Aug 112012
 

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Oatmeal cookies. With bacon. And bourbon. Really, there’s nothing else to say.

Let’s get to work.


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Stuff you need:

10 slices of good bacon, diced into pinkie fingernail-sized squares (generally about 250 g or 9 oz)
125 ml (or 1/2 cup) of bourbon
125 ml (1/2 cup) of lightly packed brown sugar
75 ml (1/3 cup) sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter (you want this at room temperature)
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
250 ml (1 cup) of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
a generous 125 ml (1/2 cup) of quick cook oats

You will also need to have a shallow heat-proof bowl and a piece of plastic wrap big enough to cover it tightly at hand and ready to go. Get that stuff out now.

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We start, as with all great things in life, with the bacon. Cook the diced bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until crisp but not crumbly. You know that sort of cooked-yet-still-sort-of-soft bacon you get on burgers at fast food places? You want it cooked more than that. You know that super dark brown bacon that crumbles when you try and bite it? You want it cooked less than that.

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Use a slotted spoon and scoop the bacon out of the pan and into a shallow bowl. Do not drain the bacon on paper towels. The fat that is clinging to the bacon at this point is fat you want in your cookies. While the bacon is still hot pour three-quarters of the bourbon over it and immediately cover it tightly with the plastic wrap.

Sorry for all the bold type there, but that part is absolutely crucial.

Put your covered bowl of bacon ‘n bourbon goodness aside for at least one hour. In the meantime, you can strain the bacon fat that is left in the pan and put it into a container to keep in the fridge. Don’t let me catch you throwing it out – that’s liquid gold right there.

After your mash has rested for the required hour (or more) we are ready for the main show. Get out your electric mixer (a stand mixer is going to work best here, but a hand-held model is okay in a pinch) and use it to cream both sugars and butter in a large bowl for 3 minutes. Uncover your bacon-bourbon mash and add it along with the egg and vanilla and mix well – at least for a full minute. Add your oats and mix for three more minutes.

In a separate small bowl whisk together the flour, baking power, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, first add the remainder of the bourbon and then your dry ingredient mix and stir until fully blended. To get a good traditional chewy oatmeal cookie, cover the bowl of batter with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least one hour. However, if you are in a hurry or you don’t really care for a chewier cookie, you can omit this step.

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When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 190° C (that’s 375° F for those of you following along from south of the border). Scoop balls of dough onto your cookie sheet, about 4 tablespoons in size. I have both 2 and 4 tablespoon scoops, and I recommend them highly – they are a great and inexpensive investment for your kitchen. SLIGHTLY flatten the balls of dough. You just want to get a small flat spot on top, don’t mush them all the way down – see the surprisingly-helpful photo right below this paragraph to see what I mean. You should get one dozen cookies and they bake best well spaced out, so go with six per half-sheet pan.

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Pop them into the oven and bake them for 18 minutes. The first time you bake them you might want to keep an eye on them for the last couple of minutes – you want the edges to be slightly crunchy but the middles to be soft and light. You can adjust the time a couple of minutes in either direction as needed. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for at least 10 minutes before peeling them off and transferring them to a rack. They are best when completely cool. so have a bit of patience before you dig in. Certainly you want to let them cool fully before you put them in a container.

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This recipe scales amazingly well, so if you decide you need a bigger batch just double all of the measurements. And be sure to reserve at least one of these to have with a really good cup of coffee – the pairing of the complex salty-rich-bourbon-sweet-oaty taste of these cookies and fresh coffee is the stuff of kitchen legends.

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