(Jeff Gaffigan gets full credit for this post's title. Go to YouTube and watch his hilarious bacon "bit" (pun intended); you won't be sorry.)
I believe it was my coauthor and fabulous fellow foodie Adriana Velez who told me about the Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies featured on the now-defunct blog Experiments in Deliciousness. I looked it up and was intrigued. I decided I must make some, but planned to devise my own recipe, since the EiD recipe seemed a little over the top to me.
Yes, it's true: Luisa Perkins, enthusiastic consumer of all things rich and porky, the woman who once ate a roasted pig's head, found the recipe excessive. I think it was the Maple Glaze and Bacon Garnish; that seemed a bit like gilding the lily to me. I decided to go for something slightly more restrained.
I mentioned my plan to my dear pal Deb Barshafsky, a food writer who lives in Augusta, Georgia. Deb promptly requested that I make her a batch. I readily agreed, since I adore Deb and her partner, Marian.
The Fates immediately began conspiring against me. First I ran out of slave-free, fair-trade chocolate chips. After those arrived, I found I was out of pastured bacon. Once the freezer was restocked, the vacuum broke, the cat needed surgery, and I had to re-teach myself trigonometry. Then I went and had that sweet baby, and a year went by.
Today, I finally made good on that long-ago promise. Deb was one of my cookbook-naming contest winners, so I owed her a copy of Comfortably Yum, and I absolutely could not send it off without an accompanying tin of cookies. Assuming Federal Express does its job, Deb and Marian should be opening up a box of deliciousness sometime tomorrow (Thursday) morning.
And delicious these babies are. I searched high and low for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, one that produces rich, chewy, simple, not-overly-sweet cookies. How providential to find that recipe practically next door, when my friend and Visiting Teacher, Melinda Higbee, brought such a batch over. The following basic recipe is hers, and if you leave the bacon out, you'll still have a demmed fine cookie.
But try the bacon at least once. It does not overpower at all; its presence in the cookie contributes subtle, slightly salty richness, a perfect backdrop to the dark chocolate. Some of my children didn't even realize that today's batch had an extra ingredient in it. So here's what I did, without further ado:
Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 pound bacon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla (yes, a tablespoon, not a teaspoon)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Fry the bacon in a hot skillet until crisp and brown. Drain it on layers of paper towels. Once it is cool, blot it with more paper towels. Cut any white, flabby ends off the rashers and save them for another use (or just give them to your children, who will snap them out of the air like hungry sea lions). Eat a whole rasher or two yourself; it's been a long time since lunch. You'll end up with about half the original lot. Using a very sharp knife, chop the bacon into very fine bits.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cream the butter and the sugars together on your mixer's highest speed for a minimum of five minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat for another two minutes. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Finally, add the bacon bits and the chocolate chips and stir just until mixed.
Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets (use Silpat liners if you have them). Bake for 12 minutes, or until cookies are a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Put the bowl of remaining dough in the fridge between batches. Makes about 3 dozen.
Cold milk is an indispensable accompaniment to these decadent, chewy wonders. If the entire batch weren't already all gone, I wouldn't hesitate to eat these for breakfast. Try them and see what you think.