar (I always use dark) is essential to get the depth of flavor. I also use a mix of semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips.

I also decided that I wanted to make chocolate bacon truffles (since I had been looking at a recipe for those beforehand), but I'll leave those for a separate post. I did cook enough bacon for both recipes, though, so my amounts on that are rather vague. I used 1 1/2 packages of 16 oz bacon for the two recipes, and diced the bacon into about 1/2 in. pieces before throwing it into the pan.

Here's the Ghirardelli recipe:
Yield: 4 dozen cookies
  • 11 1/2 ounce(s) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 3/4 cup(s) brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup(s) unsifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 cup(s) walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Directions
Heat oven to 375ºF.
Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. 

See the bacon bits in there?
So, compare this to the Cooking Channel recipe, and basically you just substitute 1/2 cup chilled bacon fat (from when you cooked the bacon) for half the butter. Then make the batter as usual and add in the bacon bits when you add in the chocolate chips. I'm not a nuts-in-my-cookies kind of girl, but they'd probably complement the bacon very well.

A few notes: I didn't crisp up the bacon quite as much for the cookies as I did for the truffles, as I knew the cookies were going to be baked further. But it is essential to get them crispy for the end result, as you don't want chewy bacon in your cookie. Gross.

If you are going to make the Ghiradelli recipe into pan cookies (which I highly recommend), the cooking time will be a lot longer. I think I usually test them after 20 minutes and see how they're doing. I like to undercook them a bit, too, so that they stay nice and gooey, which is the main thing I like about pan cookies.

The cookies went over quite well, and I still believe that without the bacon fat, they wouldn't taste much like bacon (so then what would be the point?). They are extra rich, though, so don't plan on eating as many as you would normal chocolate chip cookies!

So, easy, right? Now go forth and bake with bacon! - And then let me know what you think!

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