~*~ BACON BLUEBERRY APPLE COOKIES ~*~
It took healthy Coconut, Cashew, Apple Thins and made then naughty. Chunky, decadent, and filled with bacon…these bad boys are the Ben & Jerry’s version of oatmeal cookies. You can replace one of the two surgars with (REAL) maple syrup for more flavor. And if you don’t have blueberries, you can sub with raisins or dried cranberries. This recipe doesn’t use a standard mixer, but works just as well. If you do have one, totally use it!
1/2 pound bacon, plus 1/4 cup reserved fat
1/2 cup walnuts, whole or halved
1 small (or half a large) Granny Smith Apple
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar (or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups quick oats
1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1. COOK THE BACON
Set aside a paper towel-lined plate. Place bacon strips in a large skillet and bring to medium heat. Cook, flipping occasionally, to desired doneness. As the bacon fat renders, use a spoon to scoop the fat into a glass jar or mug, reserve until later instruction. Drain cooked bacon on the paper towels. Once cool, chop or crumble into pieces, then set aside.
*Pro Tip*: Try this easy technique for more plump bacon.
2. PREP OTHER INGREDIENTS
Remove butter from the fridge. Set out the night before, or under direct (ideally hot summer) sunlight until butter softens. For quicker, last-minute options, click here.
Arrange walnuts on a baking pan. Place in the oven and set to 350℉. Every 5 minutes shake the pan until walnuts darken and grow fragrant. Taste to check they are soft and roasted through. Set aside.
Peel, core, and chop the apple into 1/2-inch pieces or smaller. Set aside.
Reserve a few pieces of bacon, apples, blueberries, and walnuts for garnishing the cookies.
3. MAKE THE DOUGH
With a wooden spoon, vigorously beat 1/4 cup reserved bacon fat, butter, white sugar and brown sugar (or maple syrup, if using) until fully combined and smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until combined.
*For the Pros*: You can use a standard mixer.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add the oats and mix until fully incorporated. Then gently fold in the bacon, apple, blueberries, and walnuts. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This will allow the oats to absorb all those wonderful flavors.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Grease or spray with a neutral oil.
5. BAKE THE COOKIES
Take nibbles of the dough to make sure it’s tasty, then scoop out 1 tablespoon – 1/4 cup of dough, depending on how big or small you want them. Arrange them 1-3 inches apart on the baking sheet. Use a fork or your fingers to slightly flatten the dough balls. Push the reserved apples, bacon, blueberries, and walnuts on the top of each cookie. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and chill for 5 – 10 minutes.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until cookies are browned around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then dig in! Store cookies in an air-tight container or Ziplock bag in the fridge or freezer.
*~* THE BEGINNINGS VARIATION ~*~
Replace the bacon with 1/3 cup coconut chips, blueberries with 1 chopped quince (if not available use pears), and walnuts with 1/4 cup cashews. Add 2 tablespoons each raisins and dried cranberries for a tangy pop!
*~* BANANA VARIATION ~*~
Replace the apple with 1 mashed banana for Blueberry, Bacon, Banana Oatmeal Cookies. Add the mashed banana in with the egg and vanilla extract. You can even take it a step further and swap out the walnuts for peanuts.
*~* HEALTHY TWIST ~*~
Instead of quick oats, use 1.5 cups cooked quinoa for a “lighter” cookie. You could even replace the white and brown sugar with 1/4 cup honey or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons agave nectar.