Two of my very favorite Southern ingredients are creamy buttermilk and pig. So, I just couldn’t resist adding the salty crunch of bacon to a classic, tender buttermilk cookie. Swirling on a bourbon-y version of classic caramel icing makes this a real Southern overload cookie.
I created this recipe several years ago for a party. I wanted to combine my favorite flavors for a snazzy, different sweet. And at the time, bacon in dessert was unusual. Since then, bacon has turned up everywhere – in donuts, chocolate, cocktails, potato chips. I understand there is even an alarm app for your phone and a small attachment that wakes you with the wafting smell of bacon. Then you can put on some bacon lip balm, grab your bacon – painted purse and meet the world. So I have had this recipe in my files, thinking maybe I didn’t want to get mixed up with the bacon insanity. But I had a request and made these again and they are worth sharing.
Buttermilk Bacon Cookies with Bourbon Caramel Frosting
8 strips bacon
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
For the frosting:
3 Tablespoons butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 Tablespoons bourbon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Cook the bacon on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet until very crispy. Pat dry with paper towels and leave to cool. Chop 6 strips of the bacon finely with a sturdy knife and set aside. Reserve the remaining bacon for garnish.
Beat the butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, a good three minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the flour, baking soda and salt alternately with buttermilk, scraping down the sides of the bowl and ending with a buttermilk addition. Add the chopped bacon and beat until combined.
Line two rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop mounds of dough an inch apart onto the paper. I use a 1 Tablespoon cookie scoop. Bake the cookies for 8 – 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top shelf to bottom once, until the cookies are golden around the edges, puffed and firm. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
Combine the butter, cream, brown sugar and bourbon in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue stirring, and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool, then beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and spreadable. Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Break the remaining slices of bacon into small pieces and embed them into the frosting if you’d like.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies