Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chocolate chip pecan cookies...with bacon grease



Does the world really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe? I’d say probably not. But when someone mentioned to me that they made their chocolate chip cookies with bacon grease, well, my curiosity was piqued.

Do you cook with bacon grease? I use it all the time for savory applications—in my refried beans, in my cornbread, in my cream gravy and in my okra, to name just a few places this fat is most welcome. Why do I use it? Well, I just love how with just one dollop you can propel a dish from mundane to magical. But using bacon grease for something sweet? For some silly reason, this had never crossed my mind.

Now, if you’re not already saving your bacon grease and you’re a bacon eater—I highly recommend this practice. You know that coffee can your great-grandmother always kept by the stove? Yep, that’s where she stored her bacon grease, within easy reach for cooking. I’m not so brave, however, so I keep my bacon grease in a Mason jar in the refrigerator; I recommend you do the same. I reckon it keeps for a few months, though I use it so often I’ve never had the chance to test this theory.



As for the cookies, I’d wanted to make a recipe that I found in my great-grandma Blanche’s collection that called for buttermilk, which also seemed like an unusual ingredient. And as our great-grandmother’s were the arbiters of thrift, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that perhaps she made cookies with bacon grease as well.

After taking all sorts of liberties with the recipe, I ended up with a very interesting cookie. It’s full and round, which I attribute to the bacon grease, which burns at a higher temperature than butter so it’s less likely to spread and become crisp. And the center is almost cake like, which probably comes from the buttermilk. (Though I’m no scientist so please don’t hold me to these theories.)

I baked the first batch with chocolate chips and pecans, which was a classic combination. The second batch, however, I was out of pecans so I substituted crunch peanut butter instead and I think I liked this version even more.



So yes, this is a darn fine cookie, but I know what you’re really wondering: does it taste like bacon? Actually no. If you concentrate really hard you might detect some smoked-pork undertones, but for the most part it’s simply a soft, luscious cookie in search of a hungry mouth and a tall glass of milk. And I’m good with that.


Do you ever make sweet things with bacon grease?

Chocolate chip pecan cookies...with bacon grease
Ingredients:
1/2 cup bacon grease
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup roasted chopped pecans
2 cups chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet.

Cream together the bacon grease, butter, sugar. Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cayenne and add to butter, sugar and egg mixture. Beat until well incorporated and then stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. 


Roll dough into walnut-sized balls, place on parchment-sheet lined cookie sheets and bake for 17 minutes.

Yield: about 40 cookies

Variation: You can swap out the pecans for 1/2 cup peanut butter. Also, if you want a flatter cookie, press down on the dough ball with a fork before baking.

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54 comments:

Anna said...

Bacon grease is a common ingredient in traditional rustic European doughs, like plum jam filled crescents (similar to Rugelach), for instance. It's like a pate sable, literally melts in your mouth.

Heather @ chiknpastry said...

you just reminded me that I saved some bacon grease from last time i made it and i have to remember where i put it. that's probably not the best storage method, eh? as for buttermilk, i LOVE that in cookie recipes. will definitely try these out sometime!

DessertForTwo said...

Yay! I love that you made these with your extra bacon grease! I hope you loved 'em!

Class factotum said...

Now crumble up some bacon and add it to the batter.

Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen said...

I recently (for my blog) made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with bacon grease. I got the recipe from a friend's great-grandmother and was pleasantly surprised how amazing the texture was. I also loved that there was a slight hint of smokiness, but the that the cookies didn't taste like bacon at all. Heirloom recipes are the best!

Janus said...

I never thought of using bacon grease in cookies. I may have to try these.

The combination of bacon and chocolate is delightful. Have you tried Mo's Bacon Bar?

And I would say that now all you have to do is tape one of these cookies to your cat and post a photo here. I'm guessing you wouldn't understand the joke, though.

Shannon Mac said...

yay! this sounds awesome -- I've been scared and excited for a year about making peanut-butter bacon cookies. Maybe bacon grease is just the baby-step I need!

Ms B said...

Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog and I am soooo saving this page to try bacon grease on my cookie! I won't tell my husband though as will definitely revolt to the idea of using the very ingredient he detests!

Thanks so much!!

-- Ms B

Molly Drexelius said...

This looks like a wonderful cookie. Looking forward to trying the peanut butter variation!


Thanks for the recipe!

The Nervous Cook said...

Holy cow. Or holy bacon! This c.c.cookie recipe sounds incredible, and my squeeze (an Oklahoma boy who loves him some bacon grease -- especially in macaroni & cheese) would probably fall over for one of these.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I just made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with bacon grease that I found on the "A Cozy Kitchen" blog. Fantastic, and I'm going to swap drippings for butter in my next batch of regular cc cookies.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anna--I like the sound of those plum jam filled crescents!

