Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 1: Bacon Ginger Cookies - Best ginger cookie ever!

One of the flavours most associated with the holidays is ginger. Warm and spicy, ginger cookies come in all kinds of forms, crispy and chewy, there one to suit everyone's tastes. I discovered this amazing idea to add bacon to ginger cookies while reading a Martha Stewart magazine a couple years ago. I used it as an inspiration for my own version. A lot of people have turned up their noses at these cookies, but the flavour wins them over every time. The bacon just added a fantastic crunchy, salty treat.  If you love things that are sweet and salty, these are the cookies for you. (Plus you know anything with bacon in it, has to be good.)
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


8 slices of thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into 1/4" cubes (Hint: if you freeze the bacon for 30 mins it is easier to slice neatly)
2 1/4 cups flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup Turbinado sugar for rolling

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Fry the diced bacon in a large frying pan on medium-low heat to render all the fat and make the bacon very crispy without burning. This should be done slowly, it will take about 15 minutes. Carefully spoon bacon onto paper towel to dry, but reserve all the fat in a bowl and let cool. (You should end up with 3/4 cup of bacon fat. If you didn't get enough fat, make up the difference in butter.)
3. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together; flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Put aside.
4. In a second bowl, mix butter and cooled bacon fat and both white and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Add the egg and molasses to the sugar mixture. Then add the dry ingredients mixing slowly until just blended.
6. Add the crispy bacon bits and fold into the batter. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
7. Roll the dough into balls approximately 1" across, roll the balls into the turbinado sugar.
8. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a fork.
9. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, rotating the pan once. The cookie is done when it starts to crisp on the outside but is still soft in the center.  Cool the cookies on a rack until completely cool.

Note: This dough freezes brilliantly! Make ahead of time and keep the doughballs in a ziploc bag, when  you want to bake some let them thaw out before rolling in sugar and baking. The finished cookies freeze very well too.

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