Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Candied Bacon, Caramel, White, Milk and Dark Chocolate Chunk Heart Attack Cookies

I know. I know. These are completely over the top. The idea to make them has been in my head for awhile but until now, I didn't have a proper audience for them until recently.

I'll always be a TV producer looking to entertain a target demographic :-)

When Dr. B is home on leave from Iraq, he usually works one overnight shift as an emergency doctor on call for our area. He has done this job ever since I've known him, since he was in medical school, actually. Recently, there was a birthday party for one of his local colleagues, an ER nurse. Many of the local paramedics and nurses were there.

Let me briefly explain how our "911" system works here in comparison to the States. When someone calls 112, (German equivalent of 911) the call is transfered to a call center where a trained person evaluates the emergency to determine if they should send a paramedic or a doctor. That's right, you get a doctor arriving at your home if you need one. All of you in the USA can pick your jaws up off the ground now. Since they implemented this system years ago, the short time survival rate rose significantly. This means an increase in the amount of people who made it to the hospital alive.

Dr. B loves to work these local shifts. Sometimes he is up all night with 10 calls in a row but finds it rewarding to use his significant training. More importantly, it keeps his medical skills sharp and counts toward the points he needs to earn every year to retain his medical license.

Here is a pix of his wacky "santa suit" ER doc uniform. Who says Germans don't have a sense of humor?

Sorry for the poor photo quality. Couldn't find a picture of him in his suit so I just hauled it out of the closet and took a quick snap for this post.

Here's another one of him in his more dignified whites. Notarzt means Emergency Dr.  He has a driver who take him out on the calls. They follow the ambulance.

I personally think his blue peacekeeping helmet is most chic. Here he is wearing it on a black hawk transfer over Baghdad:

It's THE perfect accessory to wear in a Black Hawk, no?

Sidetrack contemplating Emergency Doctor International Fashion now over.

Back to the Heart Attack Cookies.

In good conscience, I could only serve these cookies to a room full of trained medical professionals, knowing there would be several people at this party who could handle the emergency if a guest or two keeled over.

I am still a little sensitive on this subject because last week I was feeding the chickens some leftover homemade pizza crust and egg shells (chickens LOVE egg shells, go figure) out of my compost collector and one of the hens DID keel over and die right in front of me. I thought she was just being dramatic (how Eva Gabor/Green Acres of me)  But nope, dead as a doornail.

Still trying not to take it personally.

Here's the cookie lowdown:

First I made the caramel candy. I debated making trendy salted caramel but because of the bacon and the salt in the cookie recipe, it would be salt overkill. Even for me. And I LOVE salt.  I used this recipe.

Once the caramels were in candy form. I cut smaller portions than you would for a regular candy. I should have made them even smaller like the size of chocolate chips but I was going for the chunk affect.

Next was the candied bacon. Thank you David Lebowitz for the recipe and thank you from saving me the Agave step. Apparently Agave does a slip slidin' away thing, not sticking properly to the bacon. I almost went there until I read your blog post (HAVE to try that Candied Bacon Ice cream recipe one day soon.) I love Agave syrup, not only for it's lower glycemic index, but primarily for the flavor. I find it adds something special to homemade marinara sauce, for example. I'm rambling again.

Someone please stop me.

I used these precut thick bacon cubes I found in the market instead of the strips. Covered them with light brown sugar and used his method of cooking them on a baking sheet. I would have just done them in a frying pan, because I am ghetto like that.

I could have just made bacon caramel with this interesting recipe from this great food blogger Not Without Salt. But I always do things the hard way.

Then I made a batch of treasured (by me) Toll House cookie batter. Never get tired of this recipe. I used it for the base for a lot of other cookies I make. It's always a no fail for me and a favorite to share with Germans as a traditional American cookie.  Where I keep this recipe says everything about how I feel about it.

Taped to the back of this postcard:

When I first attempted to make these after moving to Germany, the local flour was a problem. The cookies never turned out right. They didn't taste like the Tollhouse cookies I love representing for me the flavor of home.   I started (yes I did) bringing back huge sacks of flour from my frequent trips to the States.  After combing expat online communities, I finally read somewhere that the trick is to mix two of the local flours. 3/4 of type 405 with 1/4 of type 550. It worked!  So no more schlepping flour back from the USA.  My suitcase and German customs agents thank me.

Flour dilemma sidetrack now over.

Back to the cookies:

I cut up squares of white, milk and dark baking chocolate into chunks.

Then stirred in the caramel, caramelized bacon and chocolate chunks into the cookie batter.

Dropped the cookies onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

And baked about 7- 10 minutes for each batch depending upon your oven and how gooey you like them. Me, I can never get enough gooey.


One small act of mercy - I made the cookies littler than usual. Now I like me a good sized chocolate chip cookie. But these are so packed with flavor, I thought I would give people a break in the size department. Cookie size. Not waistline size.

The result was chewy, salty sweet goodness or a heart attack cookie bomb (perspective is everything.) Once I chewed up the cookie, I had the equivalent to a small caramel bon bon leftover in my mouth. A cookie that turns into candy which means a dentist party guest might have also come in handy. (Did I just rhyme?)

I wasn't sure how they would be received but those suckers were gone 45 minutes after I unwrapped the platter.

If any of you are crazy enough to make these, I would recommend the following:

1)Saving a step and make bacon caramel.

2)Cut the caramel pieces the size of chocolate chips. Mine were too big so the cookies stuck to the baking paper.

3)Add the caramel pieces to the dough after you have shaped them into cookies, putting them in the middle and at the top of the dough ball. Otherwise, This can happen:

Not pretty.

4)If the caramel becomes too hard to work with, pop it in the micro for 30 seconds.

Wonderful, flavor bomb cookies, but not for everyone and not at all for the faint of heart.

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