Certainly I appreciate subtlety, but I never hesitate to be bold, even brazen, when it comes to flavor. That’s why, when I wanted to recreate my original bacon chocolate chip cookie, I knew I had to kick things up a notch.
The prototype was invented on a whim. I had a new boyfriend and I wanted to impress him with my devil-may-care attitude in the kitchen. I had already boasted about my chocolate chip cookies; the addition of bacon was pure cockiness. Never before had I incorporated meat into a baked good, but my (faux) leather leggings and stiletto boots made me feel like a total badass, and I tossed some bacon into the dough with an arrogant flourish. Somehow, it worked. I brought a batch to the bar the same night and ten out of ten drunkards agreed: the cookies were awesome, dude.
Now, your gut reaction may have been, “Isn’t a chocolate chip cookie with bacon enough?” My answer is, simply, no. Today, I’ve forsaken the Guns ‘N Roses video extra look in favor of comfy jeans and plaid slippers, but my sense of culinary daring hasn’t waned. I’m older now, with a more refined palate. I expect some sophistication from my meat cookies. First, I amped up the flavor of the dough with the addition of brown butter. This added a complexity, a nuttiness, that the original cookies lacked. Instead of a flat sweetness, these cookies have a melting depth. Second, I intensified the bacon by turning it into pig candy. This added a new dimension entirely. Coated in caramelized brown sugar, the bacon became sweet, smoky, salty, and light. Yes, I just called candied bacon light. I would go so far as to call it ethereal; it just disappears when it hits your tongue.
Now, let’s get crackin’. First, preheat your oven to 375. Then cut about ten pieces of bacon in half widthwise and coat generously with brown sugar. There’s no need to measure the sugar, just make sure you use a lot (some will fall off while it’s baking).
Once the slices are evenly sugared, lay each piece on a rack which has been placed in a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, dot each slice of bacon with some agave or maple syrup, and brush to coat. Bake another 2 to 5 minutes (depending on thickness), then flip and coat with agave again. Bake 2 to 5 more minutes, or until cooked thoroughly and dark around the edges.
Once the pig candy has cooled, give it a rough chop and get ready to make that cookie dough!
For the dough, I used this recipe from Eat, Live, Run. It really is perfect. You can follow the recipe exactly as written, so I won’t bother with step-by-step instructions. I will, however, include a couple of tips. First, the butter-sugar mixture will change color and texture as you go through the mixing and resting stages. It starts out thick, a dark caramel color:
By the final mix, it will be much lighter, both in color and texture. It should wind up soft, fluffy, and a light tan:
Second, make sure you really do space your cookies at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. These things spread like crazy!