Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few weeks ago, when I bemoaned to Lisa that I felt like there was a limited quantity of recipes to choose from, and that I had kind of made everything I was good enough to make, she suggested one thing: bacon.

And so it became my overriding goal to figure out just exactly when I'd have the right situation to make 650-calorie cookies that involved yumminess, deliciousness and a whole heaping helping of bacon.

Turns out I had a couple-times-yearly meeting of the cookie minds, where we get together, try new recipes and drink bourbon. Ok, so maybe the bourbon isn't that important, but what better time than this to try out my new recipe?

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cinnamon Maple Glaze


* 3/4 cup butter
* 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract or almond extract
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 eggs
* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup white chocolate chips
* 1 cup dark chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 2 lbs bacon, cooked and crumbled (about 2 cups)
* 1/2 lb bacon, cooked in whole strips
* 2 cups powdered sugar, for the maple glaze
* 1 tablespoon maple extract, for the maple glaze
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, for the maple glaze
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, for the maple glaze


The first thing I noticed about this is that they wanted me to prepare two and a half pounds of really crispy bacon ... and I've never made bacon before. I figure this should be pretty easy, because everyone and their mom knows how to make bacon, but it turned out to be much harder than I expected. That said, if you're going to cook three pounds of bacon

  • be prepared to eat a half pound of bacon when putting this together

  • make sure there are no holes in the heavy duty foil you use to cook it in a jelly roll pan in the oven

  • and make sure you have two hours for this entire process

  • oh, and leave the windows open as your apartment/kitchen/house/block is going to smell like a tailgate for the next two days

Step 0.5 - Cook all the bacon.

Anyway, once you're done with your bacon put it on a paper-toweled plate so that the paper will soak up some of the grease and leave your bacon a little crispier. I suggest getting salty bacon for this, as it will help maximize the flavor oppositeness of the savory and sweet.

Once you're done making your bacon, you can either food process it (mine probably would have made the pieces a little small) or you can chop it up on a cutting board to get it small enough to put in the cookies. Save 1/2 pound for adding to the top of the cookies, though, so don't chop up all your bacon.

Step 1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, extracts and eggs until creamy. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir together. Dough will be slightly soft. If you want a more cakelike cookie, add another 1/2 cup of flour. Mix in chocolate chips and crumbled bacon. Stir until well integrated.

The bacon is the longest, hardest part of the rest of this recpie, though, and once you've done that part it's a lot like putting together most normal chocolate chip cookies. You beat together the sugars and butter, then add the dry mix.

Step 2. Place dough on a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Looks good, no?

Step 2.5. Lick the beater.

As with all good recipes, we then lick the beater.

Step 3. Preheat oven to 350. Remove dough from fridge. Pinch off 1 ½ -inch pieces and roll into balls. Set dough balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten dough balls in the center slightly with your fingers. Bake about 10 minutes, or until the dough starts to turn golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack while you make the glaze.

After that, just lay your cookies out on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper much like you would expect to normally and cook them. Put the rest of the bacon in the fridge (you will vaguely recall something about not letting meat sit out) and proceed to make the cinnamon maple glaze.

Step 4. Maple-Cinnamon Glaze: Mix 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon maple extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon cinnamon with enough water to make a thick glaze, about 3 tablespoons. Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. If lumpy, use a whisk.

I had never heard of maple extract, and no one in any of the stores I went to had either, so I just added extra cinnamon. Everyone who ended up eating the cookies said that was the best part, and I'll be adding that to many cookies in the future.

Step 5. Spread a small amount of glaze on top of each cookie and top with a small piece (1 to 1 ½ inches) of crisp bacon.

Once the cookies are out of the oven and done, put a small piece of bacon on top of each one. Resist the urge to eat all the bacon you're ripping up.


Add a little bit of the glaze to the top of the cookie and, voila! Stacking these cookies is kind of hard, but if you put them in the fridge once you're done with them you'll find the glaze thickens and hardens pretty well, so you could transport them afterwards. These are much better cookies to cook and serve, though, so I would suggest against transporting them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mary's Oreo Truffles

Let me be clear, I did not come up with this recipe. And there's really technically no baking involved. But that doesn't make them any less than awesome.

I've made Mary's Oreo Truffles three times, and each time people have told me it's like putting sex something really tasty in their mouth. And they're super easy to make!

Mary's Oreo Trufles
1 package Oreos
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 tsp of vanilla
1 package of chocolate almond bark
optional: vanilla almond bark
necessary kitchen contraption: food processor

Despite living in New York, I've never been able to find almond bark (am I not looking in the right stores? who knows.) but I've made this successfully with milk chocolate chips, and as you'll see below, peanut butter chips and it's come out quite tasty each time.

First, let's start with the basics.

Since there will be no beaters involved with this experiment, we have to test the product to make sure they're good.

