Thursday, December 15, 2011

#51 New Recipes: Brown Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Say what?

Say YES. Because they're pretty freaking delicious.

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of putting a lot of effort into making Chocolate Chip Cookies. After all, for a fantastic cookie all you have to do is go to the store and buy a big tub of cookie dough, scoop it out with a spoon, plop into onto a baking tray and put it in the oven. And the majority of the time when I do that, the cookie dough doesn't make it onto the baking tray, it just goes from the spoon to my mouth, delighting me and horrifying my husband.

On the rare occasion that chocolate chip cookies are made from scratch in my home, I usually start with a plaintively sweet-voiced, "Hey Adaaaaaaam?"

So these are certainly the most labor intensive chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. Lots of steps, lots of different kinds of chocolate (chips, chunks and grated!), not to mention frying the bacon. I'm sure it would be just as easy to throw some bacon into your own personal favorite chocolate chip recipe, but since the blog that I got this from claimed that the brown butter chocolate chip cookies are the best ever and the author of that blog had obviously taken a lot of time to test different variations of chocolate, I wanted to try her complete recipe. And I have to admit, they're incredibly good even if they take much longer than I would normally want my chocolate chip cookies to take.

Brown Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from some chick's blog, which she adapted from a Cooks Illustrated recipe)

1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (that's a stick and 3/4 for those of you following along at home =)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
4 oz semisweet chocolate bar, diced into 1/4" pieces
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons milk chocolate, grated (Now, I switched some of these up because I had to stick with what was available at Safeway. I used milk chocolate chips, grated semi-sweet chocolate and used a bittersweet chocolate bar to dice into small chunks. As far as I can tell, still delicious.)
1 cup bacon that's been fried until crispy and diced into roughly 1/4" pieces (About 8 pieces of bacon = 1 cup. The blogger I followed recommends using good REAL hickory smoked bacon. I used brown sugar bacon because it's what was on sale.)

Ok. I did things in a slightly different order from the blogger, because some of these take TIME. Like, she directed me to pre-heat my oven... which made my kitchen incredibly hot while I spent the next 40 minutes doing things like frying bacon, melting butter, grating chocolate, etc. and the chocolate ended up getting all over my hands and the cutting board because it was melting. Granted, I have a very small kitchen and so the heat collects pretty quickly, but still. There's no reason to leave your oven on that long. On my second run of doing these cookies I didn't start pre-heating the oven until the bacon was fried and the chocolate chopped & grated.

So, here's the breakdown of how I did these.

1. Start frying up the bacon. If you can't fit all 8 pieces into the pan that's fine, I did mine 4 at a time. I'm sure that you could use a microwave or oven, but I actually do mine in the pan because I feel like I have more control over the bacon in the pan and I wanted to make sure I didn't burn any. You want them VERY cripsy, but not burned. Plus, while it's frying it gave me time to do other steps.

2. Keeping an eye on the bacon, as it's cooking, whisk your 1 3/4 cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and set it aside.

3. The bacon should still be cooking, although make sure you're turning it over and keeping an eye on it because you want it right on the edge of burning so that it's super crispy (chewy bacon fat in the cookies isn't as good as crispy chips of bacon). As soon as pieces of bacon are done, put them on a paper towel to "dry". Meanwhile, put 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt into a large mixing bowl. No need to mix them up yet, but now you have them on hand.

4. Bacon still frying? Good. Start grating and chopping your chocolate.

5. By this time, hopefully the bacon is done and cooled on the paper towel. Sure you're supposed to chop it into 1/4" pieces - I used my hands to break it apart.

It was easier than the knife and if the bacon is crispy enough then you'll have no problem doing this. If you run into any problem areas where it's fatty instead of cripsy then BONUS! Eat those fatty parts immediately. Yum.

6. Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter (not all 14!) in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. You want a large, wide, flat pan because the butter is going to brown and you need to be able to SEE all of it. Swirl this pan constantly and stir the bottom for good measure. There are lots of warnings about how fast butter browns... it actually doesn't. It will seem like it's taking forever. You will ask your Chef Husband, "Is it brown yet?" at least 5 times as you worry about leaving it on the stove for too long and each time he will give you a withering stare and ask, "Does it look brown." Eventually as you stir the butter with a spatula, little bits of amber/copper color will start leaking into the butter from the bottom. Ooo! you think, It's brown! No, it's just got copper specks in it. Give it another minute but DO NOT STOP STIRRING and do NOT take your eyes off of it. The warnings you hear about how fast butter browns is because once it starts browning it goes from brown to BURNED in an incredibly short period of time. Very soon, you will have brown butter. Transfer it immediately into a heat proof bowl and then put the last 4 oz of butter in to melt.
If you are impatient like me, you will end up chopping that big block that you happily dropped in into smaller pieces so that it will melt faster.
7. Put the butter into the bowl with the sugars. This is a good time to start preheating your oven to 375 degrees. To the sugar/butter mixture, add 2 teaspoon vanilla, egg and egg yolk and mix until full incorporated. You can use a mixer or a whisk. I used a fork because I don't have a whisk and I was too lazy to get out the mixer. Plus, builds good arm muscles. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes and then whisk again for 30 seconds. Do this several times, which will allow the sugar to "melt" into the liquid. The mixture should be smooth, thick and shiny when you're done.

8. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. I kinda folded my flour in, about a third at a time. The more flour in the mixture, the harder it's going to get to stir - that's good! Just keep folding it (stick in spoon, reach down to the bottom, fold it over the top). Fold it in until just combined - don't over stir, but make sure there are no flour pockets.

9. Stir in the grated chocolate, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks and bacon pieces.

10. Using a teaspoon, place a heaping spoonful of cookie dough on the baking sheets. I got about 12 - 16 cookies per baking sheet.

11. Bake for 10-14 minutes (took 11 for me) until cookies are golden brown and set along the edges but still soft in the middle. Remove from oven and set baking sheet on a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes, keeping cookies on the baking sheet as they cool.

12. Give a cookie to Chef Husband for reaction:


  1. hahaha i LOVE your commentary :) and "Chef hubby's" response :) ..i still say i need you to mail me some of these.

  2. Wow, these sound revolting and are probably, what, like 2000 calories apiece? lol I'm willing to try it though! Although I'll be using the bacon that cooks in the microwave in 45 seconds. Because I haven't a clue how to make "real" bacon. Does that make me weird? Hmm...