Soft Ginger, Butter and Bacon Fat Cookies

Bacon grease spice cookies | bacon recipes

 

Chewy crystallized ginger, spices, butter, bacon fat, and sparkling sugar all in one delicious cookie…..oh, my!

These ginger cookies have amazingly spicy flavor thanks to the inclusion of three kinds of ginger: fresh ginger juice, candied ginger, and dried ginger. I thought the slightly smoky taste of the bacon grease would be a nice compliment to the flavors, and that hunch proved to be right.

To prepare the bacon fat for baking, I poured the cooled grease through a regular wire strainer and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to allow the particles to settle. Then I re-poured it through a fine-mesh wire strainer into a glass container. I covered and chilled it because I wasn’t going to use it right away, but if you’re going to bake with it right away you can skip that step.

This recipe has one fussy step, and that’s peeling and grating fresh ginger for the dough. Adding fresh ginger gives the cookies a hint of fresh, spicy flavor that I think pushes this recipe over the top. (You can skip this step if you’re in a hurry. Just eliminate the fresh ginger, with no other modifications needed to the recipe.)

Let’s get started, shall we? Select one or two pieces of ginger at the store that are a total of about 4 inches in length. Look for firm, unblemished ginger. Here’s what I used:

Fresh ginger for bacon fat cookies | Bensa bacon lovers

 

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin…

Peel fresh ginger for bacon fat cookies | Bensa bacon lovers

 

…so that it looks like this:

Peeled fresh ginger for bacon fat cookies | Bensa bacon lovers

 

Next, arrange a grater over a plate and grate the ginger using the side of the grater with smaller holes:

Grating fresh ginger for bacon fat cookies | Bensa bacon lovers

 

When you’re done, you’ll have a little pile of grated ginger like this:

Grated fresh ginger for bacon fat cookies | Bensa bacon lovers

 

Now, squeeze the ginger with your hands into a measuring cup to extract all of the fresh ginger juice:

Fresh ginger juice for bacon fat cookies | Bensa bacon lovers

 

If you prefer, you can press the grated ginger on a strainer set over a measuring cup to extract the juice. Compost or discard the remaining ginger fibers, and pour the ginger juice in a large bowl. Now you’re going to add the bacon grease. Since I had refrigerated my strained bacon grease,  I removed it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for an hour to soften. You could also microwave it on low for 30-40 seconds to soften it.

Here’s how it looks:

Rendered bacon grease for Ginger Cookies | Bensa bacon blog

 

Add the bacon fat to the bowl along with the softened butter.

Combine butter and bacon grease for Ginger Cookies | Bensa bacon blog

 

Blend it together:

Combine butter and bacon grease for Ginger Cookies | Bensa bacon blog

 

Now mix in the brown sugar, egg and molasses:

Bacon grease cookies | Bensa bacon lovers blog

 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, powdered ginger, and ground cloves.

Bacon grease ginger cookies | Bensa bacon lovers blog

 

Now, finely chop the candied ginger and add it to the flour mixture.

Chop candied ginger for bacon fat ginger cookies | Bensa bacon lovers blog

 

Stir the two mixtures together, cover and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and use a dining teaspoon to roll the dough in 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll in sugar (demerra sugar, sparkling sugar or granulated sugar all work well) if you like, and arrange on a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bacon grease ginger cookies | Bensa bacon lovers blog

 

Bake until cookies are just done and barely starting to brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Sprinkle with a little more sugar if you like, and remove to a wire rack after cookies have cooled for 2 minutes.

Bacon fat ginger cookies | Bensa bacon lovers blog

 

Yum!

Because they contain bacon fat, I suggest storing the cookies in a covered container in the refrigerator. They taste best if they’re eaten within 5 days.

 

Here’s the recipe:

Soft Ginger, Butter and Bacon Fat Cookies

1 1-inch by 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup rendered, strained bacon grease, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses (or substitute regular molasses)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
3/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
crystal sugar or granulated sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, squeeze the juice from the grated ginger and compost or discard fibers. Add the butter, bacon grease, brown sugar, egg and molasses and stir until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir until well blended. Sprinkle with the chopped crystallized ginger and mix well. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour. Roll in balls using a dining teaspoon. Roll in crystal sugar or granulated sugar. Bake until just starting to brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store cookies in a covered container in the refrigerator. They taste best if they’re eaten within 5 days. Makes about 3 dozen.