Heather--Ha! You should keep it in the refrigerator.

DessertforTwo--Yes I did! And they were wonderful. Thank you!

Class factotum--Not a bad idea!

Adrianna--I'll have to check out your recipe. Isn't the texture wonderful?

Janus--I have not tried Mo' Bacon Bar--will look for it!

Shannon Mac--Go for it!

Ms B--He'd never know unless you told him!

Molly--That's my favorite!

The Nervous Cook--I bet he would!

Anon--Hooray for bacon grease--another convert!

JustKJ said...

My wife's (and mother-in-laws before her) Choc-Chip Pecan recipe has an excellent balance between Sweet and Salty. I can see where bacon grease would add more salt requiring less to be added and adding a savory profile too.

I may have to avoid asking her to substitute in bacon grease as they would be even more addictive. I might eat WAY more than I should.

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

I have never used bacon grease in a sweet treat - but I am in love with chocolate covered bacon!!! No subtle flavors there, but so yummy. I'll have to try these cookies. I wonder if a bit of crumbled bacon in the batter would be wonderful or terrible...

Carol said...

How long can you keep bacon grease in the refrigerator? I never know if it is still good and end up throwing it away before I use much.

Sandy said...

My mother made her molasses cookies with bacon grease and I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful they were! I have never found a molasses cookie that I like as well. I made some last year and my daughter was transported back to her grandma's house!

Brenda said...

This makes me think of a story that happened when I was a little girl. Growing up in a small Texas community, it was mainly Baptists and Church of Christs, with a few Methodists thrown in. My grannie was a hard shelled Baptist lady but with a very kind heart toward her grandkids. Anyway during revivals in the summertime, all the church ladies took turns having the preachers for lunch and supper. One day it was her turn, and she make a chocolate cake. I thought it was wonderful and quite tasty as most 8 or 9 y/o kids would have. She took a bite and said you could taste the hog lard !!! I thought so what and cut me another big piece. She sounded disgusted, she always cooked with lard but maybe was too hard on herself for too much "hog" taste coming through. Who knows? I never forgot that event and thought Grannie was way too hard on herself. I don't remember anybody turning the cake down.

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Wow. I had no idea the bacon grease would give a better texture (at least to me - I prefer them on the chewy rather than crispy/flat side.) This is exactly why cooking (and baking) is so much fun. You never now what surprise ingredient will improve even an old classic like chocolate chip cookies. Thanks for sharing!

Alexis said...

As a fellow Texan in NY, I cook with bacon grease pretty regularly, so I doubt I have anything to share you've never heard of. Do I really need to mention cooking eggs in it? No, of course I don't.

The only thing that comes to mind is something a little different I did just the other day when making your basic potato soup (scallions sauteed in butter, a little flour added for roux, add water, potatoes, salt, and black pepper and boil till the potatoes are tender) -- I often add chopped bacon at the end but I was out, so I substituted bacon grease for the butter. It gave it a wonderful silky texture it doesn't normally have and great depth. I'll be making it that way from now on. Honestly, it was better than adding the bacon itself!

SeattleDee said...

HT, this recipe sounds so tempting it has me up before the sun to fry up some bacon and bake cookies. IF I don't gobble up all of the bacon immediately, I'll crumble up a strip or two to toss in the batter.

Note: bacon might be a major food group, all by itself, kinda like chocolate & chiles

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

JustKJ--The cookies were more salty than usual, that's true.

Katie--Oh, yes! Chocolate-covered bacon is wonderful!

Carol--I'd keep it for 6 months to be safe.

Sandy--I bet they were super moist!

Brenda--What a great story! Such a sense of place--I haven't thought about those small-town revivals in years. Thank you so much for sharing.

Miss Meat and Potatoes--I had no idea either! I reckon it's probably the same reason why cookies made with shortening are softer than butter cookies.

Alexis--Oh! That sounds terrific--I'll have to try that next time I make potato soup.

SeattleDee--I definitely think bacon is a major food group!

Amy Drinkie said...

Both of my grandmas used bacon grease in different applications. One greased her cake pans with it, the other greased her skillet with it when she fried eggs or chicken on the stove (which is also how I use it - I rub the butter wrapper on my cake pans to grease them). I normally buy peppered bacon, which would be good in a biscuit but probably not in a cookie!

Janus said...

I found Mo's Bacon Bar at my local Whole Foods and World Market. It's made by Vosges Chocolate, and here's their website if you can't find it anywhere near you:

http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/

It comes in both milk and dark chocolate varieties.

Not going to ask about taping a cookie to the cat, are you? :)

Kathi D said...

I wouldn't have thought of bacon grease for cookies, but when we lived in San Francisco, I learned that the really great almond cookies were made with lard. The ones with vegetable shortening were never nearly as tender. So I'm guessing bacon grease would make a fine texture, too.

