Bacon is one of the most satisfyingly delicious things you can eat. Period. But if you aren’t saving the remaining fat after cooking up a package of bacon, you’re only getting half the satisfaction.
I probably eat the same amount of bacon as the average person, and like most people, I am very particular on how I like it cooked. I stopped ordering bacon in breakfast restaurants because I never thought they did it right. I am on the fry-till-it-dies wagon, as in I like my bacon crispy, even slightly burnt is fine. Although, I would never refuse bacon if it wasn’t crispy, that’s absurd! Bacon = happiness. You might also have an opinion on the best method to cook your bacon (pan fry/ oven baked/ microwave), but I pan fry the majority of the time because it is the easiest way to save all that delicious rendered fat.
A jar of bacon fat in the fridge is like a jar of gold around my family. There are so many ways to stretch out that bacon flavored goodness but once we discovered the all time greatest use of bacon fat in a recipe we never went back: Bacon Fat Gingersnaps from NY Times Cooking. Not only does this recipe teach you patience, you have to wait until you’ve cooked enough bacon to have enough fat for the recipe, but the resulting cookies are just damn good. Using bacon fat gives them a deliciously smoky taste and perfectly compliments the warm spices and dark molasses.
I’ve copied the recipe below with some edits- it says you can get 3-4 dozen out of this batch but I have no idea how they’re doing that. I get 18 medium sized cookies, but I also like my cookies soft and chewy rather than crispy so I made the dough balls larger, just smaller than a golf ball.
- ¾ cup rendered bacon fat (from cooking 1 1/2 to 2 pounds bacon), chilled
- 1 cup white sugar, plus extra for rolling
- ¼ cup molasses or cane syrup
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade (a handheld mixer or Kitchenaid will work just fine), combine all ingredients. Pulse until a smooth, stiff dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
- When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners.
- Put a thick layer of granulated sugar into a shallow bowl. Use your hands to break off a 1-tablespoon lump of dough and roll into a ball between your palms. Drop into the sugar, roll to coat and place on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough, placing dough balls 2 inches apart; they will spread out as they cook.
- Bake until flat and dark brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough. Store cookies in an airtight container.
Does anyone actually make the entire batch of dough at once anymore? Ever since I started living on my own and realizing that I can’t eat a whole batch of cookies by myself, I leave the dough in the fridge and make cookies fresh throughout the week, or pre-form the dough balls and freeze them, so I can make fresh cookies whenever I want! If you’ve ever just wanted one freshly baked chocolate chip cookie as I often do, the freezer method is the best.