This week, we decided to tinker with a tried-and-true chocolate chip cookie recipe. We wanted to make it a little more manly, so we replaced half the butter with bacon fat and then sprinkled the cookies with a bourbon sugar. Our high hopes for this experiment were surpassed, and we ended up making some of our favorite cookies of all time.

If you don’t have any bacon fat lying around you’re doing life wrong. (In fact, just last week, we told you to reserve some bacon fat.) Whenever you cook bacon, there should be a bunch of delicious grease in the pan. Pour it into a jar and set aside for later use. However you collect it, the bacon fat will add a smoky and salty undertone to these cookies — a punch of bacon flavor that’s definitely present but not overpowering.

Be aware that the bourbon sugar will take some time — about four hours on low heat in the oven. While you won’t get a ton of bourbon flavor when you first bite into the cookies, later, when you find a few leftover morsels of sugar in your mouth, you’ll get a sweet bourbon splash of flavor. It’s a nice little chaser that will make you forget all about milk.

Like we did, you may want to put a note near these cookies if you’re setting them out for a party or picnic: “Warning: NOT vegetarian!!!”

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Bourbon Bacon Fat Cookies

1 stick room temperature butter
½ cup rendered bacon fat
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2¼ cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Topping:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
½ vanilla bean

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To make the sugar, set the oven to 170ºF (or as low as your oven will go). Add the sugar and bourbon to a bowl, then split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the bowl. Mix thoroughly, then spread the mixture over a silpat or parchment paper on a baking sheet and cook for 4 hours — with the oven door partially open. Remove from oven and let come to room temperature.

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Add the butter, bacon fat, brown sugar and white sugar to a large bowl and mix with a stand or hand mixture for about two minutes, or until it’s creamy. Add the vanilla extract and then the eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three phases. Once it’s all incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips.

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Drop spoon-sized balls of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle each cookie with a few pinches of the sugar. Bake for about 9 minutes (you can close the oven door this time). Immediately upon removing them from the oven, sprinkle with another few pinches of sugar.

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Allow the cookies to cool (or don’t) and then eat as many as you want before telling other people you have cooked them, because once they know, they will be gone.