I hadn’t had a peanut butter cookie in a really long time.
And when Nick went out to get dinner stuff, he mentioned that maybe I should do the dishes, and I was like, “If I’m helpful, maybe he’ll come home with a present!” So I did the dishes, and Nick came home, and I pointed out the four dishes I washed, and he wasn’t as impressed as I’d hoped, and then he asked if I bothered to clean out the fridge yet. Of course I didn’t. But I thought, I could at least open it and see what happens. And then it happened. The bacon fat resurfaced!
Please don’t quit on me yet. I promise you, this is worth your while.
Bacon fat is better for you than margarine, if you haven’t heard, and while I can’t actually back that up, it’s a fact, and if you want proof then I would be happy to recommend some literature that will help you along. And we’re in a recession. And I’m saving the butter for mashed potatoes. My grandmother used to make the best peanut butter cookies in the world using schmaltz (rendered chicken or goose fat), which would have been left over anyway, which she kept in the freezer just for baking. And being (constantly) broke, my cold little heart breaks when I have to throw stuff out. I always save my bacon fat.
The peanut butter cookie recipe I like the best comes from Fannie Farmer. I have long been a fan of Marion Cunningham, who is like everybody in the world’s grandmother’s cookbook (but not my grandmother, the story of who’s cookbook is a novel for another time) mashed into one divine being who makes everything you want to eat and is tall (I imagine) and regal and is friends with Jeffrey Steingarten, who is another kind of hero. I make half-batches of this recipe, because two dozen cookies is quite enough for me. The recipe in its full measure claims that it will produce 120 cookies, which I have never found to be true. This is either a gross miscalculation or they’re supposed to be tiny little cookies, and I hate little cookies because they’re a tease and before you know it you’ve eaten two bags of mini rainbow Chips Ahoy and you’re drunk and it’s 3:42 am and you’re crying on the kitchen floor (again) and the reason is embarrassing but also you wish you could carry on a conversation with normal people without saying something wildly inappropriate or them thinking you had tourette’s syndrome, for once, and who the hell let you have the phone in the first place?
Peanut-Butter Bacon Fat Cookies
(Adapted from the recipe for Peanut-Butter Butter Cookies from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book, circa 1984. Makes about two-dozen cookies.)
- 1/2 cup bacon fat
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Beat your bacon fat, peanut butter, and sugar together in a large bowl. You want the colour of the goop in the bowl to lighten and get creamy. Once it’s there, crack open your egg and drop the contents in, and keep beating the mixture.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, mix well, and then slowly add it to the mixture in the bowl, beating until all your ingredients are combined.
If you’re like me and you’ve never been disappointed by a hunk of cookie dough in your mouth, then sample away. At first you may think it’s a little weird – and it is. But in a good way. The bacon fat makes the peanut butter seem peanut-butterier.
Roll the dough out into balls about an inch or so in diameter. Place about an inch apart on a cookie sheet, and press the tops down with a fork dipped in granulated sugar.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, and cool for a bit on a wire rack before eating.
I have to say I was pretty pleased with myself/these cookies, and not just because I used something in the fridge and therefore made progress toward a cleaner tomorrow. They are TASTY. You really ought to try this. I’m pretty sure a pound or so of bacon will produce enough fat for these, and then some, if you don’t already save your fat. Don’t waste fat. Baby Jesus cries when you wash the fat of the pig down the drain.
Seriously. You need to try these. Go render some pork fat, and then let me know how it all works out. Or, just come over for cookies and milk, and inhale my good baking stink.