I Should've Gone Whole Hog: Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies

I am one of those folks who believes that everything is better with bacon. So how could I resist Mindy Segal's recipe for Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies? They are chocolate chip cookies with bacon fat, bacon, and bits of bacon candy bar.

After I read through the recipe ingredient list, I decided to proceed even though knew that I was lacking two items. First, while I had plenty of thick-sliced bacon handy, I didn't have any slab bacon -- the kind that hasn't been sliced. The recipe calls for slab bacon -- the smokiest variety available, with a high ratio of fat to meat -- and you're supposed to slice it into 1/4-inch cubes. I figured that my regular thick-sliced bacon would be good enough. Second, the recipe also calls for a 3-ounce bacon-chocolate candy bar, like the one made by Vosges. I didn't have one, but I figured that if I just added more chocolate and bacon, it should produce the same effect.

The first step in making the cookie dough is to cook the bacon until crisp. Then you drain it, strain the bacon fat, and chill the fat until it turns solid. You mix the fat with softened butter; add sugar and dark brown sugar and beat until fluffy; add eggs and vanilla; add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda); and fold in the cooked bacon, chocolate chips, and pieces of bacon-chocolate bar. Smoked sea salt is listed as an optional ingredient and I was pretty sure we had some -- but then I couldn't find it and so I left it out as well.

The recipe instructs you to line an 8-inch pan with plastic wrap, transfer the dough into the pan and pat it into an even layer, and then chill the dough overnight. The following day you are supposed to remove the dough from the pan and cut it into rectangles to form 40 cookies. I thought this process seemed like a bit of a hassle, so immediately after I made the dough I used a #30 scoop to form the cookies, and I chilled the scooped dough on cookie sheets overnight. (I got 33 cookies this way.)
The baked cookies looked like regular homemade chocolate chip cookies. And they tasted like regular chocolate chip cookies with bits of chewy caramelized bacon added. I was quite surprised that the bacon tasted like it had been caramelized with sugar -- it was primarily sweet as opposed to salty or smoky. I was expecting more bacon-y flavor in the cookie itself from the bacon fat, but I couldn't taste it.

I have some mixed feelings about these cookies. On the one hand: they were satisfying chocolate chip cookies, the bacon added some interesting texture and flavor, and my tasters liked them. On the other hand: I thought that the bacon seemed like a bit of a disjointed add on, and I wanted more smoky flavor. But I have to admit that I didn't do everything I could have to maximize the bacon impact -- perhaps if I had used the slab bacon and cut it into fatter chunks, used the bacon-chocolate bar, and added smoked salt, I might have ended up with a substantially different and better cookie. 

Recipe: "Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies" from Cookie Love by Mindy Segal.

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Louise said…
Interesting what happened to the bacon. I don't have this recipe flagged to bake, but I probably would have done the same substitutions with the thick cut bacon and candy bar. I've eaten a Vosges bacon chocolate candy bar and wasn't impressed enough to buy another. Maybe it's real purpose is for this cookie... I flagged "Ginger Sorghum Cookies, "Ode to the Chunky Bar", "Malted Milk Spritz", and "Best Friends Cookies" as the ones I'd like to try first. But, I bought goat butter so I may be making shortbread or tea cakes first.
I think the next few recipes on my list are likely to be the Folgers cookies and the dream bars!
Louise said…
I've been eying up the dream bars too. What's funny is that I read her write up about the origin and I think I probably made them a long time ago. I was digging through some of my old cookbooks, community cookbooks, etc., but I guess I won't know until I make them.