Saturday, March 13, 2010

Maple Bacon Shortbread Cookies

Bacon. Chocolate. I can’t think of anything more sinfully decadent than these things. I haven’t tried them together, but I hear you can find chocolate bars with bacon bits in them- that might be overkill. I intend to have a bacon party at some point, and I would like it to feature the following creative uses of bacon:
-Bacon cookies
-Bacon beer
-Bacon pot pie
-Bacon lasagna
-Bacon souffle
… and much much more!

Here’s the recipe for the first on the list. Yes it is tasty, if you enjoy things like... bacon, cookies, and maple syrup. I didn’t develop it, nor did I follow any specific directions. A friend made some maple-bacon cookies (for the sole intent of stuffing as many calories into a bite as possible) that I must say... were greasy and not very bacon-y. I decided I would allow myself to go low-fat by not adding the rendered fat, and doubling up on the bacon used.

To make candied bacon:
Lay one pound of bacon on parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet, sprinkle brown sugar on top, and bake at 350. Check every 5-10 minutes, draining fat off occasionally, flipping to the other side, and sprinkling with more brown sugar. Bake until crispy. It can go from “this is taking forever” to black very quickly, but it turns out the black stuff is still pretty good for this purpose. Don’t worry, the mess will come off if you soak it in soapy water overnight.

To make the cookies:
Chop half the remaining bacon (assuming you did eat some, right?) super finely for flavor, and the other half coarsely for texture. Mix the finely chopped stuff with one tablespoon maple syrup and set aside. Cream (or puree in your food processer) one cup room temperature butter. Add a little less than half a cup powdered sugar and cream some more. Mix in the maple/bacon mixture, and ¼ teaspoon salt if you feel like it and your butter is unsalted. Gently mix in two cups flour and coarsely chopped bacon just until incorporated. I hear you can replace some of the flour with corn starch for flakier cookies, but I have no experience with this.

Roll into a wax paper tube, or disk, or some other compressed shape, and chill. Slice into rounds, or roll out and cut with cookie cutters, or form cookies. Space (closely is ok) on parchment paper, and glaze liberally with more maple syrup. Bake 20 minutes at 350, and let cool. Enjoy!

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