bacon cinnamon roll cookies

bacon cinnamon roll cookies

The word bacon used to strike fear into my heart. Not positive terror like the words pork chop, nor definite disinterest like hot dog, nor middling boredom like potato chips. Just good old fashioned fear. The announcement that BLTs were for dinner made me feel nauseous. Forget about a delicious fatty weekend breakfast – or breakfeast, more like it. My mum tried to trick me into thinking turkey bacon was the more awesome counterpart to the bacon I found gross and unpalatable (because less sodium and fewer calories equals better taste…?), forgetting that Thanksgiving turkey was #1 on my Foods Most Unwanted list.

Life as a picky eater has been a long and difficult road. While my journey isn’t quite over, my 20s has been all about coming to terms with the endless list of foods that I heretofore wrote off without a second thought. Chicken. Cookies. Cake. Butter on pancakes. Butter on toast. Hamburgers. Steak. Wild rice. Potatoes. Milk. Several kinds of cheese. Broccoli and cauliflower. And of course, the aforementioned bacon.

The day that I fell in love with bacon was the best day in the world.

bacon cinnamon roll cookies

It was Spring Semester 2008, my Junior year in college. Near the end of every scholastic year, the club that I was most involved with on campus held a blowout all-day celebration, beginning with a pancake breakfast, continuing on with timbersports (read: wannabe lumberjacks throwing axes, pushing about logs, spitting tobacco), and ending with a formal banquet. The pancake breakfast has long been cooked and served by the department faculty, in a delightful twist of duty. Backtracking to 2008, I had just taken over as Forestry Club president, having been elected upon an Obama spin-off campaign slogan of “Yes Tree Can!” My comparatively-painless presidential duties included overseeing the pancake breakfast. However, I had a Remote Sensing lecture that overlapped with a good portion of the breakfast.

And here is where I tell you that up until that day, I had never cut class. Not once. Sure, I had been absent for each and every class since the dawn of time for a variety of reasons, but each and every one was premeditated, and often based on some sort of illness. It had never even occurred to me to skip class. The closest I got was skipping a pep rally in high school (before my school outlawed pep rallies), and even then, I felt my blood pressure increase alarmingly and damn, but I felt guilty.

So here I am, 2008, crossing the threshold into my lecture, resigned that I will miss out on my first elected duty, when some mental switch flips. My eyebrows raise in alarm as my feet halt, then backtrack, and finally turn around and exit the classroom. I make my way to the pancake breakfast, feeling ridiculously giddy and also a mite peckish. The world suddenly seems more colorful, more alive. My senses are heightened, and all of a sudden, I smell something. Something savory, and fatty, and unmistakably caloric. I smell bacon. I come face to face with it. It sits there, sparkling with grease. I sidle up next to it, and take one piece. I nibble it. I grab a second piece, and chomp it down. I take a third, and a fourth, and devour them.

I must have eaten 20 pieces of bacon that morning. They tasted like freedom.

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BaconBadge14-v2

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Enter Bacon Week 2014. My pal Mary has been doing this Clogged Artery Week for a few years now, and I’ve enjoyed playing along, given that I came to my senses in 2008 and realized what’s up. In case you missed my lengthy preamble, it’s bacon, you guys. In 2012, I contributed Potato Bacon Breakfast Churros served in the world’s cutest bowl made of bacon. And last year, sticking with a theme of cuteness+calory overload, it was Deep Fried Waffles with Maple Bacon Buttercream served in ‘bacon muffinettes.’

This year I went with something a little easier to throw together, though equal in tastiness. A few weeks back I had sketched out several dessert ideas that seemed ingenious to my simple mind. One was for these bacon cinnamon roll cookies. About ten minutes after that life-altering moment, literally, I was cruising the internet and saw like nine different recipes for cinnamon roll cookies just like these. So while I may not be unique or on top of trends, at least I have bacon.

