Introduction: Deceptive Maple-Pepper Bacon (cookies!)
When you go to bite into your savory, greasy, peppercorn-y maple bacon...you won't be expecting this delightful dessert!
The ironic joke is that me and my kids are vegetarian (mostly vegan). So these are a fun way to eat our bacon, too ;)
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients/Supplies
***BONUS: On the last step is the sugar cookie recipe I used for making the cover photo bacon cookies. The main recipe in this instructable, however, is for delicious shortbread cookies! Both are equally addicting, and equally fun to turn into bacon. Let the masquerading begin...***
Though I strongly suggest using your favorite sugar cookie recipe (or my favorite sugar cookie recipe located on the last step of this instructable), I just couldn't help myself--on my first attempt--from using my favorite glazed maple shortbread cookies recipe for this maple-pepper bacon! So this instructable will be utilizing the shortbread cookie recipe, but note that it won't hold it's shape as well as sugar cookies do... On that note...WHO CARES!? If your piece of bacon cracks in half, all is still good, right? Hey, if it even falls on the floor and you can get to it before the dog and give it a fast blow over the top, you'd probably still eat it right? IT'S BACON! So let the yummy-to-my-tummy madness commence!
Glazed Maple Shortbread Cookies:
1 cup butter/vegan margarine (softened in microwave about 40 seconds)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp 100% Maple Syrup
1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour (Note: I always use Unbleached flour. It's WAY better as it doesn't use chemical agents to speed up aging, it just ages naturally....But enough with the health talk..back to BACON!)
Food Coloring (for dying the dough to make the bacon)
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)*
1/3 cup 100% Maple Syrup
Poppy seeds (for the peppercorns)
Measuring cups and spoons
Electric hand mixer--or a motor-fast wrist ;)
Large, sharp knife
Large baking sheet
*There's a very fast way to make powdered sugar from regular, granulated sugar that I will show you in the next step.
**If you don't have parchment paper, I will show you a trick on the next step for that also. But parchment paper is much better for this particular project.
Step 2: Beat It, Dye It, Shape It--DOUGH!!
BEAT IT: (Tip...It's easiest to work in your kitchen when you put away the ingredients you've already used right after they're used. This not only helps with keeping a tidy kitchen, but it helps you remember which ingredients have already gone in and which ones are still waiting--if they're on the counter still, they're still waiting).
1. In your large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, and cornstarch. Beat this with your electric mixer on about Medium.
2. Next, beat in the maple syrup.
3. Then, gradually beat in the flour.
4. Split this dough into 3 different groups and form them into balls, where two are the same size and the last one is somewhat smaller.
DYE IT & SHAPE IT:
5. Put the first big dough ball back into the large bowl. Dye it a tan (fatty) color. (I originally did 6 drops of yellow food coloring, 2 drops of red, and 1 drop of blue. However, I discovered in my second attempt--the bonus recipe last step--that you can simply just use a little yellow dye..the dough is already tan lol.) Mix with the electric mixer on medium. Take out this dough, re-form it into a big snowball like ball, then squash it to form a flying saucer-like disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap.
6. Put the second big dough ball back into the large bowl. This one dye a red (meaty) color. (I did 6 drops of red food coloring and 3 drops of yellow.) Follow the same steps as #5 and wrap it in plastic wrap, too.
7. Put the last semi-smaller ball back into the large bowl. This one will be dyed a deep red color. (I originally did 12 drops of red food coloring, 1 drop of blue, and 2-3 drops of yellow. In the second attempt--the bonus recipe--I just did the 12+ drops of red food coloring to make it really deep red). Follow the same steps as #5 and wrap it in plastic wrap.
8. REFRIGERATE your flying saucers for about 45 minutes.
**PREHEAT OVEN TO 325 DEGREES**
Step 3: GIVE ME BACON!!
**If you want to see how the bacon SHOULD BE FORMED at this stage, go to the last Bonus step!**
This is the fun part! I also learned a valuable lesson while doing this step, and it's our job as instructable authors to make all the mistakes so you don't have to ;) More about that below...
