I have a lot of tips about making cookies (and baking in general) so please check here for those tips and the original thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie recipe if you wish!
This recipe makes a lot of cookies, maybe around 60, so no need to double unless you want to freeze some of the dough. I asked my 7th grade boyfriend (who uses this recipe) how many he would say it made and he said “A LOT. The last two times (out of 3x I’ve made them) I’ve thought to myself, “maybe I should double the recipe like I did that first time”. Cut to, I’m like 2/3 though the batter and I’m like, “note to self, there is no need to EVER double this recipe.”
Getting right down to it, you can throw candied bacon in just about any recipe and make it better but I think the foundation of the cookie is really important, you can’t just put lipstick on a pig right? I use my thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie recipe (with small variations) to make these perfect little crisps of goodness because the texture of the center of the cookie plays very nicely with the crunch of the bacon.
Disclaimer: I love bacon so the amount I use may be too much for you but don’t change it, there’s never too much bacon….
That being said, let’s get started!
What you will need:
- 1 lb bacon (or one package, see note)
- ~2 tbsp maple syrup (Pure maple syrup please)
- 2 2/3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (muscovado if you can find it)
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (always use Madagascar vanilla if you can please)
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 4 oz. block of Baker’s German chocolate (or any variety you prefer as long as it isn’t milk chocolate)
- 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
[Note: I’m all for being healthy if you can but I just believe nitrates make bacon taste better so I buy Oscar Mayer or Smithfield bacon for these cookies or for any reason I am “candying” the bacon. More economical brands of bacon have a lot of fat which does not work well here, get the good stuff.]
Take out the butter and eggs because you want them both at room temperature (at least 30 minutes, 1 hour is better).
Chop your bacon into bits by slicing ~every 1/2 inch along a slice of bacon, don’t separate the pieces, cut through the entire stack at once. I just remove it from the package, lay it on a cutting board and slice through the whole thing at once.
Place all of the bacon in a non-stick, larger frying pan and cook until all of the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy but not too crispy making sure to separate the pieces as you cook. Some larger pieces are good but not a lot.
Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels and wash the pan (save the rendering for macaroni and cheese or potatoes or bread or whatever, that stuff is like umami gold). Now this is important so be super diligent here: move the bacon to clean paper towels and remove as much of the rendering from the pieces as you can and place back into the clean pan and turn the heat to medium.
Pour the maple syrup into the pan with the bacon (I say ~2 tbsp but I never measure, just pour enough into the pan so the bacon will be coated with just a little extra in the pan) and cook until there is almost no syrup left in the pan (as it reduces over the heat, it becomes harder and sweeter).
Remove the bacon to a plate or pan lined with parchment paper (do NOT use wax paper, that’s an accident waiting to happen) and make sure you spread it out where the pieces aren’t really touching. Some can touch, don’t go nuts trying to make it perfect because sometimes I just dump it all on the plate then chop it later. Save yourself a step.
You will want this to cool until it no longer feels sticky, the time varies based on humidity and the amount of syrup you used; if I’m being honest, if you use too much it will never dry so be very careful. Too little is never a problem so err on that side please. Once it has cooled to your satisfaction….
Set the oven to 350, you will need it for the walnuts.
Chop the walnuts finely, you want them to add texture but not jump out at you like “oh, there’s a chunk of walnut”. Put the walnuts on a sheet pan (or whatever kind of vessel you choose) and put in the oven for maybe 7 minutes (you don’t want to over toast, just want to warm up the oils a bit), remove them and let them cool. The oven doesn’t have to reach full temp for you to place the nuts in it, I do not toast them a lot so a lower temp will be fine.
Let them cool before you put in the batter.
In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugars and corn syrup. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Mix together the dry ingredients and add to the bowl, don’t mix yet.
Now you want to prep the chocolate. I “shave” the chocolate with a knife by slicing really thin along the short side of the block and it will just “splinter” off, you don’t want any really large chunks; the goal is to have the chocolate melt into the cookie. After I finish “shaving” the block, I run the knife across the other way to cut any longer “strips” into smaller pieces. The smaller and thinner the pieces, the more chocolate through every bite.
Now you can place the cooled nuts, bacon and chocolate (shaved and chips) into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. You don’t want to mix too much and I recommend you mix this with a rubber spatula or spoon so as not to over mix (which is a disaster when talking about cookies). Use your best judgement but please stop mixing when you no longer see flour.
If you can, avoid using a dark pan as it could cause these cookies to burn on the bottom. I use a silver(ish) pan with Reynolds Non-Stick Aluminum Foil but parchment paper is good also. If it is a good non-stick pan, just put the cookies on the pan but please try the pre-bake first (outlined in the bullets in the link at the beginning if you don’t know if your oven temp is precise). You don’t want to ruin an entire batch.
I use a cookie scoop but you can use a regular spoon to scoop the dough, just make sure they are all about the same size for consistency in cooking. You do not have to roll these around because the heat from your hands could affect the texture of the candied bacon, just dump the ball onto the sheet from the scoop/spoon. Sprinkle each cookie with the sea salt and bake for about 12 minutes, I turn the cookie sheet halfway through for consistency but I am obsessive so you don’t have to do that if you don’t think you need to.
The cookies will look a little underdone but that’s okay, they will firm up as expected. If you follow the advice about testing one cookie, you will just follow what you learned there.
As I mentioned in my other cookie recipe, there are so many things you can add but please consider adding whatever you like, it is your food so make it your own!