I’ve always considered myself to to be a hip and trendy kind of girl, especially when I was in my twenties. As you get older, though, it gets a little harder to pull it off. Still, I try to keep up with the times. Having a sixteen year old daughter around to keep me informed doesn’t hurt either!
I’m a pretty adventurous “foodie” type person as well, both in restaurants and in my own kitchen. Never one to shy away from trying new things, I’ve eaten a lot of foods that many would run from. (Although, I do draw the line at bugs and things that are still moving! But, I think you get my drift.)
One recent food trend that I’ve had a hard time wrapping my taste buds around, however, is the gratuitous pairing of bacon with various dessert foods. Don’t get me wrong. I really like bacon – on a cheeseburger or lying next to some scrambled eggs. But, bacon cupcakes? Huh! How about some bacon ice cream? Um…I don’t think so. So, while I continued to read rapturous accounts of the love affair among bacon, butter, flour and sugar, I still remained unmotivated to jump on the crowded bacon desserts bandwagon. Until this past Super Bowl Sunday, that is.
Mr. SGCC and I were invited to a Super Bowl Party, and of course I couldn’t show up empty handed. I wanted to come up with something that a bunch of beer guzzling, chili eating sports fans would go for. I also wanted something that wouldn’t drip, run or spill. (All that beer guzzling makes you sloppy.) I could have just baked some regular old chocolate chip cookies, but anyone could do that. I’m the Queen of SGCC-Land! I had to step it up a little. People expect more from me! (Oh, the pressure!)
I was scrambling for ideas, and then I thought, “What about bacon?”.
BACON! In chocolate chip cookies? Hmmm. Why not? It could work. And, it did.
I found a recipe for Candied Bacon on David Lebovitz’s site that looked like a good place to start. I used thick cut bacon slices, smothered them in brown sugar and baked them until they were all gooey and caramelized. I could have just slapped that bacon on a plate and stopped there. It was THAT good! In fact, I had a hard time keeping Mr. and Mini SGCC from eating the whole batch while I prepared the cookie dough.
(It’s okay. They’re really not burned.)
The original recipe for the cookies, minus the bacon, comes from David’s, Great Book of Chocolate. It’s one of my favorite recipes for chocolate chips cookies, turning out lovely thin cookies that are perfectly crisp around the edges and nice and chewy in the middle. I don’t think these would be nearly as successful with a thicker, cakier cookie. But, that’s just me.
Making these Candied Bacon-Chocolate Chunk Cookies was no more difficult than making any other kind of chocolate chip cookies, which isn’t difficult at all, except that you have to make the candied bacon first. Here’s how you do it:
Once you have your candied bacon cooled and chopped into bits, you’re ready to make the cookies, themselves.
Oh, lordy, lordy, lordy! Were these cookies ever good! I never in a million years thought I would like them so much, but I did. So did everyone else, too. They were the perfect combination of smoky/salty/sweet all wrapped up in a neat little package. The bacon flavor was subtle. When you took a bite, you knew there was something different and interesting in that cookie, but you just couldn’t quite put your finger on what it was. The other guests at the party devoured them, and were incredulous when I told them what was in them.
“Bacon? Are you serious? No way!” (Yes, way.)
I handed out more cards that day than ever before. People wanted those cookies!
If you’re still a little leery of using bacon in sweets, don’t be. It isn’t as scary as it seems. Just go for it! Your taste buds will thank you.
Candied Bacon-Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from The Great Book of Chocolate
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (Chips are fine.)
1 cup Candied Bacon Bits (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line three baking sheets with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.
2. Beat the sugars and butter together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda. Whisk together the flour and salt, then sift them into the batter. Stir in the chocolate chunks and bacon bits.
3. Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon, scoop the cookie dough into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter, and place them 2 inches apart on each of the baking sheets.
4. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Rotate sheets halfway through baking for even browning. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days, if they last that long!
Makes about 3 dozen 2-inch cookies.
Candied Bacon Bits
adapted from David Lebovitz
8 strips bacon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil, shiny side down.
3. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet. Add the rest of the brown sugar and continue to bake until a deep mahogany color. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.
5. Once crisp and cooled, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.
Candied bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.