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Posted on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 8 a.m.

National Peanut Butter Cookie Day - try this variation on a classic treat

By Mary Bilyeu

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Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

I love peanut butter cookies. But, as it is with many recipes — since I do so much cooking and baking that I can't feature encores very often — I hadn't made them in ages. But how could I not celebrate National Peanut Butter Cookie Day?

So I thought I'd tweak my basic recipe a bit, spiff it up for the occasion. And how perfect would bacon be for this job?

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Top left: version 1.0, Bacon-Honey Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies. Top right: version 2.0, Honey 'n' Bacon-Drizzled Peanut Butter Cookies. Bottom left: version 3.0, Bacon-Topped Peanut Butter Cookies. Bottom right: version 4.0, Peanut Butter 'n' Bacon Cookies.

Craig suggested making thumbprint cookies, with the bacon and the honey mixed together and placed into the cookie's indentation. I'll admit it was pretty frustrating trying to get little blobs of the sticky mixture to sit and stay in the depressions. And then, once baked, they then didn't remain as thumbprint cookies, but rather puffed up. These tasted really good, though, heavy as they were in the ratio of bacon-to-cookie.

So then I thought about sprinkling the finely chopped crispy bacon on top of the traditionally cross-hatched treats and drizzling everything lightly with honey; this would provide the same flavors, and also help the bacon to stay put, though without as much labor. The honey oozed off a bit, though, making the cookies appear less-than-beautiful. They tasted good, but this wasn't the best option.

My third version involved merely putting bacon bits on top of the cookies. As suspected, which is why the honey had originally been brought into the equation, the bacon didn't adhere particularly well. This batch was good, but still not stellar.

And so, we arrived at version 4.0, which involved tossing all the ingredients into the same bowl and mixing the bacon into the cookie dough to make life easier. These looked pretty, tasted great, and were infinitely less bother than versions 1.0-3.0 had been. Ah, the life of a food writer, bravely testing and tasting ....

The sweet-salty, chewy-crumbly ideal had been achieved! Happy National Peanut Butter Cookie Day!

Peanut Butter 'n' Bacon Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon bacon fat
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups unbleached flour
3 strips bacon, cooked, drained, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, bacon fat, sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in egg, peanut butter, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Stir in flour, then the bacon.

Form 1-inch balls of dough and place them onto a baking sheet. Using the back of a fork, press the dough to form indentations in the dough; then press the dough in the opposite direction to form a cross-hatch pattern.

Bake for 12 minutes until cookies are golden. Let cool on a rack.

Makes 48 cookies.

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Mary Bilyeu - a self-proclaimed Food Floozie (named for her blog, which is taking a summer vacation) - writes for AnnArbor.com on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions, comments, or suggestions: yentamary@gmail.com.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.

Comments

Sarah Rigg

Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

My favorite variation on peanut butter cookies is a peanut butter/chocolate swirl cookie bar. You basically make peanut butter cookies in a pan for "bar cookies," melt chocolate chips on top and swirl them into the batter, then cook as usual. Really good if you like the peanut butter/chocolate combo.