I think I may have figured out a way to improve chocolate chip cookies. Just add bacon! Salty, fatty bacon combines with dark chocolate morsels to make for a cookie that is decadently addictive. This recipe makes half the usual recipe of cookies, mainly because I was making smaller batches for my experiments but also because you need to eat these all up faster than non-baconated cookies.
Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 strips bacon, cooked and chopped fine
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla extract, and beat until just blended. Add the dry ingredients; beat until everything is incorporated. Stir in the bacon, chocolate chips and pecans.
Drop by large tablespoons the cookie dough onto the baking sheet. They will spread, so put them 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. They will still be soft in the center. Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes.
Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
I had a hankering for a frittata for breakfast but all the recipes I have call for 8 to 12 eggs. Great when having people over for brunch but, as I’m home alone, that wasn’t going to work. The recipe I came up with serves two typical appetites for breakfast or 1 very hungry person. If that one person can show some restraint, it will make both breakfast and lunch.
Personal Size Potato Rosemary Frittata
1 medium potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped (should give you about 1 teaspoon)
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Peel the potato and place in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil and keep it there for 10 minutes. Remove potato and slice.
Meanwhile, in a small cast iron skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion slices. Cook over medium low heat, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, until they are lightly caramelized. Sprinkle on the rosemary for the final two minutes of cooking.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and salt and pepper. Stir in the potatoes and the onions and rosemary. Make sure everything is coated in egg.
Heat the skillet the onion was in and then pour in the egg mixture. Bringing the pan up to heat is an important step or the bottom of the frittata will stick to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes to allow the base to set. Run a knife along the edge to loosen. Transfer to the oven and let finish cooking, about 10 minutes. The top will be golden brown.
Transfer to a plate and either eat hot or at room temperature. It also makes for a terrific sandwich filling once cold. I put it between toasted slices of white bread but it is even better between slices of focaccia (recipes here, here and here).
I went to lunch today at Turkey and the Wolf with Charlotte and Thomas. This is a quirky sandwich place that also serves creative cocktails. It is on Jackson Avenue between Tchoupitoulas and Magazine. Now that the street construction in that area is completed, it is easier to find and to park nearby.
Charlotte and I both had drinks with our meal. The names alone were fun. I went for the Put On Your Socks and Leave. It was a refreshing a mix of honeysuckle vodka, hibiscus tea, lemon and mint. Her No Shirt, No Shoebox, No Service was a mix of mezcal, basil syrup, pineapple and lime. If you’re at all a mezcal fan, you’ll really enjoy this drink.
Mine was the red one
We started with the deviled eggs. They came with a piece of bacon on top and a drizzle of hot sauce. The yolk mixture was a bit too smooth for my preference but the flavor was good.
For lunch, both Thomas and I went for the meatloaf sandwich – it came with gravy mayo, pepper jelly and melted american cheese on Texas toast. Very big and very messy but also very good. There were a lot of flavors competing with the meat loaf but it was very satisfying. I really liked the pickles that were on it.
Charlotte had the ham. It came with cranberry and cheddar on a roll. It looked good, especially on the Hercules plate they served it on. She really seemed to enjoy eating it, too.
I was tempted by the ice cream sundae that was carried past for someone else. They have soft serve vanilla ice cream with a choice of coverings. We got it with a chocolate shell and tater sticks. Salty and chocolatey plus smooth vanilla ice cream was an All-American hit.
The place was quite busy at lunch and it can get rather loud. They only have a few tables, although there are more tables outdoors (but only one umbrella). Be advised that the sandwiches are pricey – mine was $12.50. It was all good and the staff were friendly and unobtrusive, so I thought it worth it (and worth another visit).
The NY Times had a recipe for Salty-Sweet Peanut Butter Sandies for the holidays a few years ago. Frankly, it just wasn’t peanutty enough although the salty/sweet coating on top was awesome. Using crunchy peanut butter helped but that also meant dropping the sugar a little. They also weren’t crisp enough, so Michelle made several batches until we determined that baking them longer and flattening them a bit with the classic fork press made us a most excellent peanut butter cookie.
Michelle's Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups crunchy peanut butter (I prefer Skippy Super Crunch
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon flake salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter two baking sheets.
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter and eggs, and mix. Add the flour and salt and mix just until well combined, with no white flour showing.
Scoop 2 tablespoons dough onto prepared pans. Flatten with fork dipped in water to form a criss cross pattern. The cookies will not spread much or change shape when they bake, so they can be placed quite close together, but leave room for air circulation so they can brown. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoons sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoon flake salt. Sprinkle each cookie generously with sugar-salt mixture, being sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies.
Bake 15-17 minutes, until cookies are set and golden-brown. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes. Carefully lift or slide off baking sheets and cool the rest of the way on racks. Store in airtight containers.
At the Spring plant sale of the New Orleans Herb Society, I picked up a small plant of chocolate mint. It has really taken off and I needed a perfect recipe in which to use some of it.
The chocolate mint is growing out of the pot!
I made the sauce to gild the lily of my Chocolate Oblivion Torte, which I made again this year for Michelle’s birthday. It can also be poured into warm milk for a great hot chocolate or heated back up and drizzled over ice cream.
Chocolate Mint Syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
30 chocolate mint leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and torn into pieces
In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa powder and cold water, and whisk together until smooth. Add the sugar and torn mint leaves and place the saucepan over medium heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to melt the sugar. As soon as the syrup begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. It will thicken and turn glossy.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
When the syrup has cooled to near room temperature, strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
A gravy boat of chocolate mint sauce is what dreams are made of!
I was watching a cooking show with Anna Olson and she did chocolate pancakes as a dessert (with cinnamon peaches). With a little improvement, the recipe seemed like the perfect recipe to fix for a breakfast-in-bed meal for the birthday girl. With three kinds of chocolate (cocoa powder, bittersweet chips and cacao liquor), they are the ultimate in deliciousness.
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ⅔ cup buttermilk at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon Creme de Cacao liquor
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and Creme de Cacao.
Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined. It should still have some lumps. Stir in chocolate chips.
Preheat a griddle over medium heat and butter generously. Test drip a small spoonful of batter into the pan. If it bubbles furiously, the pan is too hot. If it doesn’t appear to be cooking at all, the pan is not up to temperature yet.
Once you’ve achieved desired heat, ladle batter onto griddle and cook about 3 minutes. It is ready to flip when air bubbles rise to the surface and a peek under the edge shows it to be dry on the underside. Flip the pancake and cook for another 2 minutes.
Remove pancakes to a plate, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
These go really well with bacon, as the salty bacon compliments the darkly rich pancake.
I’ve posted about frying green tomatoes before, but I recently reread Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and decided that this time I would use Fannie Flagg’s recipe from the back of the book (page 403).
Michelle picked the tomatoes from her garden, so they were particularly good.
Fried Green Tomatoes Fannie Flagg Style
1 medium green tomato per person
Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Season each side with salt and pepper and then coat both sides with cornmeal. In a large skillet, heat enough bacon drippings to cover the bottom of the pan and fry tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides. If you don’t have bacon drippings (and, why not?), use vegetable shortening to fry them in.
As Fannie Flagg wrote, “You’ll think you died and gone to heaven!”