Last Friday, I did my very first guest post. [Can I get a woohoo?!] I stumbled on the Reduce Footprints blog and started participating in Change the World Wednesdays, a weekly post bringing bloggers together to focus on one way to reduce their carbon footprint. Cyndi, the owner & author, read my blog as a result and then contacted me to do a guest post. The only catch? It was a vegan recipe! Eep! So, I veganized a recipe for highly addicting salted lemon rosemary shortbread. The lemon and butter flavors compliment each other, the rosemary adds a savory nodd, but the salt! oh the salt! It adds the perfect pop of flavor at the end of each bite. The best part about the adapted recipe? After copious taste tests...you know, for 'quality control,' I couldn't tell the different between the vegan version and their buttery predecessor!
Now I know what you're thinking. Kel, are you really trying to talk about vegan baking in the same post where you've got a bacon recipe? Why, yes. Yes, I am. Because that's just how I roll. I don't eat a ton of meat, but I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't want a bacon cheeseburger as my last meal. I respect the choices vegans make and am totally open to pushing myself to new ways of cooking and eating--and yes, that means you may even see some gluten-free baking in the near future [gasp!]. I was resistant to veganism for such a long time because I never found vegan baked goods that tasted good. A lot of what I found were cupcakes and pastries that tried too hard to resemble conventional baked goods, and in doing so, disrespected the integrity of the original dish (i.e. dry cupcakes, strangely textured 'buttercream', off-tasting 'cheesecake'). So, I set out to make vegan goodies that tasted just as good as something made with the holy trifecta of sugar, butter and eggs and I think it's safe to say I succeeded each time. With that being said, I want whatever I bake to taste good, regardless of the limitations put on it. After all, the best ingredient is love and I'm pretty sure that's not restricted on anyone's diet! [say it with me now: AWWWW]
Peanut Butter Bacon Nutella Cookies with Smoked Salt
Ingredients 1/2 C (I stick) unsalted butter, softened 1/2 C dark brown sugar, packed 1/2 C sugar 1 egg 1/3 C peanut butter 1/3 C Nutella 2-3 strips of bacon (aaaand roughly 3-4 pieces for yourself) 1 1/4 C flour 3/4 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 table salt 1/3 C crushed peanuts (optional if using crunchy peanut butter) smoked salt, for sprinkling on top of each cookie
Directions for Dough: Fry bacon until crispy and beautiful. While bacon is filling your kitchen with an intoxicating pork aroma, combine the dry ingredients (flour, soda, powder, salt) in a bowl. Set aside. Check on your bacon. Once it's crispy and begging to be eaten, set it aside on a papertowel to cool. Once cool, chop or crumble into pea-sized bits (or larger if you're a true bacon fiend--no judgement here! If you're truly a bacon fiend, you can also reserve the bacon grease and add 2-3 tablespoons of cooled bacon grease to your cookie dough).
In a separate bowl, cream together butter & sugars. Add egg and beat until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and nutella to mixture until well incorporated (there should be no streaks; scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary). If you're adding cooled bacon grease to the cookies, now is the time!! With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Beat until combined. Add crushed peanuts & crumbly bacon. Stir to distribute evenly throughout the dough. Refrigerate two hours. Resist the urge to EAT ALL THE COOKIE DOUGH.
Onward...to the baking! If you have not eaten all the cookie dough, congratulate yourself. Then pre-heat oven to 350F. With a 1.5" scooper or two spoons (or your hands, if you're *that* skilled at forming symmetrical dough balls, which I am not), scoop/form the dough into 1.5" balls and place 2" apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. [If you like your cookies larger, go for it! Just anticipate adding a few extra minutes to their time in the oven]. Lightly press the cookies down with your fingertips to encourage spreading. Sprinkle each cookie lovingly with smoked salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cooked but still chewy. Let cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Resist the urge to EAT ALL THE COOKIES...in one sitting.