Chocolate, in any form, is The Artist’s favorite treat. He would live on nothing but chocolate if he had his way. Too bad our bodies require additional nutrients! He, more than anyone, has benefited from our weekly Chocolate Mondays. As we head into another hectic and crazy holiday season, I would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You!
You see, if it were not for your suggestion, encouragement, comments, and support, Chocolate Mondays never would have been born. So I dedicate today’s recipe (and all the previous Chocolate Monday recipes) to you, my passionate and loyal chocolate lovers!
While there are many people in the food industry that consider the use of bacon in sweet dishes as being passé, I love the combination of sugar and salt together in one bite. And ever since my trip to the Ohio Amish country and tasting local Ohio maple syrup, I am addicted to it. It is one of my primary sweeteners in my baking and savory dishes.
When I was thinking about today’s dessert, I knew I wanted a chocolate cookie with maple, but didn’t want either flavor to overpower the other. These cookies are simple to make, with the addition of chopped chocolate augmenting the flavor and lending a nice crunch. If you like nuts in your cookies, adding chopped walnuts, pecans, cashews, or macadamias would be perfect. I meant to add them but honestly just forgot. Oops 🙂
Have you ever had candied bacon? It is positively addicting (there’s that word again) 😉
Making candied bacon is as simple as baking slices sprinkled with brown sugar in your oven until crispy. There is a fine line in getting the bacon crispy without burning the sugar. If you partially cook the bacon first and then add the sugar, it can get really crispy before the sugar has a chance to burn. If parts of the bacon slices get a little dark, just don’t use that part because it will make all the cookies taste bitter.
If your bacon doesn’t get really crispy, just put the bacon strips on a cutting board and chop them finely with a sharp knife. You will still get all the wonderful flavors. And as soon as you take one bite, tasting the combination of chocolate, maple and bacon, you’ll forget all about any problems you’ve had in the past month, LOL.
For bacon purists (you know who you are!) you can cook the bacon plain until crispy before crumbling it. The hit of salty goodness adds a beautiful counterpoint to the sweetness of the cookies and frosting. Personally, I can eat bacon morning, noon, and night, with or without the candy coating!
Rather than use maple syrup in the cookies themselves, I decided to create a maple frosting similar to what you find on donuts. Of course any frosting made with powdered sugar is going to be super sweet, so I used sour cream as the liquid to offset that slightly. I love the very slight tang it lends to the frosting.
When you are ready to frost the cookies you have several options. In each case, when the frosting has set up slightly, sprinkle the tops with some of the crumbled (or chopped) candied bacon.
- If you have people in your life like The Artist who don’t care for frosting, leave some of them plain – they are delicious straight out of the oven!
- You can use a thinner glaze and drizzle it over the top of the cookies – use a whisk or fork for thin, even lines.
- You can dip the cookies half way in the frosting giving a nice contrast of color and flavors. If you add a little “stem” at the dipped end they look a little like an acorn!
- Use a small offset spatula to fully frost the cookies, giving them and even, professional-looking finish.
As the days get cooler and we head toward winter and the holidays, I hope you will take a little time to make these cookies. I think they would be a huge hit for any cookie swaps you’re signed up for, holiday parties, or other celebrations. Of course for me, Monday is enough of an excuse to make a chocolate treat. 🙂
Thank you, each and every one of you for stopping by, saying Hi and letting me know you enjoy my recipes, and following me on social media. I appreciate you every day and thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Let the candied bacon cool completely so the sugar has a chance to solidify before you attempt to remove any excess grease. For me the easiest thing is to candy it, set aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for about 1 hour. That makes crumbling or chopping much easier. Then you can reheat the chopped bacon in the microwave on a paper towel-lined plate, which absorbs the grease without losing any of the sugar coating.
Whenever you are using any flour, but especially gluten-free blends, make sure you whisk them thoroughly to lighten them before measuring. Scoop some out and pour into your measuring cup until it is heaped high. Take a straight edge (back of a knife for example) and scrape the excess back into the container. Add this to your mixing bowl and repeat for remaining ingredients.
- Candied Bacon
- 6 to 7 slices thick-cut bacon
- 6 tbsp brown sugar, divided
- 2 cups (240 gr) all-purpose flour or GF flour blend (or use your favorite)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch xanthan gum, optional
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped milk or semisweet chocolate (or use chocolate chips)
- Maple Frosting / Glaze
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (do not use imitation)
- 1/4 tsp maple flavoring, optional
- 2 to 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Prepare Candied Bacon: Place the bacon on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle evenly with 3 tbsp of the brown sugar, breaking up any clumps. Return to the oven and bake for 3 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and, using tongs, carefully flip the pieces over. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tbsp brown sugar, return to the oven and continue baking until crisp, about 4 to 5 more minutes.
- Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to help it cool faster. When bacon is cool enough to handle, place on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble into small pieces and set aside. Note: If bacon isn’t completely crispy, you can also chop it with a sharp knife.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set a wire rack on the counter with a piece of parchment or waxed paper underneath it (to catch drips/crumbs).
- Make Cookies: In a bowl, combine the flour (or gluten-free flour blend), cocoa powder, xanthan gum (if using), baking soda, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and eggs and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, 1/2 at a time, beating after each addition just until incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
- Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, portion the dough into 2 tbsp balls and place on prepared baking sheet. These do spread so leave at least 1-inch between each one. I was able to get 8 on each sheet. For best results bake them one sheet at a time.
- Bake for about 8 minutes, the spin the baking sheet so that the front is now in the back of the oven. Continue baking until cookies are crisp at the edges and centers are mostly firm when lightly touched, about 8 to 10 more minutes.
- Transfer to prepared wire cooling rack and let sit until firm and completely cooled.
- Make Frosting/Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream and maple syrup until smooth. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. If you want a stronger maple flavor, you can add 1/4 tsp of maple flavoring. Add as much more of the sugar as you like to make a thick mixture. If you want to drizzle it over the cookies, use less sugar; if you want to spread it on like a frosting, use more.
- Assemble and Decorate Cookies: Spread frosting over cookies or drizzle with thinner glaze if preferred.
- Set the frosted cookies back on the parchment. Sprinkle the tops with the crumbed candied bacon. Let the frosting firm up before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed paper or parchment.
- Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies
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