Bacon Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Will yield 24-28 cookies

++Ingredients:++

For the dough:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 tbsp bacon fat
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour

For the filling:
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 strips candied bacon (Yummy Supper’s recipe will yield 8 strips, a perfect baking use: mouth use ratio)
1/2 tsp water

++Directions:++

In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, bacon fat, salt and vanilla until light and fluffy, 2-4 minutes. Add in the flour and mix until the dough comes together. On a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, flatten dough. Cover with a second large sheet of parchment or plastic wrap, and roll out into a 9 x 14″ rectangle. Freeze on a baking sheet until well chilled, 20 minutes.

In a food processor, grind the sugar and cinnamon together. Add in candied bacon, and pulse until combined and fine. Add 1/2 tsp water if mixture is too dry.

Remove dough from freezer and allow to warm up for 2-5 minutes. Slather dough with bacon mixture, evenly coating the dough’s surface. Starting with a long edge roll the dough carefully into a log, using the bottom piece of plastic wrap to encourage the log to roll. Smooth out any cracks that develop in the dough as you roll. Once in a log, roll back and forth over the seam several times to seal it. Re-wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and freeze until firm, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper. Use a trustworthy knife to cut the log into just-under-1/2-inch slices. Transfer cookies to baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown on the undersides and edges. Remove from oven, and cool on wire racks.

bacon cinnamon roll cookies

It’s been an exciting few weeks! I got the chance to interact with a veneer (log) buyer, who taught me quite a bit about log valuation and what I can look for to maximize my wood utilization and timber values.

After a year of silence, we got a new record player up and running, for a total cost of 0 dollars. Now I can listen to Steely Dan and Morris Day each and every day, and my days are bright and sunny (though my vocabulary has seemingly suffered).

And it truly is sunny here from time to time, though we continue to be pummeled by snow. We managed to escape down to New Hampshire for a work conference this week, where we spent a few nights IN A CASTLE.

castle winter veneer

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cashew + ritz cracker cookies

cashew + ritz cracker cookies

Ahh yes, I remember those moments, back three days ago, when I could still taste my food. And these cookies! They were a random late-evening attempt at mimicking the potato chip + pecan sandies that I adore, but had not the components for. And I would be so bold as to say that they worked, not so much at mimicking, but at tasting terrific.

Today I am taking a sick day, snuggling up with my honey of a cat and watching the thick-thighed male speed skaters compete in the 500m event in Sochi. More than my love of cookies (which is a briefly-mustered “woot” uttered in my phlegmy sick voice) is my love of the Olympics. Winter sports like ski jumping and snowboard slopestyle? Mad feats of insanity. All of the outfits worn by those various Olympian hotties? Killer style. Emotional recaps of events and athlete fun times featuring soaring overtures with rhythmic new-age pop techno beats? Me in tears, sighing wistfully, every time.

Gearing up for the Games here in northern Maine has been our own little Olympiad. Our television antenna is a chode that doesn’t work, for starters. Secondly, we live in “one of the smallest television markets in the country,” and there is no NBC on network television here, so we’d be out of luck even if we could tune in some sort of imagery. We dallied with the notion of purchasing cable tv just so we could watch the Olympics, but that seemed excessive. And trying to find a live stream online, if you don’t already have a cable subscription, is like navigating the murky backwaters of a piranha-infested river. Why you can’t pay a one-day or one-time fee for online access makes no sense. But lo and behold, we were HOOKED UP this weekend by a generous benefactor, and now, in the words of my excavator operator, we are stylin’ and profilin’. And watching nonstop Olympics.

cashew + ritz cracker cookies

Slopestyle, biathlon, luge, alpine skiing, moguls, ski jumping, speedskating – it’s been an eventful weekend, for me on the eyes mostly. There have been several spectacular falls. There was that one Daft Punk song perfectly intoned by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs choir. Oh my god, I can’t stop watching it. The one guy in the back with the mustache who stands there grinning and looking somewhere off in space. The other guy in the back who looks like he’s been dead for ten years. Those high notes! The fist pumping! All of it is nothing short of incredible. Aside from pop culture gems, it’s the snowboarding and downhill skiing which I enjoy watching the most, though I’m also feeling a bit of a pull towards skiing+shooting now that we live in this biathlon-centric region. Weird sport, really.

