Hopperdoodles! Chocolate Chip Bacon Toffee Salted Caramel Cookies
I had a recipe published! Forgive me, because it was actually in 2015, but for some reason I’ve forgotten to write it up until now. I entered a cookie recipe contest put on by Barnes & Noble and was one of 75 winners (and the only one from Massachusetts!) be to included in the cookbook. Pretty cool, eh? You can buy a copy here if you want to peruse all the recipes, or just keep reading and get to your kitchen stat with this one!
Here’s the story: Last July I was on a cookie-making binge, and was seeking new and creative inspiration. I posted a cookie contest on Facebook, asking my friends to submit their favorite cookie flavor ideas. I chose my top five favorite ideas, and then made a survey for everyone to vote for their favorite. The winning idea creator and one randomly chosen person who voted each received some of the cookies in the mail. My cousin Peter submitted the idea for “Chocolate Chip Bacon Toffee Salted Caramel Cookies”, and the masses (myself included) couldn’t resist! Peter actually goes by the nickname “Hopper”, and thus, the Hopperdoodle was born.
MAKES 15 Cookies
8 medium slices of bacon (not thick cut; approximately 1/2lb.)
3 tablespoons reserved bacon grease
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 7TB/4TB
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (150g)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
16 Rolo candies (or caramels), cut into eighths
1 tablespoon sea salt
Optional drizzle - more rolos, chocolate chips, and some heavy cream
2-3 large cookie sheets & parchment
food scale or cookie scoop (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375F degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then lay the bacon flat ensuring the strips do not touch. Bake until browned and crispy 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Get the rest of your ingredients measured out while the bacon is in the oven.
Line a large cookie sheet, platter or cutting board with 2 layers of paper towels, and transfer the cooked bacon on top of the towels, immediately pressing down firmly on the tops with 2 more layers of paper towels to absorb the grease (it’s okay if some of the bacon breaks while doing so). Reserve 3TB of the bacon grease and place in the fridge to cool slightly (it’s alright if it solidifies a bit); discard the rest. Once the bacon is cool, crumble or chop it into tiny pieces and set aside in a bowl.
In a small saucepan, brown 7TB of unsalted butter by melting it over medium heat until it gets foamy on top. After the foam subsides, start swirling the pan every 15 seconds and cook until it stops popping loudly and you see brown bits accumulating on the bottom of the pan. Cook it 30 seconds longer - make sure you get those bits good and brown. (For a slightly longer explanation of how to brown butter, see Step 2 from this recipe.)
Add the remaining 4TB of butter and the reserved 3TB of bacon grease, stirring gently to combine. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, making sure to scrape out all the little dark bits with a spatula.
Add 150g (3/4c) dark brown sugar, 100g (1/2c) granulated sugar, and 2tsp vanilla extract. Using the whisk attachment, mix on high until combined (60-90 seconds). Add 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, then whisk on high 30 seconds and let stand 3 minutes. Repeat that whisking/standing process twice more - whisk 30 seconds, let stand 3 minutes, whisk 30 seconds, and let stand 3 minutes.
While you're waiting, hand whisk 240g (2c) of AP flour with 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt.
Whisk the sugar/egg mixture on high 30 seconds, then switch to a paddle attachment to slowly mix in the dry ingredients on low (or fold in by hand with a spatula). Mix until just barely combined, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Add 1/2 cup toffee bits, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, the rolo pieces, and all of the bacon bits. Mix on low for 10-15 seconds, or fold in with a spatula. If using a stand mixer, avoid overmixing.
Using a 2” cookie (ice cream) scoop, or a 1/4 cup measure, scoop the dough into balls onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of sea salt, evenly distributing it as much as possible. You may not use the entire 1TB of salt for the batch. If the salt is rolling off the cookies, press it on gently with your finger tips.
Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours (at least) or overnight (covered with plastic wrap), or in the freezer for 1 hour. You can also freeze them for 30 minutes and then put them in a gallon freezer ziplock bag and back in the freezer to bake them at a later date. The dough will be good approximately 6 months in the freezer, and you can bake the cookies straight from frozen by adding approximately 2-4 minutes to the bake time.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F degrees, line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and place the cookies at least 3” apart, baking no more than 8 at a time for an oversized cookie sheet (20”x16”). Start checking the cookies at 10 minutes (though they may take 12-14 minutes in total) - they are done when the edges start to brown and the center doesn't look raw anymore. Don't over bake! Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Then, try not to eat 5 of them at once.
Once cool, if you want, you can drizzle the cookies with melted caramel and/or chocolate.
Melt some Rolos/caramels with a little heavy cream in the microwave at 10 second increments, stirring in between until completely homogeneous. Transfer to a pastry bag or ziplock bag, or set aside in the bowl.
Melt some chocolate chips with a little heavy cream using the same method, but starting with 20 seconds and then moving to 10 second increments.
If using pastry or ziplock bags, twist the tops until the loose bag part is tight against the filling, and then tip them upside down into glasses (so they don't leak when you cut them), and then cut off the tips of the bags. Drizzle each across the cookies in opposite directions.
If you’ve left the caramel/chocolate in bowls, drizzle onto the cookies using the tip of a knife or a small spoon (work quickly so you don’t get puddles!)