As for buttermilk, doesn't it make everything taste better? Except for drinking it straight--my dad did that, but we kids always thought it was yucky, and I still do! My father-in-law also loved a tall cold glass of buttermilk; it must be a "dad thing."

Jean said...

Came across an old Swedish recipe for Gingersnaps using bacon grease for shortening, so I made some for my father-in-law (a Chicago Swede) for Christmas. He said they reminded him of how they tasted when he was young. I kinda like the salty, smoky flavor it gave the cookies. After the first time though, I made it half bacon grease, half butter, to tone down the taste a bit.

Tommy said...

I think you may have started something big here. I hope you include this in your cookbook.

Arbiters of thrift. I like that.

Kimberly said...

I made your apple Dutch baby with bacon grease, and I found that it added a nice dimension that I found a bit lacking with the original recipe. I do love that recipe, though! Great for brunch. Next time I might throw in some actual bacon pieces with the apples.

AlyciAmore said...

These sound very intriguing!! And may I add that I am in love with your blog. I have such a fondness for mexican and latin cuisine and love what I have read so far. I can't seem to get sick of Tacos despite my father having a taco truck!

tasteofbeirut said...

I was so interested here , found the comments just as interesting and enlightening!

what is similar in other cultures is the use of animal fat to give flavor to a host of dishes, without having to actually use the meat; hence in Lebanon we use sheep fat (from the tail of a specific sheep) in a lot of dishes, from kibbes to omelettes to dumplings.
there is also a traditional lamb fat preserved in a jar all year called awarma, delicious with eggs for a hearty breakfast.

KitschenBitsch said...

I fully support this endeavor though I'm nearly a vegetarian. Sweet + salty just does it for me and makes me eat volumes more than I would otherwise because they just balance each other out so nicely.

Have you ever made pig candy? Dredge bacon strips in dark brown sugar spiked with cayenne and broil (watchfully, cause they'll burn up to nothing) until crisp. Tis a beautiful thing. ;)

a moderate life said...

Hi Lisa, My sister in law knows I am a foodie blogger and so she sent me a link to this recipe when she stumbled accross it on facebook. I have to tell you , as a bacon grease lover on everything from fried bread to collards, the idea of making a bacon chocolate chip cookie is calling my name! A friend also just pointed out to me a recipe in her EBook for chocolate covered bacon! How does life ever get any better when bacon is around? I am now following your lovely blog and I will be sharing your blog post on my Thoughts on Friday link love at A Moderate Life because I know my crew will adore this recipe! Alex@amoderatelife

Karen from Globetrotter Diaries said...

Wow bacon grease! I've been noticing bacon going into all kinds of sweet dishes and even coffee! Sounds so amazing and I'm just going to have to give it a try soon!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Amy--I bet pepper bacon grease would be good in a savory shortbread, too.

Janus--OK, I'll bite--what's up with the cooking on the cat?

Kathi--I agree, buttermilk definitely makes everything taste better!

Jean--I have an old gingersnap recipe that calls for lard, I'll have to try it with bacon grease

Tommy--Don't worry--there's plenty of bacon grease in the cookbook!

Kimberly--Good to know! Love it!

AlyciAmore--Gracias! And how fun having a taco truck in the family!

TasteofBeiurt--I'm curious about awarma--I wonder if I can find it here in NYC.

KitschenBitsch--I've never made pig candy but have eaten plenty. You're right--a beautiful thing!

A Moderate Life--It's nice to meet you! And yep, bacon does make everything better.

Karen--Coffee? I hadn't heard of that--will have to investigate!

Miss Annie said...

I have a recipe I got from an old Martha Stewart Living magazine that I make every Christmas....swedish spice cookies made with 3/4 cup bacon grease....definitely not low calorie, but oh so yummy!

cake said...

A diastrous birthday cake came my way many years ago. The young baker used melted bacon grease as a substitute for vegetable oil. Goodness what a greasy pound cake! BUT try your favorite sugar cookie recipe with rendered chicken fat instead of butter,,,,,,,

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Crafty.

grill-repair.com said...

that is awesome! i also use bacon great=se for refried beans, some marimades for steak and for a bean soup I improvised. cookies? believe i will try this! thanks for the idea i don't think i'll tell the kids they're bacon cookies!

Janus said...

The easiest way to explain my joke about taping a cookie to your cat is to direct you to Google. Type the following words in the Search box:

scalzi bacon cat

The first result will be titled "Clearly You People Thought I Was Kidding." That will explain things far better than I ever could. (And I will point out that for a day or two, this was the most popular site on the Internet.)

Carmen said...

Well, I love chocolate chip cookies...and I really like bacon, so these must be delicious!