These cookies might sound a bit weird as well, though there’s nothing strange once they reach your mouth. Sweet, salty, nutty, crunchy, buttery, crispy. Great for snacking on while you sit on the couch being lazy watching athletes go for gold.

Cashew + Ritz Cracker Cookies {recipe by myself}

Makes about 15

++Ingredients:++

1/2 c. cashews
3/4 c. flour
Heaping 1/2 c. Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted+cooled, or room temp
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk

++Directions:++

Chop cashews finely, then toast until fragrant over low medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saute pan. Remove from heat, set aside.

Heat oven to 350 F. In medium bowl, mix together flour, crushed Ritz crackers, salt, and cashews.

In a medium or large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and powdered sugar, and mix well or beat with a mixer until light and fluffy, roughly three minutes. Add vanilla, add egg yolk, and mix to combine. Add flour mixture in two parts, mixing well after each addition.

On a baking stone or a parchment-lined baking sheet, place 1″ balls of cookie dough at least two inches apart. Take a water glass, lightly dip it in flour, and gently flatten each cookie to roughly 1/4″ thickness. Dip glass into flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the dough.

Bake for 10-14 minutes, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking. When edges have turned a light golden brown, remove from oven. Let cool at least five minutes on pan to harden up, before transferring to a cooling rack.

cashew + ritz cracker cookies

ice fishing

We went ice fishing this weekend. This is what it looks like when all your traps are tangled together. Despite the confusion, the three of us caught two big-ass fish each, including a couple real monsters. I snared one of my fish by jigging the line, after having two consecutive bait fish stolen under my nose. I shouldn’t have gone at all, given my descent into deeper realms of sickness ever since, but it might be the best fishing experience of my life to date.

awww

Just in time for Valentine’s, here is a heart log from me to all of you. I love y’all, thank you for following along.

steep road

And here we have what made me sick. We’ve been constructing a scary-steep winter road that I’ve been fretting over since August. There have been many conversations with heated words, frightening future scenarios imagined, and not a little bit of stress. Oh well, the only place to go now is up.

frye boots

Yesterday I found a pair of Frye boots at Marden’s for 40 smackaroos. Marden’s is a peculiar discount chain store in Maine, where items end up at ridiculous prices. Marden’s is where I recently found corduroy Silver jeans for 10 bucks. It can be quite hit or miss, but when you score, ohhhhhh how you score. And now these boots! I got so excited that I let out more expletives than I’ve ever uttered in public before. They’re a little big, but I don’t mind.

Plus look at my cat.

yoyo party

Finally, we’ve been having quite the yo-yo party lately. Confederate Flag, displayed above. Have you seen what they do with yo-yos these days? HOW DOES IT WORK! My brain hurts just trying to keep up. I want to be great at something like that kid is great at yo-yos.

There’s also this guy. Part performance art, part cartoon, all yo-yo.

deep dish pistachio + plum jam thumbprint cookies

deepdish thumbprint cookies

And like that, it was Christmas.

This saddens me, because it means that pretty soon it will stop being acceptable to listen to my NKOTB and Hanson Christmas CD’s day every day all day. And it means that I won’t be able to talk about them on this space for roughly 315 days. Phew, man, I just gotta be strong. I got this.

You know what else I’ve got? New skis. A gorgeous new winter coat. Loads of not-new stuff. Chipped nails. Constantly-splitting ends. A truck with snow through-the-grill from plowing myself through 15″ of fresh snow. Cat affection. Cat reflection. Cat detection. Cat protection. Cat selection. Cat complexion. Cat infection. jk.

I also have these Deep Dish Pistachio + Plum Jam Thumbprint Cookies, and tell you what, they are infectiously good. Speaking of infections, after making Seasons 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead last for months, we found a little contagion of our own and watched 10 FLIPPING EPISODES in a one-day time span over the weekend. Disgusting. Disgustingly good. And yet also, disgustingly bad. Poor actors who get all emotional, pick a point somewhere off yonder and stare pointedly, I’m looking at you. While Eli comforted my conscience by quoting the recent and surely scientific study of Netflix users, wherein 73% felt awesome after binge-watching the program of their choice, I can’t help but feel a bit rueful about time lost.

mirabelle plum jam

I used Mirabelle plum preserves for these thumbprint cookies, because it is gorgeously golden in color, decadently sweet in taste, and delightfully refreshing as far as jams go. I also added in a few splashes of red currant jelly, for festive flare and extra yumminess.  Spell check recommended I change yumminess to crumminess, but I don’t believe it for a minute. I’ll mention now that when I say deep dish, I mean huge monstrous dish – – so if you are jam-averse in the slightest, this is not a cookie for you. These cookies have jam for days.

