This whole candied bacon phenomenon continues to surprise me in the most pleasant ways. It started out with David Lebovitz teaching me the technique for turning these greasy strips of meat into glimmering mahogany jewels, then he instructed that they be added into ice cream. That was a pretty yummy discovery, but I must say putting the candied bacon in chocolate chip cookies is even better!
In previous years, if you were to make me choose between an ice cream or a cookie, there’s a 90% chance I would go with ice cream. I guess you could say I used to under-appreciate cookies quite a bit. But since I started this blog, I have made a slew of amazing cookie recipes (you can check out the choco chip ones in the “related posts” boxes below) that have definitely changed my feelings. Suddenly the choice isn’t quite as simple. Today at least, I am without a doubt choosing the cookie.
I would gladly put myself under a landslide of these Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I came across these cookies a long while back, when I was just beginning to gather recipes I thought I would like to try. Admittedly this particular one sounded slightly bizarre at first. A few years ago, candied bacon still verged on rather unfamiliar territory, but with people embracing all manners of food combinations, the sweetened bacon thing began making waves. I’m still looking forward to trying candied bacon with chocolate.
But right now I can say without a doubt: This is by far the best recipe I have made involving candied bacon. I just loooove these cookies!
The thing is, I don’t even tend to go for flat cookies. I love my cookies firm but chewy and that typically happens when the cookies are slightly chubby and bumpy. Yet these were surprisingly equally munch-able despite the lack of “bulkiness”. It’s that combination of bacon and chocolate chips plus a good dough base that creates the same sort of chewy on the inside but crunchy on the outside cookie experience.
The candied but still slightly salty bacon also does such a wonderful job adding that little somethin’-somethin’ special to the cookies. It adds a flavour that kind of tickles the tastebuds and might just keep you guessing if you’re unaware that bacon is in the cookies.
As most people know, the best choco chip cookies out there are usually salted, and with these cookies the bacon kind of acts like that salt that brings out the chocolate and caramel notes in the most glorious ways. At the same time, because the bacon is candied it adds like a maple-y sort of sweetness that contrasts yet complements with the caramel-sweetness of the cookies.
I know I have said a ton of things already but the main point I’m trying to make is: Bake this. Now!!!
Makes about 24 cookies
- 8 strips bacon
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup finely chopped candied bacon (from above)
- 1. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). On a baking tray lined with aluminum foil (shiny side down), line the strips of bacon. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar evenly over each strip.
- 2. Bake for about 7 to 8 minutes then flip the bacon strips over, dragging them through the dark syrup that’s collected on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar over the other side of the bacon strips and continue to bake until a deep mahogany colour is achieved, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove baking sheet from oven and cool on a wire rack.
- 3. Once completely cooled, chop the bacon into the size of rice grains. If not using immediately, candied bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.
- 4. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Place oven racks on upper half and lower half of oven. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 5. In a large bowl or using a mixer, beat together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.
- 6. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, then mix until well-combined.
- 7. Fold in the chocolate chips and candied bacon until evenly distributed in the cookie dough. Using a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets and place about 2 inches apart.
- 8. Bake two trays at a time for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden brown, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking. Remove from the oven and cool cookies in the pan on a wire rack. They will be fragile while still hot so don't move them too much. The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
A highly recommended experience!