To Thank My Amazing Friends for My Birthday Wishes (and In Honor of The King Himself)…Elvis Cookies
So occasionally (and by occasionally, I mean…well…almost daily), I like to make things with bacon.
Those of you who know me (or who have heard me speak) know that bacon often makes its way into conversation with me. I like to serve it at dinner parties, coat it in chocolate, post recipes involving bacon. In short, I ♥ bacon. For my birthday this year, I offered a prize on my Facebook page for “the most creative, dramatic, impressive Facebook birthday wishes.” Totally self-serving? Perhaps. Shameless plug for my own birthday? Absolutely. But my amazing friends took the bait and came up with some spectacular stuff…most of which involved – what else? – bacon. For example, one of my favorites is my friend in Nashville, Tennessee, John G. Brittle, Jr., of the Infill Nashville team – he cooked up a 2-pound bacon birthday greeting for me and delivered it via YouTube. I could practically taste the cracklin’, sizzlin’ birthday love.
Others employed their adorable children, the (original) cast of 90210, gangsta rap, and more. My friend, Sean Carpenter, even disrespected his own Gator roots to give me a good old FSU Seminole chop (on video – I have the proof!). And to keep my promise, I locked myself in my kitchen for a weekend, coming up with a sufficiently succulent prize to send around the country to my amazing friends who stepped up and played along. Since The King passed away one week before my birthday (well, technically, one week before I turned two, but in August, so I make the loose connection and call it close enough), I decided that an Elvis-inspired cookie was the way to go.Legend has it that Elvis enjoyed a unique combination of peanut butter, banana and bacon as a sandwich, but doesn’t it sound much more amazing as a cookie? And the addition of chocolate chips is my twist, but isn’t everything better with chocolate?
Here’s the recipe, for your enjoyment. Beware: you will sample the raw dough, salivate through the baking time, and most likely eat the entire first batch you make, all by yourself, hiding in the laundry room or pantry where the rest of your household can’t find you. Not that I know from experience. I’m just guessing…
1/2 teaspoon hickory-smoked salt (I get mine from Trader Joe’s)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted* and cooled
1/2 cup bacon grease, chilled
6 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter, melted* and cooled
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract (I also get this from Trader Joe’s)
2 teaspoons bourbon (good quality, please!)
2 ripe medium bananas, mashed
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chunks, coarsely chopped)
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (like Reese’s)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook diced bacon in a large saute pan until bacon is golden and crisp. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-covered plate. Measure out a 1/2 cup bacon fat and chill until it congeals and is set. (You may need to make additional bacon to get a 1/2 cup – but you can never have too much bacon, right?)
Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together cooled peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, bacon grease, and granulated sugar. Whisk in egg yolk, bourbon and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in the mashed banana and mix until combined (mixture will not be smooth). Gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing with a large spoon until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and bacon.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets at least 3-inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden and the middles are puffy – be careful not to overbake! Let cool completely (or risk scalding the roof of your mouth, which is likely since these will smell A-MA-ZING). Cookies will be slightly cake-like – very moist and soft, because of the banana and peanut butter. Store completely cooled cookies in a sealed container or bag.
HINT: Melt the butter and peanut butter together in a double boiler or in a bowl in a saucepan of water. Be careful if you use the microwave, as the peanut butter may scorch.