And pistachios, darling gems of the plant world. I had a sudden onset of confusion while at the grocery store the other day, realizing that I didn’t know what a pistachio…. tree?bush?shrub? looks like. Sure enough, it is a small tree native to the Middle East and Central Asia. Surprise factoid of the day: pistachio trees actually contain urushiol, the same toxin found in poison ivy (as well as mango, cashew, and sumac trees). How about that. No urushiol here, though, because good golly am I allergic.

If you make these, make sure to let them cool fully, or else you’ll have jam running every which way like I did. One cookie makes an excellent treat split between two people, but then you’ll just want to eat twice as many. An interesting conundrum with an easy solution. Deep dish holidays are here to stay, I think.

Deep Dish Pistachio + Plum Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 12 deep dish cookies

++Ingredients:++

1/2 c. roasted + salted pistachios, shelled and chopped fine
2 sticks (1 c.) unsalted butter, softened
Heaping 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 c. flour

7 oz. Mirabelle plum preserves (or other plum jam)
1-2 oz. red currant jelly

++Directions:++

In a large bowl, beat softened butter two to three minutes until floofy and light-colored. Add in sugar and salt, and cream together. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time.

Add flour, and mix until just combined. The dough will look pebbly and crumbly. Cover, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Butter and flour one 12-cup muffin tin; set aside. Heat oven to 350 F. When dough is chilled, remove from fridge and divide into twelve equal portions. Roll each dough ball in the crushed pistachios, then set into the prepared muffin wells. Push down in the center and up around the sides, to create a bowl or cup shape out of the dough. As you can see in the above picture, I brought the dough up nearly evenly with the edge of the pan.

Place one heaping tablespoon of Mirabelle plum preserves in the center of each cookie. Add 1/2 tsp of red currant jelly on top of each for extra color and tasty taste. Sprinkle with any remaining pistachios.

Bake for 22-26 minutes, until edges are light golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes – they are fragile and jammy until the cool significantly. Run a thin knife around the edge of each cookie, until you can pop each one out of the tin. Set on a cooling rack to cool further, before storing in an air-proof container, preferably in the fridge.

++Options:++ Switch up the jams or the nuts if this combination isn’t to your liking. Also, feel free to add a dollop of your favorite brown sugar-based streusel on top, prior to baking. The computer wants to auto correct streusel to stressful, but streusel is only stressful when you’re out of brown sugar like I was, hence the lack of streusel here. These are very pretty as is, though. Like giant cheery Christmas eyes, watching you…. always watching.

deepdish thumbprint cookies

I’m really quite jazzed for Christmas. I spent weeks eying various fir trees alongside the roads I drive every day, only to end up cutting the tree next to the tree I had chosen, upon discovering that aforementioned chosen one was a reeeeeeally wide load. I cut it down in a freezing rain downpour, and once it had thawed out at home, we lit it up with our five strings of lights and various homemade ornaments. I create a wood-burned ornament for the tree each year, and this year, it was an homage to my thousand times gorgeous teal Yeti mountain bike.

Sunday was a snow day. We took to the streets on our new skis, and had the greatest time bombing down mini hills and plowing through the foot or so of snow that we had accumulated at that point. We brunched at our local organic cafe, The Whole Potato, where I discovered this frightful puppet looming above me, working to finagle some of my sweet potato hash. Stay back, haunting little person.

The snow days continue out here in the woods. Only a few more days to be spent plowing through the snow in my truck, before launching into fully-fledged Christmas cookie consumption and cat adoration/infection. Happy holidays to each and every one of you – may whatever you celebrate be celebrated with peace, joy, and love.

frightful puppetpistachio kittytruck plow