Salty and sweet is a classic combination. I’ve always upped the salt in my cookie recipes. Together they create just the right balance for the perfect cookie. I was intrigued by the the use of sea salt in the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe that was featured in the New York Times last month. At the bitter end he sprinkles the cookies with course sea salt as they enter the oven. Great idea! I have to say his recipe is fantastic and I’ve made them a bunch of times with great reviews. Then I added a secret ingredient that made them something truly unique and absolutely addictive: Bacon.
Yeah, bacon. I’d gone to Cooks of Crocus Hill to pick up some kitchen essential and there it was at the check out counter, the Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar. I’d had smokey bacon as a garnish on a caramel sundae and loved it, but in chocolate. This was something as a culinary professional I was obligated to try.
The first bite was intense, a wonderful blend of salty, sweet and incredibly rich. The bacon was much stronger than I expected and that pleased me, at first. But, it sat in my chocolate drawer for a couple of days and neither my husband nor I were secretly dipping into it, which is highly unlike us. I really liked the flavor, but it was too much, too overbearing. It needed to be diluted so I would have just the slightest hint of the bacon. The solution hit me when I was planning the meals I wanted to prepare up at the cabin. I had intended to bring a batch of the Jacques Torres cookies for those late night puzzle marathons. Nothing like cookies to keep you energized while tackling a 2000 piece Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night puzzle. Which, despite the dozens of cookies we ate, was left unfinished! Next year I’ll bring at least a double batch.
The combination of the cookie dough, the bittersweet chocolate, and the sea salt was exactly what this Mo’s Bacon Bar needed. I only used one 3 ounce bar in the entire recipe, but it was the perfect amount to give that hint of bacon, but not entirely take over the taste of the cookie. As soon as they would leave the oven they were gone. My entire extended family (with the exception of Katherine, who is vegan) is now addicted to these bacon chocolate chip cookies.
*update~I just talked to Tyler at WhatWe’reEating.com, and he was inspired to find out all the crazy bacon combinations people have come up with. Let me know below or go to his survey. I have a feeling my cookies are only the tip of the iceberg.
Mo’s Bacon Bar Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from a recipe by Jacques Torres which appeared in The New York Times.
Time: 45 minutes (36 cookies), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cup) unsalted butter (salted in fine)
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3-ounce bar of Mo’s Bacon Bar, finely chopped
1 pound bittersweet chocolate (or whatever combination of high quality chocolate you happen to have laying around your house. I used some Valrhona 64% Cocoa, Dark Chocolate Bar, some El Rey White Chocolate and Callebaut Milk Chocolate.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (place rack in the middle of the oven. If baking two trays at once then be sure to rotate the cookies midway through baking so they bake evenly)
(Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. This makes for easier clean up and the paper acts as a slight insulator form the pan and will not brown as much.)
Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, set aside.
Cream together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar (make sure it is not dried out or too lumpy) and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until very light in texture and color, about 5 minutes. (When I was a kid I made them by hand but now I use my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.)
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture. (mix the flour in only until combined.) Stir in chocolates.
Form the dough into logs on a strip of plastic wrap. Wrap well and refrigerate for about 24 hours. (If you can’t stand it, just bake them whenever you feel like it! We won’t tell Jacques.)
Slice the cold dough into equal discs and place onto baking sheet lined with parchment. (Make sure your cookies are the same size so they will bake evenly. I always bake on parchment to eliminate the clean up of my pans.)
Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown. (This is just about perfect timing if your oven is calibrated and you are only baking one sheet at a time. If you have two or more sheets going you must rotate them half way through baking so that they bake evenly. They may also require a minute or so more baking.) Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.