|Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Gooey Vanilla Bean Bacon Caramel Center|
|Look at the bits of bacon, chocolate chunks, and caramel... yum!|
|There is so much satisfaction when breaking open one of these babies...|
For the Caramels:
½C Dark Brown Sugar
1C Corn Syrup
1 Stick of Butter
1C Heavy Cream, Divided
¼C Maple Syrup
1 Vanilla Bean Pod, Split Lengthwise & Scraped for Beans
10 Strips of Thick-Cut Bacon, Fried to a Crisp & Roughly Chopped
For the Cookies:
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
1 ¾C Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk
1t Sea Salt
2C Cake Flour
1C Bread Flour
½C AP Flour
1 ½t Baking Soda
8oz of 60% Dark Chocolate, Roughly Chopped by Hand
20 Prepared Vanilla Bean Bacon Caramels Cut into Tablespoon Pieces
5 Slices of Thick Cut Bacon, Fried to a Crisp & Roughly Chopped
Fleur de Sel, For Sprinkling
Directions:1. To Make the Vanilla Bean Bacon Caramels: Reserve ½C of the heavy cream. Combine the sugars, corn syrup, butter, maple syrup, vanilla bean pod, and vanilla beans in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine. Set on medium high heat. Stir occasionally and cook until 240 degrees. The candy is now at the firm-ball stage. Remove from the stove and carefully stir in the remaining ½C of Cream. Place the pan back on the heat and continue to cook to 245 degrees. Immediately remove from heat and stir in ¾ of the Cooked, Chopped bacon (saving the other ¼ of the cooked bacon for topping). Pour the caramel into a buttered dish (8x8 dish=thick caramels & 9x13 dish=thin caramels). Scatter the remaining bacon on top. Let it set for at least 3 hours before cutting.
2. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with Pam, then set aside.
3. To Make the Cookies: Cream the 2 sticks of butter with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the mixer then add the two eggs and egg yolk one at a time, incorporating each one completely before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl. Mix in the vanilla and sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, bread flour, AP flour, and baking soda. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just incorporated (don’t over mix). Beat in the chopped chocolate and chopped bacon until it’s completely incorporated and the chocolate & bacon is evenly dispersed throughout the dough. Using a cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop), take one scoop of dough and place on the bottom of the vanilla bean bacon caramels and then take another scoop of dough and place it on top of the caramel. Seal the edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until the caramel is completely enclosed by the dough. And then using your fingers crimp the tops of the cookies to make them more jagged (this will make them look more homemade). Because the cookies are quite large, I only put 6 cookies per sheet tray, so that when they cook & spread, they will not touch each other.
4. Sprinkle fleur de sel on top of the cookie dough balls, then bake the for 12 minutes (cook them for 6 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees, and cook for another 6 minutes), until it is slightly golden brown on the edges, but still soft (slightly undercooked) on the inside. Leave the cookies on the sheet tray for 10 minutes, so that the cookies will finish baking.
5. Once the cookies have rested on the sheet tray, move the finished cookies to a cooling rack, and let them completely cool completely before eating.
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