I know, I had the same reaction. All my life I’ve been cooking bacon and tossing the residual fat, because, well, it’s the actual bacon that’s important, right? Turns out, there’s no need to be wasteful. It’s a secret weapon. When it congeals, the oily fat has the same consistency as butter, so naturally it’s a great replacement.
The subtle, porky smokiness lends quite a depth of flavour. I wish I could take credit for this idea (because it’s so genius) but I was given a newspaper clipping with a different recipe for these cookies, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it would be mind blowing. I tested a few peanut butter cookie recipes before landing on this one (modified from the Joy of Cooking) as I find it yields the best taste and texture.
Soft, crumbly, chewy Peanut Butter Bacon Fat Cookies. The bacon fat actually enhances the peanut butter flavour, and leaves a slight bacon taste on the tongue that lingers after you’ve eaten the cookie.
To be clear, these aren’t bacon cookies. I tried a version with actual bacon pieces added in, but that was – if possible – just too much bacon. By just using the fat, you get a really subtle flavour that is barely noticeable unless you know what to look for.
Think peanut butter cookies with a faint smokiness.
I had to give some of these away, because there was no way an entire batch of these cookies would last more than a day or two in my house. They’re just that good.
Since discovering this bacon fat/butter swap possibility, I’ve been keeping a jar of the stuff in my fridge for all sorts of culinary adventures. Adding just a touch of the fat to cookies, brownies, even mashed potatoes (yum!) adds a whole new level of flavour.
In all honesty, I loathe cooking bacon on the stovetop. It’s too messy, it spatters, it leaves an oily sheen on the stove. My secret to cooking bacon is to actually bake it. Line a rimmed baking tray with aluminum foil, then lay a wire rack on top. Lay the bacon strips on the wire rack, and bake at 375°F for about 18-20 minutes until cooked and crispy. This way, the fat drips down into the pan, and you can cook quite a few strips at once. No fuss, no muss!
So next time you make bacon, bake it! Keep the bacon fat; let it cool slightly in the pan, then pour it into a mason jar and store in your fridge. When you need to use it, let the jar warm up on the counter for about 10 minutes, then use in place of butter.
You won’t be disappointed!
|Peanut Butter Bacon Fat Cookies|| |
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ⅓ cup bacon fat, congealed at room temp
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the bacon fat and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg, peanut butter, and vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just combined.
- The mixture will be crumbly but will hold its shape when pressed into a ball. Shape into 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Flatten the tops with a fork, making a criss cross pattern.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and puffy. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.