These were really more last year's craze, but after researching several variations (JoytheBaker, Food Network, XO Elise) I think I managed to compile the best aspects of them all. You can make them large or small, add chocolate chips or not. I've seen men literally swoon over these cookies.
Fresh they are nice and chewy, but they harden a little in just a few days (not unpleasantly, I just prefer them chewy). So, if you’re not going to eat them within a day or three, it’s best to form them (including rolling in sugar-salt mixture), flatten, then freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, layer them in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper. Bake as needed.
For the cookies
all-purpose flour (scoop and level method)
ancho chili powder
strips of bacon (about 1/3 lb. uncooked weight)
unsalted butter, room temperature
bacon fat (chilled until just solid)
creamy peanut butter; all natural preferred (no extra salt or sugar in it)
light brown sugar, packed
roughly chopped honey roasted peanuts (optional)
coarse sugar in-the-raw, such as Demerara
very coarse sea salt
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the coarse sugar and sea salt in a low shallow dish and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, chili powder and kosher salt in a bowl; set aside
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until very crisp, about 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Strain and reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings and put in fridge to cool. Crumble the bacon, discarding any chewy bits.
Beat the butter and reserved bacon fat in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the peanut butter until combined, about another minute. Beat in the granulated and light brown sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes, then add the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 more minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix each addition on low speed until just combined; don’t overwork the dough. Stir in the crumbled bacon and chopped peanuts if using.
Form the dough into 24-36 balls (about 1-1/4 inch diameter) Roll the balls in the sugar-salt mix, pressing slightly so it sticks. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart (the cookies will not spread in the oven) and flatten with your palm or bottom of a glass until they are about 3/8” thick. Edges will crack.
Bake until golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Let the cookies cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.