I believe your passions in life often develop quite early.
My lifelong passion?
Cookies. I love cookies. Especially Christmas cookies.
As a rather short 11-year old expat in Brazil, I pulled myself off my balance beam long enough to launch my first successful business venture – a cookie baking and decorating service that catered to busy working moms. (Come to think of it, it has been my only business venture, successful or otherwise.) I spent hours elaborately decorating cut-out cookies with colored icing and sprinkles. (And let me be honest… I actually ate so many frosted cookies I made myself rather sick one day.)
I do have a few other passions that came out of life as an expat child, but we’ll save that for another day.
I still love a good Christmas cookie. I’ve been poring over books and magazines for weeks to identify the dozen or so I will bake this year. It’s an obsession. I admit it. And the list of cookies-to-be-baked changes daily.
This year, the first round of cookies comes from a New York Times article my friend Fiona saved for me. I can’t imagine why she would think bacon fat gingersnaps would appeal to me? (insert smiley face) Though we go through quite a bit of bacon at House Morell, I think adding bacon fat to gingersnaps is the sort of holiday indulgence that just couldn’t happen all year long…
Honestly, I tweaked the recipe a bit – added brown sugar and a bit more spice… but the dough was a bit dry. So I turned to my trusty bourbon and dumped a tablespoon in to hold the stuff together. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.
Oh yes. Salty and spicy and earthy and a bit smoky … now THAT’S a holiday-worthy gingersnap.
Let the great cookie binge of 2014 begin…
Bacon Fat Ginger Snaps with a hint of Bourbon
Adapted from a recipe by Julia Moskin in The New York Times
- 3/4 cup rendered bacon fat (from cooking 1 1/2 to 2 pounds bacon)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses or cane syrup
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine all ingredients. Pulse until a smooth, stiff dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
Put a thick layer of granulated sugar into a shallow bowl. I like my Christmas cookies quite tiny, so I made them just a teaspoon big… so scoop one teaspoon sized balls of dough, and roll into a ball between your palms. Drop into the sugar, roll to coat and place on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough, placing dough balls 2 inches apart; they will spread out as they cook.
Bake until flat and dark brown, about 10. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough. Store cookies in an airtight container.