Lately I have been very interested in creating sweet things that have layers of flavors, instead of being just one note. I am a huge fan of salted caramel and I wanted to make a cookie that would be studded with caramel bits and get its saltiness from bacon. But why stop there? Why not throw in some chocolate and some cayenne to add that extra zing? It seemed like a great flavor combination!
I have never been disappointed with Alton Brown's method of making chewy cookies with bread flour and I used the same for this recipe. Under baking the cookies ensures that they stay chewy and moist in the center - in my opinion, the best way to savor a cookie! —Madhuja
Place the bacon strips in a cold skillet and start rendering the fat by turning on the heat to medium and stirring occasionally. Once the bacon has crisped up, take it off the heat and drain on paper towels. Once it is cool enough to handle, gently crumble it in your hands so that you get about 1/2 cup of bacon bits.
Melt the butter and semi sweet chocolate chips in a glass bowl by placing it in a microwave for about 30-45 seconds. Keep a hawk's eye on it - don't let it burn!
Pour the melted chocolate and butter mixture and the dark brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and let it mix on high speed for about 2 minutes. Remember to scrape down the sides at least once. If the mixture starts looking grainy, don't worry, it's all going to work out in the end!
Next, add the egg in the mixing bowl and again, mix it on high speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides at least once. The mixture should now resemble a thick chocolate frosting.
Add the flour, baking soda and cayenne pepper and mix until it just comes together. Remember, you are working with bread flour, so do not over mix!
Add the caramel bits and crumbled bacon pieces and mix for a few more seconds. Use your spatula and give it one last good mix so that that the caramel and bacon bits are evenly spread throughout.
Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, take out a heaping tablespoon of the cookie dough, gently form a ball in your hands and then press lightly to form a disc. You should have 12 cookies per baking sheet.
Bake for about 7 -9 minutes, rotating the baking sheet about halfway through the process. The top of the cookies will be quite soft at this point, but do not bake further! Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the cookies cool on the sheet itself. This way you will end up with wonderfully chewy cookies once they are completely cooled. If you bake until the tops of the cookies are completely done, then your cookies will be very crispy and you definitely do not want that!