June 17, 2015

Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

I realize most of you probably have your Fathers' Day menu all figured out by now, but it's not too late to add to it, especially if you most likely have all the ingredients already. This is probably the manliest cookie you'll ever eat (or it also makes a really really good snack when you're feeling extra indulgent). They're like my peanut butter chocolate chip cookies but better. You know, since they have bacon and all. I could probably pass this off as breakfast, too, thanks to all the peanut butter and bacon (yes, I consider those breakfast foods) and a touch of my manipulative brilliance. Whatever the occasion, trust this slightly odd combination just once and you'll be hooked.

This is by no means a traditional cookie recipe, but it does follow the basic structure of one. It starts by creaming the butter, though here I also add bacon fat, so I suppose the first step is really cooking off a giant skillet of bacon. I do chop up a fair amount of the bacon to add in at the end (spoiler alert), but I always add a few extra slices for me to nibble on while baking and so that I can use the extra fat with the butter. Once the bacon is nice and crispy, I remove it with a slotted spoon, pour the fat through a fine sieve, and chill until opaque and fairly firm. That solid bacon fat is beaten with the butter until fully combined.

Although the butter is usually creamed with the sugar, here I add the peanut butter first so that I know it's fully combined. I use creamy peanut butter even though I plan on adding chopped peanuts at the end so that I can control just how chunky the batter is. After the peanut butter is incorporated, I stir in sugar and brown sugar and beat the mixture until fluffy.

After that, I beat in an egg and some vanilla; just because there's bacon doesn't mean you shouldn't add vanilla. I wouldn't tell you to douse your morning bacon and eggs with it, but I think all good cookies could use a splash. Of course, the cookies need dry ingredients as well, so I stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and a dash of salt until combined.

Finally, I gently fold in the textural elements: peanuts, bacon, and chocolate chips. You can adjust the amounts however you want, but be warned that the dough will only hold so much before the cookies start to fall apart. I recommend about equal parts of all three, but if you want more salty, crunch, or melty chocolate, feel free to alter the proportions, keeping it around 1-2 cups total. You can always serve these on a platter of bacon (or chocolate or peanuts) for more flavor. Actually, now I kind of want to start serving everything on a platter of bacon. I'll keep you updated about that.

1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
6 Strips Bacon
1/2 Stick Butter, Softened
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Chopped Peanuts
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 350F and line cookie trays with parchment.

Cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan and reserve the fat, straining to remove any solids and chilling until opaque. Crumble the bacon when cool

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

Beat the butter and  bacon fat together in a mixer until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, then add the sugar and brown sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the peanuts, chocolate chips, and crumbled bacon.

Scoop the dough into balls and bake for 12 minutes or until golden.

Makes 22
Recipe Adapted from Food Network

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