Food & Recipes

Don’t Throw Out That Bacon Fat! Use It to Make Pillowy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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When I’m craving a treat on Saturday morning, I reach for the bacon. The smell wafting through the kitchen is enough to pull any slow risers out of bed! But by the time it’s done cooking, I’m left with a ton of bacon grease. Instead of scooping it out and tossing it in the trash as usual, I recently decided to save it and try out an unusual recipe: bacon fat chocolate chip cookies. 

I must admit that at first glance, I was not tempted by the idea. Cookies already have plenty of butter in them — why add grease? After a little digging, I found the answer. Bacon fat is much softer at room temperature than butter. In a hot cookie, it doesn’t form a hard solid once it cools down. This gives the cookie a tender and soft texture instead of a crisp one. Plus, bacon fat isn’t as flavorful as you might think, so it won’t dramatically change the flavor.

How To Make Bacon Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies 

To make bacon fat chocolate chip cookies, I recommend following your favorite traditional cookie recipe and simply substituting bacon grease for some of the butter (not all!). Being overly cautious, I subtracted just one tablespoon of butter from the original recipe, which called for a half cup (or two sticks) and added one tablespoon of bacon fat in its place. However, many bakers promise that you can substitute up to half a cup of bacon fat and achieve delicious results.  

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup and 7 tablespoons butter, cold (cut one tablespoon off the second stick of butter)  
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla  
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)  
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 1 cup each of milk chocolate and dark chocolate chips) 
  • 1/2 cup bacon, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces (optional) 

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  1. Beat together butter, bacon fat, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a mixer (or by hand). 
  1. Add the eggs one at a time. 
  1. Stir in the vanilla and salt. 
  1. Add the baking soda and flour, incorporating the flour in heaping spoonfuls rather than all at once.  
  1. Use a firm spatula or big spoon to bring the dough together. Fold in the chocolate chips and bacon bits.  
  1. Scoop tablespoons of the dough, form them into balls, and place them on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  
  1. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the edges of the cookie have browned slightly. 

Tips: 

  1. If you are mixing the dough by hand, use softened butter. If you don’t want to wait for it to reach room temperature on its own, check out this trick for softening butter quickly. Be sure to chill your dough for 30 minutes before baking if you use softened butter.  
  1. For a fluffier texture, make sure your eggs are at room temperature before adding them to the dough. To quickly warm them, let them sit in a bowl of hot water.  
  1. If you are adding bacon bits, leave out the ½ teaspoon of salt.  
  1. For a more complex flavor and chewier consistency, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.  

Would I make bacon fat chocolate chip cookies again? 

Overall, I was quite impressed by this recipe. I didn’t want to taste bacon (I’m a traditionalist!) so I chose not to add bacon bits to my dough. I also kept the bacon fat to a minimum. If I were to make these again, however, I would add much more bacon fat to the recipe because it imparts very little flavor.  

Even just one tablespoon of bacon fat had a positive effect. The cookies were pillowy and soft. While baking, they held their shape more than a traditional chocolate chip cookie.  

If you prefer flatter cookies, I’d recommend pressing each dough ball down slightly before baking. I tried this on the second batch, and the cookies came out flatter and slightly crispier. What’s great about this recipe is that it’s easy to modify. It’s definitely one that you’ll want to try! 

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