Milk Chocolate and Bacon Cookies
(Original recipe from Not Without Salt via Smitten Kitchen.)
First things first-- COOK YOUR BACON. I use about 1/2 pound of bacon, which makes more than the generous 1/2 cup needed. Why the extra? Someone will want to eat the bacon and you, too, can be a generous baker and say, "Yes, have some bacon. I made extra."
Once the bacon is cooked (I do mine in the oven), strain off 1.5 T of the bacon grease and put it in your mixing bowl to cool. Let your bacon cool on a paper towel-lined plate.
Preheat your oven to 360°F. Cut your parchment paper (or use a nonstick mat. Mine's always dirty, hence the parchment.) to fit the baking sheet.
Cream together the softened butter and COOLED bacon grease. Add in all the sugars and mix for about 5 minutes. It should be really light and fluffy, y'all.
While the butters and sugars are creaming, mix together your flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Chop up the chocolate (if you haven't already) and have it ready to go. This is also a good time to FINELY chop the bacon. You don't want it crumb-sized, but you don't want big chewy chunks, either.
Once the butter and sugars are creamed, add the egg and vanilla and mix again. Scrape the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Slowly add in the flour and mix until JUST COMBINED.
At this point, I use my rubber spatula to fold in the bacon and milk chocolate.
Scoop the dough onto the parchment. (My regular cookie scoop broke, so I do not currently know the sizes. I filled half of a jumbo cookie scoop, so each cookie was about 1 - 1.25 inches across.) Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with kosher or sea salt.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Mine were done at exactly 10, but I have a much smaller oven than most people. They should be lightly brown, but still soft in the middle. Remove the tray and let cool for 5 minutes before moving to the rack. This is very important-- trying to move the extremely soft cookies will result in total breakage. Don't even try. Leave them be.
If these are not all eaten within the first few minutes of baking, I suggest storing these in the refrigerator. (Not a big fan of leaving bacon out on the counter plus the milk chocolate tends to prefer the cold).
Original recipe yielded 24 cookies. My version yielded about 26 (though a little bit of dough did go missing).