Salty & Sweet Bacon Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet. Salty. Chewy. Crunchy. These cookies are literally everything you could ever want in your mouth.

You may be thinking to yourself, “This is it, Lauren has finally gone off her rocker!” “Bacon in cookies???” “Damn, girl is cray!” No, my dear friends, I assure you that whatever sanity I have is still intact – but once you try these delectable delicacies you may lose yours!

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This is a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe with a couple extra special ingredients – the bacon and the caramel of course! I’ve made this recipe many different times and there are lots of variables so let’s talk about our options.

Between caramel bits and butterscotch chips? The caramel bits melt into gooey gold but as soon as they cool off they can get a bit toothsome. Butterscotch chips don’t melt in the same ooey gooey way but they taste a bit sweeter and have a less sticky texture.

Since we’re adding extra sugar in the form of caramel and extra fat in the form of bacon, you want to make sure you use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, otherwise your cookies will be too cloyingly sweet.

A word about baking bacon: You may want to cook and crumble your own or you might prefer to just buy a jar of pre-made pieces, and either way is absolutely fine. However, after baking batches of these cookies every which way, I discovered that fake bacon bits actually work the best! Real bacon tends to get soft and chewy when baked, but those lil fakin bits stay crisp and crunchy. They’re also technically vegetarian – bonus!

The basic chocolate chip cookie recipe I use is my Nana Fifi’s – well, in my mind it is. Growing up in Indiana with my dad’s family on the east coast made regular visits impossible, so on the few occasions when I did get to see my Nana and Papa they had to condense a year or two worth of grandparenting into just a week. That meant lots of doting, spoiling, playing, and Fifi’s famous chocolate chip cookies. They were the best, the most amazing ultimate chocolate chip cookies I’d ever had. I imagined as a kid that she had some super secret recipe that we would never know the key to, but she said the only secret ingredient was love. I never asked her about it before her passing, and I always  lamented that I’d wouldn’t be able to replicate that goodness for my own kids.  It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties at a family reunion that one of my aunts spilled the truth to me: IT WAS ACTUALLY JUST THE ORIGINAL TOLLHOUSE RECIPE. Yes. The most magical delicious granny-baked treats I’ve ever had were simply good old fashioned Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies. So that’s the main C.C. cookie recipe that I use to this day.

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INGREDIENTS:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

1 cup caramel bits or butterscotch chips

3/4 cup bacon bits

optional: rock salt to top

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate, caramel, and bacon bits. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. If desired, top with rock salt.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

(May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.)

 

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