*If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag it #bensabaconlovers. Our members would love to see your photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Phoodie!

Enjoy!

~Your friends at BENSA

How to Cook Wavy Bacon in the Oven

Baked wavy bacon | Bensa Bacon Lovers Society

One of our favorite ways to cook bacon is baking it in the oven. It’s super easy, the bacon cooks evenly, and it’s relatively un-messy.

The only downside is that baked bacon tends to stay very flat. Now you can get the fun, wavy look of pan-fried bacon with a simple trick. Here’s how to do it:

Oven-Cooked Wavy Bacon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and line a baking pan with foil. Tear off a sheet of foil about 3 inches longer than the long edge of the baking sheet and cut it in 3 long strips. Use your hands to gently crush and shape the strips to make 3 long snakes, like this:

Cook wavy bacon in the oven | Bensa Bacon Lovers blog

 

Now lay the bacon on the pan, shaping the bacon gently around the foil pieces. It’s easiest if you use one bacon slice on each end to anchor the foil.

Baked wavy bacon | Bensa Bacon Lovers society

 

Now you can arrange the rest of the bacon slices on the pan.

How to bake wavy bacon | Bensa Bacon Lovers blog

 

Pop the pan in the preheated oven and bake it. Your baking time will depend on the thickness of your bacon. Regular sliced bacon should be done in 15 to 20 minutes.

Here in the BENSA test kitchen, we used Wright’s thick-sliced hickory smoked bacon:

Wright's hickory smoked bacon | Bensa bacon lovers blog

 

Our baking time was about 28 minutes. Here’s how it looked in the pan:

baked bacon | Bensa Bacon Lovers Blog

How to bake bacon in the oven | Bensa bacon lovers blog

Peek on the bacon about halfway through cooking. If the ends of your bacon strips are starting to overcook, just cover them with a strip of foil to prevent over-browning. Your bacon will be perfect!

How to cook bacon in the oven | BensaBaconLovers.com

Happy bacon baking!

~ Your friends at BENSA

P.S. For more bacon cooking ideas, you might like to follow our Pinterest Bacon Recipes board!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Brussels sprouts with bacon | Bensa Bacon Lovers
When they’re cooked just right, brussels sprouts are a wondrous vegetable to behold – tender, flavorful, and with just a hint of natural sweetness.

Perhaps, though, you’ve experienced overcooked sprouts that were less than stellar. Brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates, healthy nutrients that begin to release a sulfur smell during cooking. This process begins after about five minutes, so the trick is to steam the sprouts for five minutes and then finish them off in a hot pan to sear their tender goodness without overcooking.

Here’s an early peek at a recipe from Eliza’s new cookbook 101 More Things To Do With Bacon, which will be published by Gibbs Smith in autumn of 2016. This preparation features lightly steamed sprouts finished in a large skillet with crispy, crunchy bacon. The process caramelizes the sprouts and brings out their nutty flavor.

Shall we get started?

First, wash the sprouts well, trim the stems and cut them in half. In a steamer over boiling water, steam them for exactly five minutes.

Halved, steamed Brussels sprouts | Bensa Bacon Lovers

While the sprouts are steaming, cook 8 slices of chopped bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often. Drain the sprouts well in a collander, and add to the pan.

Cooking Brussels sprouts with bacon | Bensa Bacon Lovers

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is almost crispy and Brussels sprouts are starting to brown. Add one clove of peeled, minced garlic and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the bacon and sprouts are nicely browned.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a serving dish or plates. Makes about 6 servings.

Here’s the complete recipe:

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
8 slices bacon chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
freshly ground pepper

In a steamer over boiling water, steam the Brussels Sprouts for exactly five minutes. While the sprouts are steaming, begin cooking the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often.

Drain the sprouts, shaking the strainer well before adding the sprouts to the skillet.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until bacon is almost crispy and Brussels sprouts are starting to brown. Add one clove of peeled, minced garlic and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until bacon and sprouts are browned. Makes 6 servings.

Enjoy!

~ Your friends at BENSA

Sizzling Summer Bacon Festivals 2015

KeystoneBaconFest

Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour – Keystone, CO

Hey, bacon lovers – are you planning your summer vacations? For a trip that’s fun AND features your favorite meaty treat, how about hitting the road and taking in one (or more!) of these fabulous bacon festivals?

