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Author Notes: My favorite method of cooking bacon is baking it on a cookie sheet in a 400-degree F oven for 15 - 20 minutes, which I learned from Cook's Illustrated magazine. It doesn't spatter, and all the bacon cooks so perfectly. Then I discovered the recipe had a huge flavor-building bonus: instant smoky, rich stock. —vanillagrrl
Makes: 1 to 1-1/2 cups stock
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Make sure the oven rack is in the center of the oven.
- Arrange the slices of bacon in a single layer on a cookie sheet (you'll need more than one 13" x 18" cookie sheet for a whole pound of bacon; 12 ounces of sliced bacon barely fits on one sheet).
- Bake the bacon to browned perfection, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon slices. Rotate the cookie sheet 180 degrees after 8 minutes so the bacon cooks evenly.
- Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Place the bacon on a paper towel or newspaper to drain.
- Scrape the bacon fat out of the pan. You can either strain it through a single layer of paper towel or use a strainer if you want to keep some bacon fat for frying. (I don't recommend pouring the hot fat down the drain. It can harden in the pipes and cause you plumbing problems.)
- Pour the water into the cookie sheet and let soak for about 3 minutes. Use a silicone or wooden spatula to loosen all the browned bits -- the fond -- into the soaking water. Pour the liquid into 1/2-cup containers or fill ice-cube trays and freeze for future use in soups, stews, and sauces.