The best kitchen tip from generations of grandmas is to save your bacon grease. Those drippings can be used for so many things: to pan-fry potatoes, make salad dressing, add flavor to cornbread and, surprisingly, to make a batch of bacon grease cookies.

What are bacon grease cookies?

Cookie dough needs fat in the mixture to create a soft and tender texture. The fat is usually butter or shortening. But during and after World War II when butter was strictly rationed, home cooks saved fat drippings from bacon and other meats and used the drippings to replace some of the butter in baked goods.

Because bacon grease isn’t flavorless, using too much can give baked goods a bit of a pork flavor. 1940s recipes note that the savoriness is less noticeable when used in chocolate or spiced baked goods. I also found that grease from sweeter, maple-flavored bacon is better for cookies than smoked bacon.

With the right kind of bacon grease, I was ready to put this frugal recipe idea to the test.

How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bacon Grease

This recipe includes saved grease from maple bacon that’s been chilled to firm it up to a shortening-like consistency. One pound of baked bacon yields 1/4 cup of grease. The dough has a touch of cinnamon which tastes nice with the chocolate chips and helps make savory flavors more subtle. The recipe makes about 32 cookies.

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup (2 ounces) chilled maple bacon grease
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Tools You’ll Need

Stand Mixer: Use a stand mixer to make the cookie dough, like this KitchenAid model that ranked highest in Taste of Home‘s stand mixer test.
Baking Sheet: The Test Kitchen designed this sheet pan with a patterned surface that encourages airflow.
Bacon Grease Container: If you plan to save bacon grease for future recipes, invest in an inexpensive bacon grease container like this.

Directions

Step 1: Cream the fats and sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Put the softened butter, chilled maple bacon grease, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the ingredients together at medium-high speed for 3 minutes. This is how to cream butter and sugar for best results!

Step 2: Add the eggs and vanilla

Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl, and beat the mixture on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients

In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add this mixture to the egg and butter mixture; run the mixer on low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Scoop and bake

Once the dough is chilled, use a cookie scoop or a spoon to scoop a rounded tablespoonful of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each scoop. (Using a cookie scoop is one of the secrets to great chocolate chip cookies.)

Bake the cookies for 14-15 minutes, until the edges are brown and the tops have some color, too. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack, and repeat the steps to scoop and bake the rest of the dough.

Step 4: Let the cookies cool, then enjoy

I find that the cookies taste best when completely cooled. Store the cookies in an airtight container with a piece of bread or a brown sugar saver to keep them soft. They’ll keep well for 5 days.

Here’s What I Thought

The cookies were soft and delicious (who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie) but they did surprise me! I assumed that bacon grease would give the cookies some bacon flavor. In reality, the bacon grease imparts a hard-to-pin-down, subtle savoriness to the cookies. My friends who tried them loved them, especially the touch of cinnamon. They knew something was different about the cookies, but never guessed that the secret ingredient was bacon drippings!

The amount of bacon grease you use is important. Through trial and error (and a few batches of inedible cookies) I found it best to replace only a quarter of the butter in the recipe with bacon grease—more than that gave the cookies too much pork flavor. I also found that maple-flavored bacon drippings are the best choice for cookies because grease from hardwood-smoked bacon made my cookies way too smoky-tasting and salty.

The takeaway from all of this is that using a small amount of bacon grease in chocolate chip cookies is a great way to use bacon drippings and help conserve your butter. But if you’re hoping for bacon-flavored cookies, add crumbled pieces of bacon to the dough!

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The post How to Make Chocolate Chip Bacon Grease Cookies appeared first on Taste of Home.

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