Last Updated on April 16, 2021
If you are a fan of the magical pairing of sweet and salty, then these bacon shortbreads are for you! The dough is made with rendered bacon fat to bolster the flavor and chopped bacon bits make for fabulous crispy pops of salt and smoke that make these cookies addictive for bacon lovers.
They are sweet enough to be a cookie but savory enough to be a cracker. This recipe relies on premium quality bacon to make it shine. The great flavor of uncured bacon is ideal for adding just the right amount of meaty undertone.
This recipe calls for up four tablespoons of bacon fat, approximately what may render from one 10-ounce package of ButcherBox bacon. If your package does not render a full four tablespoons, you can supplement with stored rendered bacon fat, or just add extra butter or vegetable shortening to compensate.
We always recommend that you save rendered bacon fat anytime you cook bacon so that you have it on hand for recipes like this one.
If you prefer to not have as much bacon flavor, you can always use all butter or swap out shortening for the bacon fat, or you can use lard which will support the porky flavor but without the smoke or salt.
This recipe can be doubled if you want to make it for a crowd, but if you need more than a double batch, we recommend making two batches as you can lose the consistency. If you already have plenty of bacon fat in your fridge, you can feel free to use pre-cooked bacon or about a cup of bacon bits for the bacon in the cookies if you don’t want to cook a fresh batch of bacon.
We often save any leftover cooked ButcherBox bacon from breakfasts and brunches in a bag in the freezer until we have enough to make this recipe.
- 1 package ButcherBox bacon Cooked crispy, cooled, and chopped coarsely, or approx. 1 cup chopped crispy bacon.
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter at cool room temp (pliable but not too soft)
- 4 tablespoons bacon fat, leftover from cooking
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper optional
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter, bacon fat, and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-4 minutes. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add to the mixing bowl and beat at low speed until barely mixed, there will still be some flour visible. Add the bacon pieces and continue mixing on low speed until just combined.
- Heat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Now it is time to form your shortbreads, and this is a forgiving dough, so feel free to get creative!
- If you prefer a neat and precise edge, or fun shapes of shortbread, roll the dough between two sheets of parchment to approx. ½ inch thick and cut to your desired shape and size. Scraps can be re-rolled.
- If you like larger, more traditional shortbread wedges, you can pat into rounds about ¾ of an inch thick and score with a fork into break-apart wedges.
- Our preferred method is also the easiest, just roll into a log shape and chill for at least 2 hours, and then slice off round cookies. You can make these large rounds 2-3 inches in diameter or roll them small for little bite-size snack cookies about an inch wide.
- Keep cookies one to one and a half inches apart on the baking sheet, they don’t spread too much. Chill on the baking sheet for 20-30 minutes minimum or up to 24 hours. This is a very important step, as you want the fat to be solid before baking, otherwise, it will melt out of your shortbread and make it dry and crumbly.
- Bake for 10-18 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. They should be lightly golden brown on the edges. Cool on the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer from the pans directly to the rack to finish cooling. They will last up to two weeks in an airtight container, or up to three months in the freezer.
Stacey Ballis is the author of ten novels including, OFF THE MENU, OUT TO LUNCH, and
RECIPE FOR DISASTER, as well as a digital cookbook, BIG DELICIOUS LIFE. Her non-fiction essays have appeared in several anthologies, and her food writing and recipes have appeared in Food & Wine Magazine, Eating Well Magazine, and many other publications. Stacey lives in Chicago with her husband and is currently at work on a new full-length work of fiction.