Friday, January 17, 2014

Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is Friday, January 17, 2014, and I'm calling it: I'm officially D-O-N-E with winter. I'm over it. I don't want any more cold, I don't want any more snow, I don't want any more below-zero wind chills. I'm so ready for spring that I'm practically aching with it.

I always get kind of blah during the winter, but this year, it's especially bad. I have no energy and no motivation and I know it's all connected to the weather. Basically, I would like to hibernate until at least April in flannel pajamas, in my cozy house, with my family and a few batches of these peanut butter bacon chocolate chip cookies to keep me company. Why can't that be my life?

Let's talk about these cookies, because if anything can pull me out of my wintertime funk it's these beauties. These peanut butter cookies not only have sticky, brown sugar bacon pieces in them; they also have bacon drippings in them. Along with peanuts and chocolate chips, of course. This is another of those instances where I need the smiley face emoticon with the hearts for eyes to describe how I really feel. These cookies are a little sweet, a little salty, and a lot sinful. So, in short, you're going to love them.

Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Food Network

5 strips bacon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup roughly chopped honey-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Place the bacon on the baking sheet with space between each strip. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Bake, turning once, until bacon is crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and set aside to cool. Set bacon aside to cool and, once cool, chop into small bits. 
2. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Beat the butter and reserved bacon drippings in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the peanut butter until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the granulated and light brown sugar until creamy, about 4 minutes, then add the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 more minutes.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed, until just combined. Stir in the peanuts and all but 2 tablespoons each of the chocolate chips and bacon.

5. Form the dough into 12 balls and arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten with your fingers (the cookies will not spread in the oven); press the reserved bacon and chocolate chips on top. Bake until golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Let the cookies cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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