I’ll never forget my first experience with Maker’s Mark Bourbon. My college roommate Laura returned from summer break with a bottle she had hand-dipped herself at the Maker’s Mark distillery in her native Kentucky. We drank it straight. Luke warm. In martini glasses. We still laugh about it to this day!
So, when the folks at Maker’s Mark asked me if I’d like to do a tasting of their product and chat about it here, I immediately thought back to that first taste. Such a fun memory! I must say that I am happy to have a proper re-introduction to this most American of beverages.
Maker’s Mark is promoting #RedFriday, its answer to the craziness of Black Friday. For #RedFriday, Maker’s Mark suggests that we all put up our feet, relax by the fire, sip a cocktail and revel in the quiet warmth of the holiday season. Now this is an idea I can get behind!
I am into my sixth month of pregnancy so no specialty cocktails are in my immediate future, but my friends at Maker’s Mark provided me with a super indulgent cookie recipe instead. With bacon, chocolate and a splash of Kentucky bourbon, these cookies are a perfect way to enjoy #RedFriday. And, a fun treat to bring along to Thanksgiving dinner!
Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Cookies (by Chef Lee Ann Wong)
3 tablespoons Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
3/4 pound bacon, 1/4-inch dice*
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup reserved bacon fat, chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces**
In a large sauté pan, cook out the diced bacon until the bacon pieces are golden and crisp. Remove the bacon pieces from the fat and drain on a paper towel. Strain the fat through a fine sieve and measure out a 1/2 cup of bacon fat and chill the bacon fat until it congeals and is set.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat the butter, chilled bacon fat, granulated sugar, light and dark brown sugars, vanilla and Maker’s Mark® Bourbon in large mixer bowl until it is well combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the cooked bacon pieces and chopped chocolate bits. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets at least 3 inches apart.
Bake in the oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Keep in a dry, airtight container for up to 5 days.
***the batter will have a very strong bourbon flavor, but once the cookies bake it is much more mild. Case-in-point: when Mack tried the batter he immediately grabbed a napkin and started wiping his tongue…but, he grabbed a baked cookie and declared, “these are delicious, Mom!!”
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