Let us know if you attend – we’d love to hear from you and see your photos!

6/27/15 – 6/28/15 – Keystone Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour – Keystone, CO
6/27/15 – Great Saskatchewan Bacon Festival – Saskatchewan, Canada
6/27/15 – 6/28/15 – Monterey BaconFest – Monterey, CA
7/10/15 – 7/12/15 – Pork Days, USA Bacon Fest – Albion, IL
7/11/15 – 2nd Annual Bacon, Brew & BBQ Fest – Sun Prairie, WI
8/1/15 – 8/2/15 – Big Bite Bacon Fest – Long Beach, CA
8/1/15 – Omaha Beer and Bacon Festival – Omaha, NE
8/1/15 – BaconFest VA – Roanoke, VA
8/9/15 – BaconFest Omaha – Omaha, NE
8/15/15 – Anchorage Beer and Bacon Festival – Anchorage, AK
8/15/15 – Reykjavik Bacon Festival – Reykjavik, Iceland
8/16/15 – Bacon Fest – Kettering, OH
8/22/15 – Bacon Fest – Kansas City, MO
8/29/15 – Bacon & Brewfest – Tuscaloosa, AL
8/29/15 – Indiana Bacon Festival of Carroll County – Delphi, IN
8/29/15 – Beer & Bacon Festival – Woodbridge, VA

Here’s to your most sizzling summer yet!

~ Your friends at BENSA

P.S. Contact us if you have bacon events to add to the list.

Bacon Cheddar Mini Quiche Recipe

Mini bacon cheddar quiches

These bite-sized bacon-y quiches are easy to make, and are always a big hit for breakfast or a buffet brunch.

Mini Quiches with Bacon and Cheddar

2 packages (1.9 ounces) baked miniature phyllo shells like Athens Mini Fillo Shells
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 slices bacon, cooked and finely crumbled
salt and pepper
finely shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet.  Arrange the phyllo cups on the baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and milk and whisk until well combined. Pour the egg mixture in a measuring cup with a spout.

Sprinkle the bacon in the phyllo cups. Use the measuring cup to carefully pour a little of the egg mixture in each cup, leaving about 1/8 inch at the top for the mixture to rise when baking. (Don’t overfill. You may have some egg mixture left over.) Sprinkle cups with salt and pepper.

Bake for 5 minutes to set, and remove from the oven. Sprinkle the cups with the cheese and return to the oven. Bake for another 6 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and serve hot. Makes 30 mini quiches, or about 8 servings.

Enjoy!

Mini bacon cheddar quiche

Bensa Bacon Holiday Giveaway

Bensa Giveaway of 2015 bacon calendar and bacon cookbook

Just in time for the new year, you could win a brand new I HEART BACON 2015 wall calendar plus a signed copy of the bestselling cookbook, 101 Things To Do With Bacon. To enter the giveaway, simply answer this question in the comments section below:

What’s your favorite way to enjoy bacon during the holidays?

The giveaway is open to U.S. readers through Tuesday, December 23 at midnight MST. We’ll announce the lucky winner the following week.

Good luck!

-Your friends at BENSA

BENSA Bacon Back To School Shopping Guide

As summer winds down and kids of all ages head back to school, BENSA’s timely product round-up will help your favorite bacon lover enjoy a sizzling year of scholastic success:

BACON NOTEBOOK

Bacon notebook

Featuring the periodic table for the element “BaCoN,” this bright red notebook instantly identifies your student as a serious bacon lover. $13.95 from Zazzle.

BACON PENCIL CASE

bacon pencil case

Corral your writing implements in style with this bacon-patterned pencil case, just $6.00 from Etsy’s SleeplessSewing.

BACON DEODORANT

bacon deodorant

PE class early in the day? Don’t sweat it—keep your cool and smell like your favorite crunchy pork product with this bacon-scented deodorant, $9.99 from J & D’s Foods.

BACON BOOK BAG

Bacon book bagTake ‘cool’ to a whole new level when you tote your textbooks in this bacon book bag, $25.00 from Look Human.

BACON SPORTS BRA

bacon sports bra
Add some sass to your gym class with a bacon sports bra, $36 from Nylon Shop.

