Total Preparation Time – About 40-50 Minutes
Time Spent Waiting – 60-120 Minutes
Cook Time – About 10 Minutes per Batch
Makes – About 36 Shortbread Cookies
Shortbreads are an interesting cookie because of the amount fat used. This one is even more interesting because half of the fat used is from bacon grease. The bacon and bacon grease give this cookie a curious play on sweet and savory. The cookie is delicate, melts in your mouth and is just bursting with flavor. It’s probably one of the most requested cookies from my happy hour crew.
Start with a pound of bacon. Smoked bacon is fine. Thin sliced bacon works better. Bacon on the fatty side isn’t a problem. You need enough bacon to produce ½ cup of bacon grease, and you need the bacon to be extra crispy. To cook the bacon, I cut the package in half and cooked the bacon in a frying pan. Do not cook on a baking sheet, because the bacon grease may be difficult to recover. NOTE: If you don’t get ½ cup of bacon grease, make up the difference by replacing with softened butter.
Cook the bacon in small batches in a single layer in a frying pan. This gives you good control over the crispiness of the bacon and allows you to pour off the bacon grease after each batch. Put the cooked crispy bacon on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour the grease off into a container that is heat resistant, because the grease will be very hot when you pour it. Let the bacon grease cool to room temperature.
Once the bacon grease has cooled, in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together ½ cup of bacon grease, ½ cup of softened butter, 2/3 cup of granulated sugar, ¼ cup of light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix until ingredients are well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowls frequently.
Next, mix in 2 egg yolks and 2 ½ tablespoons of vanilla. After the egg yolks and vanilla are mixed in, slowly add the 2 ½ cups of all purpose flour. The dough will come together and pull away from the bowl. At this point, crumble in half of the bacon. The bacon pieces should be small, with no piece being larger than ¼ inch in size. Mix until bacon is evenly distributed.
Now, take a piece of plastic wrap, about 24 inches long, and spread it out on a flat surface. Take the dough and form a log about 2 ½ – 3 inches in diameter and place the log in the middle of the plastic wrap. Wrap the log airtight. Don’t fret if the log doesn’t look perfect. In all honesty, I have tried to do a circular log and a square log, but each time the cookie comes out in a really goofy shape.
Refrigerate the plastic wrapped cookie dough for about 2 hours, or until firm to the touch. Put the chilled log on a cutting board and cut into ¼ inch slices with a chef’s knife. The cuts will not always be clean and perfect. For me, the knife inevitably gets snagged on a piece of bacon and mishappens the cookie. But, that’s ok because it’s the taste of the cookie that’s important.
Arrange the cookies on a parchment covered baking pan, leaving about ½ inch between cookies. The cookies tend to spread a little when they are cooking, so leave enough space. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 – 12 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through the baking time. The cookies are done when they start to show brown at the bottom edge. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan.
And, there you have the Shortbread Cookie with Bacon.
Stand Mixer with Paddle
Heat resistant bowl for Bacon Grease
Large Chef’s Knife
1/4 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup of Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup of Butter (Softened)
1/2 Cup of Bacon Grease (Room Temp)
2 Egg Yolks
1 Teaspoon of Salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups of Flour
1. Cook bacon until extra crispy in small batches.
2. Pour off bacon grease into container.
3. Put bacon on paper towels to drain extra grease.
4. Let bacon grease cool until room temperature.
5. Mix Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Softened Butter, Bacon Grease, Salt until blended
6. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla.
7. Slowly mix in flour until dough forms.
8. Crumble ½ – 2/3 of the bacon into dough and mix thoroughly.
9. Form into a log, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
10. Cut into ¼ slices and arrange ½ apart on parchment paper lined baking pan.
11. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes at 325 degrees, until bottom edge starts to brown.
12. Cool on Pan.