I’ve noticed the bacon craze lately. Probably because I don’t live under a rock.
There’s bacon all over the place. It’s on maple donuts and cupcakes. I’ve seen bacon bubbles and bacon soap. There’s even a plush, talking bacon toy. If you don’t believe me and you have a ton of time to waste, just check it out.
For years, my brother Jeff has randomly issued the “bacon or chocolate” challenge: name a food… any food at all… which can not be improved with either bacon or chocolate. Go ahead. Take a reading break to think of something. If you think you’ve got something that’s NOT better for adding bacon or chocolate, comment. And then my brother will refute you. It’ll be fun!
Last week, I told you about my post-Christmas baking experience and my desire to create a bacon-licious cake mix cookie for Ian, my carnivorous child.
This week, I felt the “put up or shut up” decision pressing in on me….
If you’ve been reading for even 5 minutes, you know that I never choose Shut Up. That left me with Put Up.
Fortunately, you didn’t leave me without inspiration. Special thanks to AJ (your baconating adventures are mah-velous… chocolate chip cookies with bacon bits is my new favorite idea!) and Emily (so glad to have the link to a bacon pecan cookie recipe), which gave me excellent jumping-off points to create…
Bacon and Toffee Cake Mix Cookies
Here’s what you’ll need:
For those of you who are counting, that’s 7 items. More than double the number of items required for regular cake mix cookies. They are: yellow cake mix, corn muffin mix, eggs, oil, bacon, toffee bits and brown sugar.
Since I usually have two requirements for baking (easy + impressive), this was a little challenging for me. Definitely not my normal half-baked approach (ha!), but in the name of bacon and out of love for my meat-adoring child, I persevered.
Here’s what I did:
- Cut 6 slices of bacon into pieces. Why do you need a visual for this? I don’t know. But I got a little trigger happy with taking photos for this project, so please bear with me. I promise that I really do think you know how to cut bacon.
- Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Why medium heat? Probably because every single recipe that calls for frying stuff says to do it over medium heat. Truth be told, medium heat is way too slow for my patience level. I mean, do you see that bacon? It doesn’t look like it’s cooking AT ALL. I turned my heat up to medium high. I can’t recommend that you do that because no one ever suggests cooking things on medium high. But here’s what happens when you crank the heat up… I’m just saying.
- Drain the bacon grease into a measuring cup. That there’s 1/4 cup of bacon grease from 6 measly pieces of bacon. That’s terrifying. But DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY. You’ll be eating it later. Terrifying and delicious.
- Pull that bacon out of the pan and drain it on paper towels to get the excess grease off. No, not because I suddenly decided that the extra fat on these pieces was going to do you in (although I’m not saying it won’t), but because you’ll need to get the brown sugar to stick later and you don’t want the grease to get in your way. Do not fear. There is a method to my madness.
- Now dump that bacon back in the pan and add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Cook over medium heat. See how that works? Medium heat. The go-to heat. Fine. I couldn’t stand it. Here it is cooking on medium high. You want the sugar to really melt down into gooey glaze that coats the bacon. If it looks like there’s still sand in the pan, you haven’t cooked it enough.
- When you’re at Gooey Glazed Bacon, dump it all onto wax paper. Or, if you’re like me and you have only 1 inch of wax paper left on the roll, then foil works fine. Then separate all those little suckers into individual bits so they don’t set up in a clump. Now you have candied bacon. Candied bacon. Let’s pause for the reverence this deserves. OK, carry on. FYI, I caught a family member (who shall remain nameless due to the fact that my husband reads this blog) putting the empty wax paper carton back in the drawer later. Seriously? Seriously.
- I’m pooped. Creating candied bacon about did me in. That was more labor-intensive than any recent baking project. I had to decide… take a break or push on? Then I remembered how easy the rest of the recipe plan was, and I pushed on.
- Dump these ingredients into a bowl: yellow cake mix, corn bread mix, 3 eggs, and 2/3 cup TOTAL oil/grease combo. For the oil/grease item, take your measuring cup that already has the bacon grease in it… the one you DID NOT throw out… and top it off with vegetable oil ’til you hit the 2/3 cup mark. That’s your combo. Now mix together all your ingredients.
- Add toffee bits. I thought the whole package might be a bit much. Then I thought, Are you kidding? These are freaking BACON cookies. You passed “a bit much” way, way far back there. So I dumped ’em all in.
- Put these bad boys in 1″ balls on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. Don’t worry – the bacon part is still coming.
- As soon as you pull these out of the oven, while they’re still really squishy and warm, take a few of those candied bacon pieces and shove them into the top of the cookie thusly: I know thusly isn’t a word. I just want you to know that I know.
- I thought this picture was worthy of a Step #12: Mmmmm.
Now, I can’t in good conscience leave you with this terrible and delicious recipe.
Here’s a link to Weight Watchers. And here’s a link to the Couch to 5K running program. I’m a personal believer in both. When I’m running tomorrow, I’ll be thinking about these cookies. I won’t say regretting them. Life’s too short for regret. Besides, my motto is “will run for food.”
Or, if you’re not enamored with weight watching or with running, you can always take Ian’s approach. You remember Ian, right? The carnivore. The meat lover. The kid who committed only one crime in his life… stealing BBQ ribs from our daycare provider. The only kid I know who prefers a taco over a cookie. The kid who started this whole bacon cookie idea in the first place.
Well, he tried the cookies.
I watched him take his first bites. He said he liked them.
And then I found this, his cookie, abandoned and left behind.
Minus the bacon.