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Recipe: When maple, bacon and chocolate merge

ALISON LADMAN, Associated Press

Publication: The Day

Published June 12. 2013 4:00AM   Updated June 12. 2013 2:34PM
Matthew Mead/AP Photo
Milk chocolate maple bacon cookies for Dad,

These cookies aren't exactly a healthy treat for Dad. What with 1/2 cup of maple sugar and 1/2 cup of bacon fat, not to mention the bacon itself. But it's not as if chocolate chip cookies were a healthy choice before we added all those luscious improvements, right? So why not embrace these treats for what they are and let Father's Day be a day of indulgence for your dad?

These cookies can be made ahead, then stored in tightly sealed bags or containers at room temperature for a week. For longer storage, they can be frozen.

MILK CHOCOLATE MAPLE BACON COOKIES

Makes 4 dozen

1 pound maple bacon

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup maple sugar, plus additional for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon flake sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon maple extract

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

11.5-ounce bag milk chocolate chips

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until well browned and crispy. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and cool. Reserve the bacon grease in the skillet. Once the bacon has cooled, crumble or chop it into small chunks. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, 1/2 cup of the reserved bacon grease, brown sugar, maple sugar, baking soda, salt and maple extract until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating and scraping the bowl in between additions.

Mix in the flour, then the chocolate chips and crumbled bacon. Scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets in 1-tablespoon mounds. Sprinkle the tops lightly with a bit of sea salt and maple sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden around the edges and the tops no longer look glossy.

Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

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