One Cookie Dough, Three Options…and the Arrival of the Gilded Pig

Isn’t that the ultimate test of a good anything?  You can use it for a variety of purposes and in a variety of situations.  Your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough is no exception.  You can use it a million different ways, and once you try just one subtle change in the original recipe, you’ll quickly become curious about the other magically delicious options that are out there waiting for you to discover them.

So…for today…I’ll talk about my most recent chocolate chip cookie dough experiment.  I’ll start by saying, I used my favorite, and for that matter, the only one that has really ever been a success for me.  You should use your favorite, whether it’s a recipe that has been handed down from a special family member, or even the recipe that’s on the back of your favorite brand of chocolate chips.  Heck, if you don’t have a favorite, go with a standby like Betty Crocker.  Consider the cookie dough your canvas, and the ingredients you add will be what takes each variation over the top.

 

Cookie #1…Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

This, technically, isn’t that much of a variation.  It is, however, one that I love.  I made my normal chocolate chip cookie dough and used dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate chips.

One thing you should know about my cookie dough is that I use butter flavored Crisco instead of butter.  I like how the cookies look and I think it creates a much better texture.  I also like that the cookies don’t come out with any hint of greasiness when I use the Crisco.

I bake my cookies in a 350 degree oven for12-15 minutes…I usually bake them just shy of done because I prefer a chewy cookie.  If you like a crispy cookie, go for the 15 minutes or even a minute or two longer.  Remember, also, that once you pull the cookies from the oven, they will do some carry-over cooking on the sheet if you let them sit for a minute or two, so you should factor that in to your cook time as well.

Cookie #2 – The Creme de Menthe Chip Cookie

I love peppermint.  This is clear to you if you have paid attention to the title of my blog.  I love peppermint tea, peppermint candies, and these…mint chip cookies.  With these cookies, the type of mint chip you select will dictate the strength of the mint flavor.  I also add 1 tsp. of peppermint extract to the cookie dough to really make sure the mint flavor is distributed through the dough and doesn’t just sit in the chips.

For this variation, I used these chips…it’s what I had on hand

I love these chips, and use them often.  There are many MANY great varieties of mint chips out there to play with.  Pick up whatever you see and give it a shot.  If you love mint and chocolate together, you can’t go wrong with any of the brands that are out there.  I’ve tried every brand I can get my hands on, and have not yet been disappointed.

With this cookie and the Andes chips, you get the Andes candy version of a cookie…chocolate and peppermint perfection!

 

Cookie #3 – The Gilded Pig

For those of you who have been following my blog for awhile, you may remember a post where I mentioned wanting to create a dessert treat  called the Gilded Pig.  This idea has gone through many changes in my head…it started as a scone, then was almost a cookie, and then finally, the idea to make it a bar cookie – kind of like a blondie – hit and I was sold.  The elements are simple…bacon, caramel, chocolate.  If you are not familiar with the bacon and chocolate trend, and are sitting there grossed out right now, bear with me.  This is one of the most delicious combinations of salty and sweet ever created.  It really does work together.  It is decadent and sinful, but it is delicious.  Adding caramel to the party just takes it to a place that I’m pretty sure is illegal in most states.

So, for the Gilded Pig Bars you’ll need your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough, a pound of bacon cut in a 1/4 inch dice and cooked to just crisp (or just cooked to your liking and cut and crumbled – don’t be fussy about it), a 9×13 baking dish coated with cooking spray and…

 

Mix your cookie dough and add the bacon and caramel bits.  When all of the ingredients are incorporated, turn the dough out into your 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes – the sides will start to pull away from the pan and a toothpick will come out clean.

Now…when you’re done and your bars have cooled completely, you need to melt some of these in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth and pourable.

You really only need to melt 1/4 -1/3 c. of the chips.  I melt mine right in a glass measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring.  Once melted and smooth, you drizzle the chocolate onto the bars like this…

Let the chocolate set up, and then you’re ready to cut the bars.  These are super rich and decadent, so you really can cut the bars in small chunks.  A normal brownie sized bar may be too much…go somewhere between a piece of fudge and a brownie and you should be all good.

These are insanely good, and if I ever figure out a way to really make a go of the cooking and baking business that is in my head, I’m sure these will be something of a trademark item.  These are a treat you share with people you really love, because if you share them with people you don’t, you’ll never get rid of them.

Now, with all of this baking going on…and yes, I did bake all of these goodies in the same day, I could not possible keep all of this bar and cookie goodness in the house.  I happened to be meeting several friends and family members for dinner on this particular night, so I put together some goodie bags as a thank you to all who drove just to have a little Mexican dinner to celebrate my birthday.  I did a sampler pack for everyone who attended, and I really do love how they turned out…

I hope, as always, that this makes you want to get into your own kitchen and make something delicious.  It would be even better if what you make is also shared with those who mean the most to you.  That is what I love most about food, cooking, and baking.  It brings people together and really has the power to change someone’s mood in such a positive way.  So…get into your kitchen and play with your cookie dough!  If you come up with any fun combos, let me know!

 

 

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