Now that we've verified the goods, we go on to my favorite thing, pulverizing the Oreos. Ignore that faint burning smell from your food processor.

Close up view.

Now that we've got that set, add the cream cheese and vanilla and pulse again until the mixture looks like a creamy, delicious end product you'd like to take a spoon to.

Close up -- remember, when you start taking the mixture out to make the truffles, there are really sharp blades in there and if you aren't careful, you'll cut your finger (not that this happened to me, no, not at all).

Take about a spoonful and roll into small balls and place them on a cookie sheet with wax paper down. As Mary said, your hands will get messy, just get used to it.

Close up.

Once these are done, using a double boiler, put each Oreo ball into the melted chocolate in the top of the double boiler (or, in this case, peanut butter because I was out of chocolate -- you should check these things before you start the process) and use two forks to roll them around until completely covered. Then move back to the cookie sheet.

Put them in the fridge until just about ready to serve and, voila, here you go.

I've added white icing to the top before, but, like the chocolate, I didn't have any. It really does make them prettier but doesn't change the rate at which people just gobble them up.

And, if you're of age, I always suggest baking with one of these:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Brownies with Butterscotch Ganache

In case you haven't noticed, I'm on quite a butterscotch kick. Seriously, that stuff tastes fantastic. So when I saw Lisa share this receipe, I knew I had to make it.

And what better reason than it's Thursday?

Peanut Butter Blondies with Butterscotch Ganache

3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup butterscotch chips
3 tablespoons cream

Note: These ingredients will get you a 9x13's pan worth of blondies. Want a jelly roll pan's worth? Double the recipe.

Step 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with parchment, creasing the corners so that they lie flat. Set aside.

Oh, this is totally going to be easy.

Step 2. In a large bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy.

Goopy! I used smooth peanut butter. Usually I will go with crunchy peanut butter, but I don't think it would have been good with this recipe.

Add the sugars and whip until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Brown sugar clumps. If you have any really solid pieces, break them up with a fork/spoon otherwise your mixer will end up throwing brown sugar clumps all over the bowl (or you).

Before adding the dry mix, it will be really good looking, but not thick.

Some people might even describe it as really wet.

Step 3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Step 4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. The batter will be fairly thick.

She's right, the batter will get to be very thick. You can't beat it too much, so make it a little thicker than you think you'd probably need to. Beat at low speed for a while and then speed it up to a medium speed to make sure it's effectively mixed.

One thing to note: if you don't have a dishwasher, you'll want to wash this stuff very quickly after we're done. Remember, we're working with peanut butter, so it will get crusty really quickly if you don't at least let it soak.

Step 4.5. Lick the beater.

Step 5. Pour/spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.

Step 6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the centre is set but not firm. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

I didn't take a picture of this, but there's no real way to get it evenly done, especially if you make a jelly roll pan's worth. So, give in to the fact that your sides will be a little crispy, but better to have the middle done and the side crispy than the side good and the middle too gooey.

But then it comes out and looks awesome!

Step 7. When the blondie is cool, prepare the butterscotch ganache. In the top of a double boiler over low-medium heat, stir the butterscotch chips just until melted. Remove from heat, stir until smooth and immediately pour over the cooled blondie.

I didn't take a picture of the making of the ganache, but it's pretty easy. Don't have a double boiler? Simply put one saucepan in another saucepan (smaller into bigger) filled with boiling water. In the top saucepan, put your ingredients (cream and butterscotch chips in this case). Keep mixing but doing it this way will keep it from burning the bottom of the saucepan.

Step 8. Refrigerate until set. Cut into squares. Or diamonds. Hell, I don't care.

It makes a lot when you double the recipe, but if you have friends and people who like sweets, these will go quickly.

One other note: Your pieces on the end will have these little weird shelves where they cooked over the side of the pan. If these really bother you, cut them off, but they taste good to me.

Verdict: Delicious! If I had it to do over again, I'd probably make a little extra ganache and cover it more thoroughly, but a really easy, quick recipe that many small children at birthday parties would love.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

I like to make things for people at my office, mostly because it means I'm not eating everything I make and because they seem to like it. But, B-Mac can't eat peanut butter (or any nut-based dessert) where a lot of folks seem to like it so, since I really don't want to kill her and keep her working on things that make my life easier, I sometimes look for non-nut recipes to make sure she can partake.

So I went out looking for a recipe that had no nuts and would incorporate things I already had in my kitchen, namely Butterscotch chips as I needed a good excuse to use them up.

Oh, and I'm on a super-strong Butterscotch kick. Seriously, this stuff is the bomb.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

* 3/4 cup butter, softened
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups rolled oats
* 1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

I can handle this. Totally.

2. In a large bowl beat the butter or margarine, white sugar and brown sugar together.

Put everything in the bowl and start mixing.

At first the sugar will clump, keep working it 'til it looks much smoother.

3. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating well.

You should get a very smooth mixture once you're done with this.

4. Stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

First things first: I made sure to add a full tablespoon of cinammon because, like vanilla, it is an awesome spice and should be incorporated in almost-excess at just about every opportunity.

5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until blended.

When you start mixing in the flour, do it a little bit at a time. Dump a little of the flour in, mix it, and then add more. You don't want things to get too solidified while you're still adding mix, so make it a smooth transition. Doing it in a smooth fashion means it'll be better mixed because you won't be trying to do it all at once and have so much flour in the way, but better to get it in there and mixing before you've got dough with flour leftover.

When you're done, it should look like this.

6. Stir in the oats and the butterscotch chips.

Add in the rest of the stuff and start mixing. You'll get a very lumpy mixture, which is exactly what you're looking for. The recipe called for some specific amount of chips, but figure it to be 1 bag of butterscotch chips.

7.5. Lick the beater

7. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

If you don't have a friend like J-Dog who will get you a super-pimping cookie scooper, you firstly should get one (having people like that are über-useful and good to talk things over with) and you can secondly use a tablespoon as that will get basically the same result.

Two things to keep in mind: the recipe says that it will make 48 cookies, and though I didn't think that was at all possible considering the amount of dough the recipe generated, you could probably get that many if you made them really small. That said, I didn't do that -- mine we're fairly decent sized which left me with 36 cookies.

And secondly, don't get cocky and try and nonchalantly put the last tray of cookies in the oven, as you will most likely hit the rack and spill your cookies. Important to note: if you have a gas oven, like I do, you will want to pick up the cookies that spilled using a few paper towels and AN OVEN MITT otherwise you will absolutely burn the crap out of your hand. That said, you will also want to clean it up quickly or it will start burning and set off your fire alarm, pissing off your neighbors something fierce.

8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges begin to brown.

Conclusion: These are awesome. Absolutely delicious. Hardest part? Not eating them all.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lisa's Toffee Cookie Bars

The best thing about having friends who bake is that they often are at the ready when I ask "Do you have something good I can make? I'm not inspired."

And if you have a friend like Lisa, she will say "Boom goes the dynamite!"* and have one ready for you.

So, she made them recently and gave me the recipe as a great "take to work" kind of treat. She said her mom used to make them and moms make the best food, so I'm inclined to go with it.

Lisa's Mom's Toffee Cookie Bars

Toffee Bars
1c. Butter of Margerine
1c. brown sugar (light or dark, I used dark)
1tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk
2c. flour
1 bag of chocolate chips (less or more, depending on taste)
1/2c-1c. chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, pistachios)

Step 1. Set oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 9"x13" baking dish (glass or metal) and set aside.

I figured no one needed a picture of this. Though, that said, I always line with tin foil to make cleanup easier, because though I like to bake, I'm lazy at heart and I don't have a dishwasher.

Step 1. Combine the flour and salt in small bowl, set aside.

Ok, this is the fairly easy part. I can do this. A w(h)isk works best.

Step 2. In a larger bowl, mix the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add egg yolk, mix well.

At first your mixture will look pretty good when you've beaten it into submission.

But once you add the egg and vanilla, it will get runny so mix for a while 'til it firms up. Also, I always, always suggest adding a little more vanilla than is listed in the mixture. I know, I know, baking and science and exactness and all but vanilla is awesome and should be highlighted in all recipes.

Step 3. Add flour mixture until fully combined.

Lisa's instructions say: At first, the dough is really crumbly, and she is correct.

but turn up the speed on the mixer and it will get more thick/heavy. and she is again, also, correct.

I also added some Reese's Pieces because a) they're awesome, b) I don't use nuts in my desserts and c) I didn't want to eat them straight out of the bag.

Step. 3.5. Lick the beater.

Step 4. Press dough evenly into pan and bake for about 20-25 min.

You don't want the dough to be browned, but lightly tan when it comes out.

Step 5. Pour chips on dough and spread melted chips with knife or spatula.

I used to think this part, which, once you've cooled it gives it the hard chocolate shell, was really impressive and hard to do. [Lee Corso]: Not so fast my friend. [/Lee Corso]

When you first take the pan out of the oven, pour the bag of chips on top straight away. The heat from the cookie bars will melt the chocolate and allow you to spread it evenly over the top. Last time I tried to do this I melted the chocolate first, which is completely unnecessary; this way works just as well.

After that, just let it cool and cut into whatever size bar you choose. Store in airtight container. Will last for a week ... depending on how many cookie monsters live in your house.

Conclusion: Pretty good, but I found them to be a little flour-y which might mean that I didn't measure the flour well enough, or that it might have only needed 1 3/4 cups of flour or such. I'd probably also add some peanut butter or caramel (and cinnamon) if I were to do them again.

* - May not exactly be what she said.