Yes, yes… I know. “Bacon in a dessert? GROSS!”
I used to say the same thing, until my good friend Ross Strickland said on New Year’s Eve, “What we need tonight are some bacon white chocolate cookies.” And for the past couple of years, all I hear about when I’m on the coasts is bacon ice cream, bacon infused vodka, bacon maple sugar bars…bacon is all the rage right now, and it’s being used for desserts and cocktails. So I figured…why not? And let me tell you…they were NOTHING like I expected. Yes, the cookies taste like bacon. And yes, they are sweet and filled with white chocolate chips. And it WORKS. My crowd of 12 on New Year’s Eve decimated 4 dozen cookies in about 5 minutes.
Ross didn’t have his recipe with him, so we modified one of my sugar cookie recipes to include bacon. For this recipe you’re going to need a half cup of bacon fat, but it needs to be solid. Which means you have to plan ahead to make these cookies. Unless…like me…you always have bacon fat in the fridge.
The first step is to cook up some bacon, which yields BOTH fat AND the bacon bits that go into the cookies. You need half a cup of bacon fat, which could render out from 6 pieces of bacon, or an entire pound, depending on the brand and thickness, etc. That can make this recipe tricky. You may end up cooking WAY more bacon than you need for the cookies, just to get the fat. (Of course, the way I get around this is that I ALWAYS save bacon fat in a jar in my fridge, so I always have a cup or so of bacon fat.) If you don’t do that, and aren’t interested in cooking an entire pound of bacon and ending up with 8 or 10 extra pieces of cooked bacon that have no home except your tummy, then just cook 6 thin strips of bacon or 4 thick strips, use whatever fat renders from them, and add butter to bring the TOTAL fat content of this recipe to 1 cup or 8 ounces. As usual, a baking scale will help dramatically.
1/2 cup (4 ounces) solid, chilled bacon fat
1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (dark or light will work)
Cream these together in a mixer for 4 or 5 minutes until light and fluffy. While the fat is creaming, stir your dry ingredients together in a bowl:
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt (or 1/3 tsp table salt)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
When the butter and sugar is creamed, add:
Beat until fluffy and thick. Then add:
2 Tbsp molasses or real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
When well mixed, add the dry ingredients on low speed, a cup at a time, until no dry flour appears in the bowl. Gently fold in:
4-6 strips of bacon, cooked until very crispy, and finely minced into bits
6 ounces white chocolate chips
I use a small ice cream scoop to get uniform cookies onto an ungreased baking sheet. (I actually bake right on silicone pads.) Bake on the center rack of a preheated 350F oven for 10-12 minutes until cookies have crisped around the edges and look mostly set in the center. The longer you bake them, the crispier the cookie will be. The less you bake them, the softer and chewier they’ll be.