When I smell bacon, I think of one thing: cookies. Yep, cookies. Because why not? Also, for the sheer pleasure of it. Everything's better with bacon. Peanut butter, for one thing. And chocolate, mostly. Have you ever had bacon and chocolate? Absolutely a divine combination. So why not cookies featuring our culinary triumvirate?
And besides, there are oats in this recipe. They'll counteract the bacon. Kind of.
So let's get right to it. Because of bacon.
We're going to make about twenty-four cookies. You can double at will. Or with your doctor's consent.
First, position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Whisk 3/4 cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour, 10 tablespoons (60 grams) rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking oats or steel-cut oats), and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a medium bowl until the oats are evenly distributed in the batter.
Next, fry two thick-cut strips of bacon until they are extra-crispy. Seriously. Set them in a dry skillet over medium heat--and then take them beyond where you might choose to stop, even blackening them a bit. You want to get them so they'll shard when cool--and then stay a bit crisp in the cookies. Drain the strips and cool while you prepare the batter.
Beat 1/2 cup (125 grams) creamy "natural" peanut butter, 1/2 cup (90 grams) packed dark brown sugar, 6 tablespoons (75 grams) solid vegetable shortening, and 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the inside of the bowl once in a while to make sure everything's getting evenly blended.
A couple of notes on this step. Okay, here's the truth: we used lard. Yep. And from our own pig. Good grief. But if you use shortening, check out non-hydrogenated shortenings in the refrigerator case of most well-stocked supermarkets. And use only "natural" peanut butter, without all that added fat. Because of the shortening. And the bacon.
Beat in 1 large egg, at room temperature, until smooth; then beat in 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract.
Turn off the beaters and add the flour mixture. Beat at a very slow speed just until the dry ingredients have been moistened. Turn off and scrape down the beaters. Shard the bacon into small bits and fold these into the quite stiff batter. Also fold in up to 1 cup (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Scoop the batter into two-tablespoonful mounds (a small ice cream scoop can do the trick) and place these on a baking sheet, spacing them a good ways apart. Once you've got a dozen or so on the tray, squash the mounds into flat rounds about 1/2-inch/1-centimeter thick with your palm or the bottom of a water glass. (The picture is of the mounds before they're squashed.)
Bake until golden, a little puffed, and dry to the touch if still soft, about 13 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet a couple of minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Use a second baking sheet for another batch--or let this baking sheet cool at room temperature for 5 minutes. Cool the cookies completely, about 1 hour. Store them in a zip-closed bag at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for several months.