Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bacon

These cookies were recently dubbed "Weirdly Excellent" by my good friend, Dr. Smith. Two of my favorite adjectives, especially when used together.

A good question another friend, Erin Weston, asks when her notions about good food are challenged:"Is it good or is it gross?" a rhetoric, to which she always answers (herself & whoever is nearby) "Well, if you have to ask..."

The idea of Bacon in dessert can often fit snugly into the latter category, but here it actually works, that's a promise.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bacon
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

If you beat the egg into the batter for the full three minutes, they will have a lighter texture. You can spoon these directly onto a baking sheet once the batter is made, or you may hold onto the dough in the freezer, wrapped in 1 ½ inch diameter roll to bake off as you want to eat them. They’ll keep frozen for about a month, refrigerated for a couple of weeks.

3 strips thick cut organic bacon, cut in half crosswise
2/3 cups sugar
1 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest(optional)

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon, cook until it just begins to brown, strain the fat and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Be careful the sugar and bacon don't burn. Remove to a baking rack to strain (it would stick to paper towel)once the bacon is crisp and golden. Let cool, crumble into tiny pieces, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt, set aside
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and remaining sugar together until lightened. Add the egg and beat until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the extract. Mix in the flour until just incorporated, stir in the chips and bacon.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two baking sheets. Place 1 tablespoon mounds of dough or ¼ inch thick slices of the log about 2 inches apart on an parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, rotating pan halfway through baking, about 12 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.

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