BACON TAPE

Bacon tapePerfect for art projects and on-the-spot wardrobe malfunction repairs, this handy bacon tape is just $6.30 from Amazon.

BACON LUNCHBOX

Bacon lunchbox

A lunchbox is a necessity for those days when the school cafeteria isn’t serving bacon, and this streaky beauty is the perfect place to stash a couple of BLTs.  $12.95 from Amazon.

BACON SHOELACES

Bacon shoelacesJust do it! Lace these scented bacon and egg shoelaces through your athletic shoes and you’ll be bouncing off the walls of the halls. $5.00 from Amazon.

Happy school daze, and if you find any other scholastic bacon products be sure to send ’em our way!

Bacon Wrapped Smokies Recipe

Bacon-wrapped little smokies cocktail wieners, from the BENSA Bacon Lovers society

We also call this appetizer “Meat Wrapped In Meat.” Savory little smokies are wrapped in bacon, brushed with brown sugar, and cooked to crispy perfection. Take a plate of these babies to your next picnic or potluck, and bask in the bacon-infused love from your friends.

SAVORY BACON SMOKIES

1 (14-ounce) package beef cocktail wieners

1 pound regular sliced bacon, cut into thirds

3/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Wrap each cocktail wiener with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Arrange on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar generously over all. Bake, turning several times, for about 40 minutes, or until the sugar bubbles and the bacon is cooked. Makes 12 servings.

This recipe is from the cookbook 101 Things To Do With Bacon by Eliza Cross (Gibbs Smith, Publisher).

Bensa’s Father’s Day Gift Guide

Bensans everywhere know that a bacon-themed gift is a can’t-miss idea for dads. Here are our sizzling picks for Father’s Day 2014.

BACON NECKTIE

Bacon necktie

Why give Dad a boring necktie when he can make a bacon fashion statement with this meaty neckwear? $19.95 from Bacon Addicts.

DIY BACON KIT

Do it yourself bacon

Is your old man a do it yourselfer? He’s sure to appreciate Boss Hog’s Bacon Cure Kit, $21.95 from Bacon Freak.

BACON PHONE COVER

Bacon phone case

Dad can chat in style and protect his smart phone with this stylish, good-enough-to-eat bacon phone cover from the Bensa Bacon Store. $42.95.

3-POUND BACON SAMPLER

Nueske's bacon sampler

For many Bensans, Nueske’s is their preferred favorite bacon of choice. It’s thick, meaty, and slow-smoked for maximum flavor. For a failproof Father’s Day gift, give dad this 3-pound bacon sampler featuring Nueske’s thick-sliced, regular and pepper varieties. If you’re lucky, maybe he’ll share. $30.95 with gift box.

BACON COLOGNE

Bacon Cologne

Forget common scents like Old Spice and Aramis. Your dad deserves to smell like his favorite breakfast meat. Bacon Classic cologne by Farginnay is $36.

BACON SOCKS

bacon socks

So what if your dad insists on wearing black socks and loafers with his shorts? He can’t help but be stylin’ when he dons these black, bacony beauties. $10 a pair from Joy of Socks.

BACON COOKBOOK

101 Things To Do With Bacon | ElizaCross.com | Eliza Cross, author

Is your pop a meat-and-potatoes man? He’ll especially appreciate the recipes for Crispy Bacon Potato Skins, Bacon Tater Tots, and Loaded Baked Potato Soup in the Official Bensa Bacon Cookbook, 101 Things To Do With Bacon. Just $8.99 for Bensa Members.

Happy Father’s Day to all the great ones!

Green Bean Casserole with Bacon Recipe

Green Bean Casserole with bacon

Here’s the BENSA-recommended recipe for “Better Bacon Green Bean Casserole.” Why is it better, you ask? Because it’s made with fresh green beans, a creamy sauce, cheddar cheese and a generous portion of crispy, crunchy bacon. Try it and see, and you may never go back to the canned soup version:

Better Bacon Green Bean Casserole

3 cups fresh green beans, ends trimmed

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

6 thick slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add green beans and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until tender; drain and reserve. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion until lightly browned. Add the green beans and bacon and stir. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, shredded cheese, salt and pepper. Stir the mixture into the beans and transfer to a greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through and lightly browned. Makes 6 servings.

This recipe is from the book, 101 Things To Do With Bacon. Enjoy!