Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gingersnap Bacon Fat Cookies: What to do with those velvety drippings

If after reading my coq au vin post, you decided to multiply the recipe by six to feed a party of twenty-five for a Burgundy dinner at the wine bar you manage, you might have extra bacon fat left over. That is, if you stayed true to the roots of coq au vin and used the bacon and its fat as a flavoring agent rather than as a deep-frying vehicle. Not that I wouldn't try chicken deep-fried in bacon fat, I would, but within a mile's proximity from a doctor's office.

Let me tell you, with fat from five pounds of bacon, one can cook and bake a lot of things. One thing that one should not do, by the way, is make peanut butter bacon-fat cookies. They taste like peanut butter and ham sandwiches. Not that I would know from experience. One thing one should do is bake the best gingersnap cookies that you'll ever eat in your life. Sorry grandma.

The following cookie recipe is an adaption of NY Times Fashion Critic Cathy Horyn's family recipe. She adapted the recipe from Nelle Branson's Trinity Episcopal Church Recipe Book, whose author orginally got the recipe from Kevin Bacon's mother's cousin.

The bacon adds a smoky character to the cookies unattainable by using butter that touches your heart in that special way. Good lord they were good. I didn't change very much in the recipe, but the photo accompanying her recipe shows her cookies as thin and crisp when mine were thicker and crunchy. Should we play a riveting game of guess which cookies were made by the fashion critic? The difference in texture could be ascribed to me toning down the sugar in the recipe because, wow, they used a lot of sugar. I also mixed the ingredients in bowls rather than using a food processor.

And I'll admit, I ate these cookies with milk, no wine, and it was all that I hoped for. But if I were to serve these cookies, say as the bread part of a cinnamon ice cream sandwich, I just might serve these babies with an Auslese Riesling, a sparkling moscato, or nearly any late harvest white dessert wine.

Cheers, happy baconing, and please, tell me about your bacon fat delights in the comment section. Kitchen experiences only, please. Oh, and I'm leaving for Florence next week and am requesting your input in the next post down! Have any insights? Include them here.

Bacon-Fat Gingersnaps

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup bacon fat, cooled (from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds bacon)
3/4 cup sugar, plus more later for rolling cookies
4 tablespoons dark molasses
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, combine, and set mixture aside.

Put the cooled bacon fat, molasses, and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and beat all until well-blended. Taste. Because you can. But don't sue me if you get sick and ate this raw egg yolk.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Form the dough into tablespoon and a half sized balls, roll in sugar, then place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Press the balls flat with your fingers, then use the back side of a fork to indent.

Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until dark brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to finish cooling.

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doggybloggy said...

hullo--I feel like you are trying to seduce me, seducing me with bacon fat cookies no less....ahhhhhhh

Kirstin said...

It's the only way to seduce! Although, I do have some duck fat in the fridge that I'd let you have if I weren't trying to cut down on butter!

Chef E said...

I ate Lardo in Italy, just really a blog of smoked fat in solid form! I am not ashamed to say, I Like FAT!

Lori Lynn said...

NO WAY! I thought you were kidding (but I was hoping you weren't). I'm not a big cookie fan, but this, this is fabulous.

Kirstin said...

Chef e- I'm going to Tuscany in a couple days, and I'm going straight for the fromaggio and lardo- this baked cheese and pork belly dish i've heard about. hope i make it back alive.
Lori Lynn- So serious! I used to not like cookies so much either, b/c they can be dry and kinda boring, but then something shifted within me and i embraced their being. And added bacon fat.

miss v said...

i wish i could say that i could 'veganize' this recipe... but i'm not sure i can think of an adequate substitute for bacon fat. ;)

Dot! said...

i'm soooo trying this. damn girl! this blog is rockin!

La Traductora said...

Bacon fat is the best. Unfortunately, most people shy away from it. Please read my blog and find out how to make fantastic homemade flour tortillas made with bacon fat and pork drippings. Deliciso!