Photo: Kevin Pang

We’re not usually prone to hyperbole, but pastry chef Dana Cree made one of the best chocolate chip cookies we’ve ever tasted.

Cree, the James Beard Award-nominated chef of Chicago’s The Publican, came up with a cookie using brown butter and crispy bacon bits. Whereas other recipes have you incorporating cold butter into the mixture, the fats used in Cree’s cookie are liquid—melted, but not hot. The flour gets hydrated differently than usual, which creates a cookie that’s crisp around the edges and teeth-sinking soft and gooey as you bite into the center. It’s also one of the easier cookies you’ll make. (Note: This will taste just as great without the bacon.)

If at all possible, use the metric measurements (grams).


Brown-Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by Dana Cree, The Publican

The Publican pastry chef Dana Cree and her brown-butter bacon chocolate chip cookies. (Photo: Kevin Pang)

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  • 1/2 (120 g) cup melted butter liquid, but not hot
  • 4 tablespoons (60 g) bacon fat liquid, but not hot
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla paste
  • 1 cup (220 g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) sea salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cup (280 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
  • 8 oz. (200 g) dark chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. (200 g) milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (200 g) bacon bits

1. Brown the butter. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. It will foam and turn from pale yellow to toasted light brown. Make sure you don’t rush this step and burn the butter! Set aside to cool.

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2. Mix the wet ingredients. Place the melted brown butter, bacon fat, vanilla paste, brown sugar, sugar, sea salt, egg, and egg yolk in the bowl of a mixer fit with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until everything is smooth and even.

3. Add the chunky bits. Add the dark and milk chocolate chunks and the bacon bits and mix on low speed until they are mixed and even.

4. Mix in the dry ingredients. Sift the flour and baking soda together and add them to the bowl. Mix on low speed, pulsing the mixer on and off to avoid the flour poofing out of the bowl. When the flour is 50 percent incorporated, let the mixer run at low speed until the dough comes together, about one minute.

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5. Scoop the dough and bake. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Scoop with a 2-oz. cookie scoop into balls. Sprinkle a little sea salt on top if you like. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies puff up and then just start to collapse on themselves. The centers should feel gooey, and the edges should appear golden brown and crisp. When the cookies are done, remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes before removing them.