Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best Christmas Gift for 2009: Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

maple bacon chocolate chip cookies DSC_0007

Bad news: if you haven't already purchased Chunk, Pip Squeak, Mr. Squiggles, Num Nums or Patches, then you're too late to get this year's hottest toy: an electronic hamster -- the Zhu Zhu artifical rodent.

Good news: you won't be giving someone an artifical rodent for Christmas this year.

It's OK, though. Research has shown that what people really want for Christmas is cookies. (Study done by Food Blogga et al, October 2009). And since there are hundreds of cookies to suit any taste, they make the ideal gift, even for those difficult people on your list.

maple bacon chocolate chip cookies DSC_0002

One of the hottest cookies this year is Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. If you haven't yet hopped on the bacon dessert bandwagon, then now is the time. The pairing of bacon with sweets sucah as chocolate, caramel, and maple syrup makes sense if you consider how much we love sweet and salty foods-- think kettle corn and chocolate covered pretzels. I have made these cookies with different ingredient pairings, and the maple smoked bacon and walnuts is my favorite. The salty, slightly smoky bacon intensifies the cookie's sweet, rich chocolate flavor, transforming an otherwise ordinary chocolate chip cookie into something extraordinary.

So forget about the Zhu Zhu rodent, and give the gift of maple bacon chocolate chip cookies instead. Unlike this year's hottest toy, you won't have to worry about your supermarket running out of bacon.

These Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies are my first entry for Eat Christmas Cookies, Season 3, the Zhu Zhu pet of Christmas Cookie Blog Events. Want to share yours? Find out how here.

Today is also the first Eat Christmas Cookies Give-Away! From now through the December 20th, Santa and I will be giving away several sweet Christmas gifts to participants who submit cookies. For your chance to win Elinor Klivans's The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook, simply submit your Christmas cookie anytime between now and Saturday, November 28th.

The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook contains 45 scrumptious chocolate chip-centric recipes ranging from comforting Chocolate Chip Gingerbread and Cinnamon and Chips Chiffon Cake to outrageously decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars and Hot Chocolate Chip Brownie Sundae Cakes.

Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies 
Makes about 18 large cookies
Print recipe only here.

Thin and Chewy
5 strips maple smoked bacon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon maple extract
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add bacon. Cook, turning several times, until browned and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Chop finely.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt.

4. In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add egg and maple extract and beat until just blended. Add the dry ingredients; beat until just incorporated and the flour is dissolved. Stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts, and bacon.

5. Drop one large tablespoon of cookie dough 2-3 inches apart, as they will spread. (I put 6 cookies per sheet.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until firm and golden brown around the edges and still slightly soft in the center. Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. 

Thick and Chewy

5 strips maple smoked bacon
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick butter unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon maple extract
2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

Follow the same instructions as above.

You might also like these dessert recipes from Food Blogga:
Tootsie Roll Fudge
Chocolate Stout Pudding (Made with Guinness stout!)
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Pumpkin Pie Pudding with Candied Pecans and Freshly Whipped Cream

Here are more bacon desserts you might like:
Candied Bacon Ice Cream recipe at David Lebovitz
Candied Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe at Food Geekery
Bacon Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from Bacon Unwrapped
Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Frosting recipe from Vanilla Garlic


Oh, and here's another great Christmas gift idea: An HP Touch Smart Computer!

My friend Michelle of Scribbit asked me to help spread the word on her BIGGEST give-away ever! She is giving away an HP Touch Smart Computer! Visit Michelle for the details. But don't delay. The the give-away ends at 11:59 pm, Friday, November 27th. Good luck!

One last thing! Stephanie of the wonderful Wasabimon! has posted an interview with me on her site as part of her series, Food Bloggers Spotlight.