Happy Bacon Week 2015 to you! It’s another year of bacony recipes, and one I hope you enjoy. Don’t know what Bacon Week is? Take a quick peek here first!
To kick things off this year, I have something not using bacon specifically, but rather what it lovingly leaves behind: its fat! Rather than throw my bacon grease down the drain (which you should never do, by the way) or simply freezing it before throwing it in the trash, I always keep mine in a jar to use occasionally throughout the year. A little bacon fat is a great way to spice up your morning eggs, a chili, or – as you’ll see here today – make your cookies a little more interesting.
Earlier in the year I’d pinned a recipe for shortbread cookies made with bacon fat and I loved the idea so much, I figured it couldn’t be that difficult to do something similar with your basic chocolate chip drop cookie. It turns out, while not particularly difficult, I still had to go through a few iterations to get it just right.
For my first attempt at these cookies, I said to myself, “DAMN THE TORPEDOS, FULL-ON BACON FAT!” Which is to say, instead of using any butter, as you typically do with cookies, I’d do a full 1:1 replacement with bacon fat. This yielded some pretty standard-looking cookie dough, which I excitedly rolled into balls and tossed into the oven. At that point, though, the similarities to “normal” chocolate chip cookies faded. An 8-minute bake time turned into 10 minutes, which turned into 15 – at which point I finally took them out. They didn’t brown like normal cookies, and even after 15 minutes of baking they were still weirdly pale. They tasted okay, but honestly – and, I suppose, unsurprisingly – they were unappealingly greasy. And to top it all off, the texture was akin to eating a patty of sand.
Suffice it to say, they were not great.
So going “full-on bacon fat” was a bad idea, one I won’t make again. My next iteration fixed the problem – I halved the amount of bacon fat I was adding and replaced it with good ‘ole butter to make the texture and flavor a little better. This version turned out much better, with a decent texture and much less greasier flavor, but my ratios of sugars and flour were off (I didn’t include any brown sugar, and I used a little too much flour). 3rd time’s a charm, right?
This time the cookies were perfect – half of my sugar I converted to brown to give it a more caramely flavor and I reduced the flour by a quarter cup to let the cookies be a little less stiff. These cookies came out sweet and tender with a distinct, yet not overpowering flavor of bacon in them. You know how you can tell from the dough if you’re doing things right? I was pretty confident at around this point:
I’ve pawned these off on a handful of people, all with positive results. One friend pointed out they’re great for people with less of a sweet tooth, as the bacon flavor does a great job offsetting the sugar and chocolate. I think these are great for a party, if you want to bring something a little fun and quirky. This recipe makes a straight-up perfect dozen of these little weirdos – and if you like both bacon and chocolate chip cookies, you should definitely make them.
Save that bacon fat, y’all – it’s too useful of a cooking tool!
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Bacon Fat Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 1 dozen cookies
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup chilled bacon fat
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped chocolate (or just chocolate chips – I was in a chocolate chunk mood at the time!)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Cream together the butter, bacon fat, and sugars until fluffy.
- Add all other ingredients except for the chocolate and mix until dough forms.
- Mix in the chocolate chunks so they’re evenly distributed.
- Roll pieces of the dough into balls, place them on your greased (or parchment paper-covered) cookie sheet, and press them down to slightly flatten.
- Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.