Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is arguably everything I like in a single, palm-sized package. Bourbon? Check. Chocolate? Check. Cured meat? Check. Ooey gooey cookie? Check. So much win, guys. I just had a couple of these little babies for brunch and the gourmand in me is happy. I’ve been inspired to make a bacon dessert for a little bit now, and finally I found it within myself to buy some bacon – and my creative juices were going into overdrive. I finally settled on a bacon dessert in cookie form, and I created this cookie.

This cookie uses a Cook’s Illustrated recipe as its base, and I tweaked it a little bit based on the various variations of bacon chocolate chip cookie recipes that I researched. I replaced some of the butter with rendered bacon fat (mmm bacon fat in cookies), reduced the vanilla essence, reduced the chocolate chips, added crispy bacon bits and added a couple tablespoons of bourbon. Texture-wise, I found it a little cloying right out of the oven – I think the presence of lard was particularly noticeable when the cookie was warm. However, the cookie was quite delectable after having set in the freezer overnight and returned to room temperature. If I were to do this again, however, I’d probably use a tablespoon less bacon fat, and maybe 3/4 cup of chocolate instead of 1 cup. It’s a really powerful punch of sugar and fat – even I think so –  and I think it needs to be toned down just a wee bit.

Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 16 large cookies (about 3 inches in diameter)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup (227g) semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 lb bacon, fried till crispy, cut to 1/4 by 1/4 inch pieces

Instructions

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir rendered bacon fat into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and bacon bits, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into portions of 2 tablespoons. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

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