I'll start saving my bacon grease (I want to try it with that potato soup recipe that Alexis shared with us).

The other interesting ingredient I noticed in the cookie recipe is cayenne pepper! I've never heard of putting that in a cookie recipe before. But I love cayenne pepper in hot chocolate and I've added it to chocolate cake on occasion (ever since seeing Johnny Depp in "Chocolat," I've loved the spicy "hot" chocolate idea. Can't wait to try these cookies. Thanks for introducing us to it.

Julie said...

I am certainly intrigued...would love to try it. My mom kept that coffee can near the stove but I've just never done it.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

I save my bacon grease too(in a jar in the fridge - like you, I can't quite bring myself to leave it out). Although I usually don't collect very much before using it, I might just have to save it up for these. I bet it bakes similarly to lard - which is a lovely baking fat, I must say!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Miss Annie--I keep hearing about these Swedish cookies. Looks like I'll need to make them soon!

Cake-Chicken fat? Oh, my!

Denise--Thanks!

Grill-repair--I don't know, your kids might think bacon grease cookies are fun!

Janus--Ha!

Carmen--I put cayenne in just about everything! My grandma calls me Pepper Girl.

Julie--You should definitely try it!

Tasty Eats at Home--I can't leave it out either. And yes, it's very similar to lard. Though I tried to make flour tortillas with it and they were a complete disaster.

Melanie Giant said...

My mom also keeps her bacon grease so I asked her why. She answered that there are many recipes that can use the bacon grease. Now that I found one I will surely try this recipe of yours. It looks yummy and sweet! I imagine the taste and it will taste like a bacon cookie! Yummy!

Moon Mommy said...

Your post caught my eye since I'm gearing up to bake my buns off for a cause. I'll be trying out your recipe this weekend--it just might end up helping us raise some dough at our Cookies for Kids' Cancer bake sale!
Thanks for always sharing your love for food (and Texas).

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Melanie Giant--Actually, the bacon flavor is muted, but it's still very good!

Moon Mommy--I like that idea! Good luck with the bake sale!

Class factotum said...

-I'd keep [bacon grease] for 6 months to be safe.

Mine never gets a chance to get that old.

I use it instead of butter on grilled cheese sandwiches. I use it instead of oil in almost any soup or stew recipe for sauteeing the veg. It is wasteful to throw away bacon grease. And dumb.

Amanda@Choc-Chip-Cookie-Recipe.com said...

I have always wondered how to keep bacon grease and this has been great, because now I know!

But......in my chocolate chip cookie.....hmmmmmmmmmmmm. I have noticed lately that bacon is starting to make an appearance in desserts. Cookies, on tops of cupcakes, and such. Apparently it is a trend I can not afford to ignore. The next time I have bacon.....I will make these.

folloder said...

Homesick Texan...
After posting this recipe, I feel it is necessary for me to propose marriage. Or a really amazing concubine thing...

Mariel Was Here said...

Lisa!
thanks to your bacony tips i've pretty much gone off the bacon deep end by getting myself tangled up with the motley crew @ GetYourLardon here in LA :) Yesterday I sampled some bacon pecan chocolate chip cookies, and man are they hard to resist! bacon grease + tiny bacon chunks... my god.
they do come out softer than butter cookies do but i personally love that. hope all is well with you, lady!
Mariel

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

Mmmm, sounds delicious :)Great photos!

Marisa said...

Now why have I never thought of this? Heck I don't even use bacon grease for savoury applications - clearly a sorry state of affairs that needs to be corrected STAT!

I'm definitely making these - gobble gobble gobble.

texsara said...

I just recently tried your Texas gravy(using bacon grease)and it took a few tries but I think I've got it down!Gravy is one thing I could never do right without a starter package.This using bacon for sweets is really intriguing so I have to try it too! ;)Hey my grandmother's name was Blanche too! I grew up in E Tx piney woods she was part Cherokee & grew up in Oklahoma during the depression. I LOVE your blog!!

bluemixer said...

I've made Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies before... they were awesome! Next time, I'm going to sub some of the butter for bacon grease! Great idea!

FineTexan said...

Well, I keep my bacon grease in the fridge in a canning jar or any other jar with a lid. It does not ever go bad!! I use it to make enchiladas (to brown the flour and onions for the gravy) and for refried beans too. You can use it in the place of most any shortening or oil. Off the subject somewhat but I buy turkey tails to make my gravy and dressing for Thankgiving and Christmas. They are tender, succulent and rich like no other part of the TURKEY! I have some frozen right now as my store tends to only carry them near the Holidays and I buy them when I find them. Bacon or pork anything is dreamy and good. I like good clean chicken fat when I boil or bake a chicken. It will cure a cold like Jewish chicken soup!

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