1. Once the dough has chilled in the fridge for 45 minutes, take it out and unwrap it. No need to pull out any flour here as we are NOT rolling out the dough.
2. Place the dark red dough on the plastic wrap it was in. Extend it's shape to look more like an elongated rectangle. Now, make interesting dents and grooves, etc in it. See the pics above for more detailed visuals.
3. Roll up some tan and regular red tubes (? Lack of a better word...they're not hollow inside thought lol). And place these tubes into the grooves you just made with your fingers.
4. Once you've filled all the grooves, put your remaining dough all over the top in the same fashion.
5. Wrap this AS IS (bumps and all) in plastic wrap and FREEZE for 15-20 minutes.
6. With the large, sharp knife, cut (as shown in the picture) and you will have beautiful, meaty, non-mooshed-together, bacon-y goodness strips.
MY MISTAKE!!! DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE:
My big mistake was I, for whatever reason (brain fart?), smooshed my dough all down trying to make it wider. Ugh...completely ruined my beautiful cross-section that would've been had I left it all bumpy. So, DO NOT DO THIS!
The following instructions on the rest of this step reflect me now trying to fix the mess I made for myself. *face palm!*You can skip these next parts if you take my advice and DO NOT do what I did wrong. (Proceed to step 4). Your welcome. Who loves you, baby!? I just saved your bacon! hahaha :-P
**To fix my mistake (and if you accidentally make this mistake, too)...I did the following:
7. After cutting the strips as shown in my pictures, I had to twist and push the dough layers together to form better-looking bacon. See pics for more detailed visuals.
Step 4: Cook, Glaze, and EAT!
***To see what the bacon cookies SHOULD look like at this point, check out the next step.***
Yum, yum, yum! Aren't you so excited now!? Time to get these babies (I should say piglets? lol, bad joke) in the oven and then in our mouths as soon as possible :)
1. Your oven should be preheated to 325 degrees now.
2. Make baking sheet-long rolls of aluminum foil (see pics). These will make the waves in your cooked bacon.
3. Put a piece of parchment paper over the rolls and drape your bacon strips on them, fixing anywhere that falls apart prematurely (as seen in pics). IF YOU DON'T HAVE PARCHMENT PAPER (like I didn't), simply spray the baking sheet with oil, rub each piece of your aluminum foil sheets in this oil before you roll them up lengthwise, then spray the whole thing again once it's done. Parchment paper is basically just a paper-like sheet of non-stick goodness. (But I do highly recommend using parchment paper as it also will help the cookies hold their shape since you don't have to pull out the aluminum foil rolls out from under them after cooking, you just pick up the paper.)
4. Pop them in the oven for awhile. The original instructions for my recipe called for just 20-25 minutes. But BE AWARE That since your dough is WAY thicker then a normal cookie, it will take about 40-45 minutes for them to cook. They're worth it though! Mine took exactly 42 minutes to bake. (Tip: After the first 30-35 minutes, check them about every 5 minutes until they start to harden, then every 2-3 minutes until they're perfectly golden brown on the base of the edges.)
Tip: Wash up your dishes (large bowl, mixer pieces, etc) during this time.
5. Take them out when the edges are just barely starting to brown! This is crucial or by the time they cool, they will have turned to charcoal, lol. That's a slight over-exaggeration, but they won't be as wonderful as if they're taken out on time.
6. Leave them in the baking sheet on top of the aluminum rolls until they are completely cool! Another important, key point. Otherwise they will lose their shape you worked so hard for.
