I left off my last installment of The Bacon Chronicles considering my love of bacon and it’s source (click here to read Part One).
So herein lies my dilemma. I have the greatest respect for pigs, and I say that without the slightest sarcasm. I have read the studies; they are some of the most intelligent animals around and share many genetic traits with us humans. I read Charlotte’s Web as a kid. I saw “Babe”. I cried. I was even a vegetarian for eight years for chrissakes (that vacuous emptiness you just heard was Anthony Bourdain losing all respect for me).
I love pigs. They also happen to taste really, really good.
Actually, it was a stuffed pork chop that lured me back to the dark side after eight years of being meat-free, and I will look you straight in the eye and tell you with no shame that it was the best damn pork chop I ever did eat (Holy Cow, remind me to make it for you some time because it was awesome).
Okay, so my conscience and my love of delicious food are not always entirely aligned. I suppose as humans we are always walking contradictions to some extent, try as we might to be otherwise.
I look the sweet little piggies in the eyes and then I go home and bake double chocolate cookies with bacon! Oh, how sanguine I!
Standing over the stove I silently offer my gratitude as I cook up the bacon. As the chocolate begins to melt over the simmering water, my conflicting thoughts are melting away as well.
I pull the first pans from the oven and gingerly pluck a bit of scalding cookie right from the pan, bouncing it back and forth in my fingers before I can pop it in my mouth. Soft chocolate squishes on my tongue, salt and sweet mingling with flecks of spice and heat, a nugget of walnut and then – oh mercy me – crunchy, salty b a c o n. The only thought I am capable of now is: Oh. My. GOD. these are SO good!
Conscience – 0
Stomach – 1
Pass me another cookie, will ya?
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BACON COOKIES WITH A KICK – makes about 5 dozen cookies
Warning: These cookies have been known to cause indiscriminate eye-rolling, knee buckling and (possibly) random swearing by the eater. Also, isolated cases of violent possessiveness have been reported. So don’t say I didn’t warn you;-)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted, roughly chopped
- 2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 4.5 ounces flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground cayenne (optional)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 ounces granulated sugar
- 8 ounces light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup chopped crispy bacon
- pinch Fleur de Sel – sprinkle just a few crystals on top of each cookie before baking
Measure out 1 pound of the chopped bittersweet chocolate and set aside with the walnuts to be added at the end.
Whisk your dry ingredients together – flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne and black pepper – in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the remaining 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate and all of the unsweetened chocolate in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water and melt. Let it sit off the water until it has cooled to room temperature, but is still soft.
Cream the butter at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars until sandy.
Beat in the eggs, then beat in the melted chocolate.
At low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Add in the nuts, chopped chocolate and bacon until evenly distributed then cover and chill in the bowl for about 15 or 20 minutes. You want it to hold its shape but not be hard.
Using a 1 ounce scoop (for 2″ cookies) or a 2 ounce (for 3″ cookies) scoop about 1 1/2 inches apart. Into the oven they go – check in about 8 minutes, rotate your pans from top to bottom and front to back. I usually check them in another 5 minutes just to be sure not to over bake. They are ready when the edges are set, they appear crackly on top and the centers are still soft. If you have any doubt, better to remove them early rather than late – nobody ever complained that a chocolate cookie was too fudgy.
If you have the willpower of the Pope, then you can just go ahead and wait until they’re good and cool before you try one. If, however, you are like the rest of us mere mortals, snatch one – or several dozen – right off the pan while still steamy and soft. If there are any left, store them airtight at room temperature for 2 – 3 days.
Tip: for a super-comfy treat, cover with foil and re-warm gently before re-serving.