Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Time to get serious. There comes a point in your life when the tinker toys are put away, the training wheels come off and we become adults. Granted, being an adult is an action item that I try not to take too seriously. However, like doctor's appointments and root canal, once in a while I have to dip my feet into that end of the swimming pool but I am sure not happy about it. That said, there is one adult thing I do very happily and that is raising my son. As such, I felt a need to post a man's man recipe and bacon cookies seemed like something that I would find on Paul Bunyan's plate and therefore, very manly. As you can see from the photos, my little man is a man in training with my apron on and practicing his phenomenal skills as a sifter of magnet letters. No, this little sous-chef is not available for hire, he is all mine.

Oddly, there were mixed reviews on these cookies but they mostly came from the traditionalist sect of my friends. The real adventurous types gobbled these bad boys up like little kids tasting chocolate for the first time. They are a mix of salty and sweet, very moist with huge hits of deep chocolate that provide a nice contrast to the bacon. They are not as sweet as plain chocolate chip cookies and have a more hearty and robust feel to them.

Finally, to answer the question I was asked most from family and friends as to how I would come up with such a concoction; the answer is a friend recently turned me on to chocolate covered bacon. The more I tasted it the more I thought of the endless possibilities that fantastic combination had. In addition, I recently had breakfast at a charming little restaurant in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago called Nightwood. What really stuck out on their menu was the amazing warm bacon butterscotch donut. How good were they? Let's just say that the waiter came over when there was a quarter of the donut left, asked if he could take it away and I went a little overboard and shouted, "NO!" Yep, I succeeded in scaring the ever-living daylights out of a young kid just trying to make a buck. What was I supposed to do? Those donuts melted in my my mouth and had a mixture of warm salty sweetness that made me swoon with delight. Take it away? Was he nuts? He should know better than to try and part a woman from her sweets. He's young though, he'll learn...hopefully. xoxo - AJ



1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
4 oz semisweet chocolate bar, diced
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chopped
3 tablespoons milk chocolate, grated
1 cup bacon that's been brushed with maple syrup, fried until crispy and diced into roughly 1/4" pieces
1 cup pecans chopped, toasted and tossed with 1/4 cup light brown sugar


Adjust your oven rack to the middle position. Pre-heat to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons of butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly. Watch this carefully - butter can go from brown to burned very quickly. When butter is dark-golden brown and has a nutty aroma, remove from heat and immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into hot butter until melted.

Add granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until completely mixed. Add egg and egg yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps of sugar remaining.

Let sugar/egg/butter mixture stand for a few minutes. Then whisk again for 30 seconds. Do this several times - you want to make sure that the sugar has "melted" into the liquid. When ready, mixture will be smooth, thick and shiny.

Using wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in grated chocolate, chocolate chunks, chocolate chips and bacon pieces. Don't overmix but make sure no flour pockets remain.

Using a teaspoon, place a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-14 minutes until cookies are golden-brown and set along the edges but the middle is still soft. Remove from oven and set baking sheet on a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

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