Bacon in Your Oatmeal Cookies? Oh Yes.
I have a thing about oatmeal cookies. They must be chewy. Must. I can enjoy a crispy cookie that contains oatmeal – oatmeal lace cookies come to mind – but to me those are a buttery, crispy cookie that happens to contain oatmeal. When I hear or read the words “oatmeal cookie” I envision something thick and chewy and substantial. And it always has raisins in it. Sometimes nuts as well. In a moment of more is better thinking I decided to add some crisp bacon to an oatmeal cookie and this is the splendid result. Introducing Bacon Raisin Oatmeal Cookies.
I know, I know there are raisin haters out there. My ex called them “aliens”. You could leave them out but I think the contrast of the sweetness of the raisins and the bacon is sublime. The preparation technique is simple – creaming butter and sugar, adding the dry mix etc. But there are a few notes on ingredients in addition to the aforementioned bacon. First of all you might notice that I suggest bread flour. This flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose and helps create that chew factor so don’t substitute all-purpose (known as AP around here). The tablespoon of maple syrup adds to that chewy texture as well while also accentuating the smoky, meaty flavors from the bacon. Another note on technique: I like to chill the dough a little bit to help the cookies retain their shape and also to allow the dry ingredients to absorb the wet – you just get a better cookie texture as an end result – but if you chill the batter overnight or too long it becomes too firm and the shape and texture of the cookies will suffer. Time your baking accordingly.
See our Tip about How to Cook Bacon. If you are cooking a bunch of bacon, we wouldn’t dream of cooking it any other way.
- 6 slices meaty bacon, preferably smoked, fat reserved (see below)
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick or instant)
- 1 and ¼ cups bread flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (the darker the better)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup dark raisins, plumped (see Tip)
- ½ cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped
- Cook the bacon until crisp (see How to Cook Bacon). Drain on paper towels and reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat and allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile whisk together the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt to combine; set aside.
- Cream the butter and 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add brown sugar and sugar and beat until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time allowing the first to be absorbed before adding the second. Scrape the bowl down once or twice. Beat in the oat/flour mix until a few floury streaks remain. Fold/stir in the raisins, nuts and cooled, crumbled pieces of bacon. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 1 to 1 ½ hours. It should be firm but not too cold that it has lost all elasticity.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350°F. Position racks in upper and lower third of oven. Line two baking sheet pans with parchment paper. Now, there are two things that will go a long way to keeping your cookies chewy – their size and how long you bake them. I dolled these out to be about the size of Ping-Pong balls. (If you use a #40 Zeroll scoop like we did, use 1 ½ scoops worth per cookie). Bake for about 9 to 12 minutes (see Tip) or until cookies have spread and browned a little bit. They will feel dry to touch on the surface but still be soft in the center. In fact they may seem a tad underdone. They will continue to “bake” and firm up on the baking sheet due to residual heat. Do not over bake or they will become crisp. Cool on rack. Store cookies at cool room temperature in airtight container for up to 2 days. (Because of the bacon we don’t recommend longer storage).
- Plump the raisins by placing in a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over to cover the fruit. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on how dry they were to begin with). Drain and pat dry with paper towels before using in recipe.
- When you want a chewy result in your cookies you must keep an eye on the baking time. Even 30 seconds too long will result in a firm or crisp cookie. Primarily go by the visual cues. There is such a big time range given in the directions because it all depends on how cold the cookie dough is when it goes in the oven.