MAKE YOUR GLAZE:
Blend together your ingredients in your same large bowl you were using to begin with. Drizzle this either strategically on your cooled bacon (adding poppy seeds IMMEDIATELY after applying the glaze), or all over the entire thing. This is your grease, so make it count lol ;)
If you don't have powdered sugar, here's a little trick: For this particular recipe (and for future reference you can use for any recipe the ratio: 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 tsp cornstarch to do this), take your exact amount of granulated sugar (3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) and put it in a blender. Yes, a blender. Add about 1 tsp of cornstarch, or a hair less, to this. Blend this at the "pulse" or "blend" levels until it forms a powdery powder (redundant, eh? lol). Check it occasionally to see if it's still looking and/or feeling grainy, or if it's nice a powder. It may have super fine granules in it to the touch when it's done, but you'll know when it is good enough (as long as you've encountered powdered sugar at least once in your life, lol. If not, Google is a remarkable place!). It's now ready to put back in your big bowl and now you can do the above step just like normal.
NOW EAT YOUR BACON!!! I know you've been salivating over these as much as I have...and I tell you what, they are heavenly and addicting! Good thing they're a breakfast food (hahaha) ;)
Send me a pic below of how yours turned out (did you use this recipe or sugar cookies?), and write me a comment telling me if you changed anything, substituted anything, found any better techniques for realer-looking bacon (besides NOT messing it up, like I did), etc. I wanna hear from you (and so do others reading this instructable)! See you later, alligator.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: The idea of making cookies look like bacon is NOT my original idea. It is something on the internet I saw and was inspired by. But I have put my own twist on it and made it my own creation. Also, the shortbread cookie recipe and the sugar cookie recipe (like most people who search for a great recipe online) isn't solely mine. They're probably a few hundred thousand people's recipe now. But everything in this instructable besides the inspiration and the online recipes are solely MY creations. I did NOT copy any original work and claim it as my own.
Step 5: BONUS RECIPE! (Super Fast)
Now if you read my instructable (as opposed to skipping to this last step for the bonus recipe...lol...and I don't blame you!), you will know that I messed up on the first bacon making process and squished the dough together forming a less-then-real-to-life bacon cookie. This step reflects what the first one SHOULD'VE looked like had I done it correctly. This step is my redemption step ;)
I also wanted to give everyone an option for a SUPER FAST Sugar Cookie Recipe that does NOT require chilling! And it's super delicious, too. So give both recipes a try and see which you prefer.
1 cup butter (softening isn't required, but may help in the first step)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 3/4 cups flour
GLAZE & "PEPPER":
I just used the leftover glaze I had from my first batch of maple shortbread cookies. And I followed the same principle of adding the "peppercorns" (aka the poppy seeds) on the cooled-completely cookies while the glaze was fresh and not dried. Tip: To reheat the leftover glaze, I simply took a cooling rack and set the legs on the two burners (front and back) of where the oven heat comes up through the smaller burner. I set my plastic tupperware container on this rack so that it could gradually heat while the cookies baked, but it wouldn't melt my container since it wasn't directly on the burner.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. (An electric mixer is preferable.)
3. Now beat in an egg and the vanilla.
4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
5. Add the flour/baking powder mixture to the creamed mixture 1 cup at a time until all is used. Mix after each addition. (You may have to mix the first parts of the flour in by hand--aka a whisk or spatula--as it will go everywhere if it's blended in with your electric mixer too fast.)
6. Divide the dough into 3 small bowls and follow the other, first recipe of this instructable from this step forward. Start at the step where you have to divide the dough and mix in the food coloring.
NOTE: This recipe's original cook time was 6-10 minutes for regular sugar cookies. Again, we have to cook them about twice as long as our bacon cookies are way thicker, so the cook time for you bacon using this recipe will be between 10-15 minutes. Mine took just about 12-13 minutes.
TIP: Always make sure to check your baked goods earlier then later. I checked mine about 10 minutes in, and re-checked every 1-2 minutes after. **This recipe is done cooking when the bottom edges are very slightly browned (but the tops are slightly soft yet) and if you tried to pick up the base, it's harder (and usually lightly browned on the underneath).**
The above pictures in THIS step shows how your dough for the bacon SHOULD BE formed (not smooshed down as I did the first time).