Bacon Fat Gingersnaps

bacon fat gingersnaps

I’m a big fan of would-you-rathers.

Chalk it up to my at-times paralyzing indecisiveness, or penchant for the fanciful.  There’s something refreshing and enjoyable about choosing between two completely impossible or painfully awkward alternatives.

Here’s a kicker for you–if you had to choose only one to eat for the rest of your life, would you choose bacon or sausage?

Someone posed that question to me at work today.  Without even pausing to breathe, I answered, “Bacon. How is that even a question?”

(She’s a sausage girl, so needless to say, I think I left her a bit offended.  I stand by my choice.)

bacon fat gingersnaps

I suppose that now would be as good a time as any to talk about my feelings towards meat.  I can remember, with perfect saliency, the first time I bit into a cheeseburger.  I was seventeen.

The meat tasted sharp, rich, slightly metallic and like a bit of a come to Jesus.  Funny thought, coming from the mouth of a vegetarian.

I left that little morsel out.  Until I was seventeen, I was a vegetarian.  For anyone who knows me now, and has had the pleasure of witnessing me order steak frites, rare–this could come as quite a shock.  I more or less avoided most forms of meat (which, when you think about the background I come from maybe a sheer miracle) for the bulk of my childhood.  And one day, at the ripe old age of fourteen, I read Fast Food Nation from cover to cover and finally just put my foot down.  My mother humored me, under the assumption that this would be just a phase.

This was not a phase.

bacon fat gingersnaps

I can’t remember ever actually missing the stuff.  At that point in my life I had just phased meat out, so what was I really missing?

It turns out that my body had some other ideas in mind.  After years of diligent research, careful dieting and copious amounts of iron supplements, I got a pretty direct talking-to from my doctor.  Enough, she said, waving my iron count in my face.  Words like severe anemia and chronic fatigue flew around the room, and after some ardent protest I ceded defeat.

And what was I really missing?  The smell of sizzling bacon, apparently.

That first bite of an In-N-Out cheeseburger felt like a betrayal.  I was angry with myself for giving in, the way so many angsty teenagers can be, and I was livid with my body for failing me.  But it also felt…right.  The meat melted in my mouth, warm against the crisp lettuce and fresh tomato.  And just as soon as I’d started, I just couldn’t stop.

I’d like to say it’s been smooth sailing from that point forward, but let’s be honest.  It took a good week for me to keep any form of animal protein down in my stomach, but I haven’t looked back since.  Instead, I pay attention to what I put into my body, where it came from, how it was raised.  I savor each bite that touches my lips.

And I can answer that would-you-rather honestly.  Bacon, always.

This recipe provides the perfect solution for that excess ton or jar of bacon greases we’ve all accumulated at one point or another.  When Sarah and I first stumbled upon it I think we were equal parts appalled and intrigued.  There isn’t a lick of butter in it, and I can’t saying that miss it.

Seems to beg the question–would you rather?

Recipe after the jump.

Bacon Fat Gingersnapsslightly adapted from Epicurious Continue reading “Bacon Fat Gingersnaps”

GUEST POST: Humpday Chocolate Cookies

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

Sous chef Shaeda, here. I’ve been sharing the same mixers and cutting boards with Sarah for a couple of weeks now, and when it came time to whip up some magic in the kitchen I knew exactly what we needed. And how.

It’s just one of those weeks.

There is a sense of heaviness to the air that isn’t normally here this time of year. Winter has been clinging to DC, as of late. The weight of my green wool coat has been replaced by something entirely different, but still present. It’s the feel of a firm palm, gently pressing down onto my shoulders.

It’s spring here, though. Finally.

Nothing is quite the way it’s supposed to be. You know what I mean. The type of week where you long for Friday so much you can taste the anticipation in the back of your mouth. Nothing went quite the way I wanted it to from the moment I opened my eyes on Monday. After an impromptu but much needed trip to the West Coast, jet lag and hours of travel got the best of me. I woke up late, and from that very moment seemed to just escape falling into that weekly rhythm. Left my carefully-packed lunch sitting on the marble counter; neglected to include the address on an itinerary I swore I’d meticulously checked over and over.

After the events in Boston last week, we received an all-too-real reminder of how short and fleeting life is. It’s very easy to get swept up in the day-to-day minutia, to forget that each breath is a gift, not a right. The sudden loss this week of someone dear to me has punctuated that fact to me.

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

As a child, I had this habit. When things weren’t particularly going the right way, I would turn into myself. I’m almost certain I wasn’t the first (or only) child to use this as a coping mechanism, but I would close my eyes and imagine myself somewhere wonderful. Some place where the air was fresh and full of hope.

As a adult, I’ve learned to keep my eyes open. Gone is the complacent dreamer of yesterday; she stands tall and proud. I’ve learned to confront my demons head on. If that’s not enough, if I still I feel that weight on my shoulder, I bake.

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

When I stepped into the kitchen this week, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I’d left the oven idle for too long. Whenever I feel remotely stressed or glum, I reach for this recipe. This recipe has watched me grow. It’s held my hand through stress, through heartbreak; its watched me blossom from an unsure eighteen and ushered me into the unknown. Over the years, its become my hallelujah, hail mary, and reason to breathe when life decides to give it me a little too hard, to dig just a bit too deep. This is something I can always do right.

Today will be a better day.  On this Wednesday, I hope you’ll join me and give this recipe a shot. The balance of decadent chocolate and coarse salt will give you that extra push to make it to Friday.  Try and limit yourself to eating just one–I dare you.

Humpday Chocolate Cookies

Humpday Chocolate Cookies, egregiously adapted from Martha Stewart

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick butter
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup flour
1 and 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extra
2 eggs
12 oz. chocolate chips of your choice
Sea salt for garnish (we used some Parisian grey salt)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and the coarsely-chopped chocolate. Heat in 20 second spurts, stirring well until chocolate is almost completely combined. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.

Combine the sugars, eggs and vanilla extract in the bowl of standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a whisk, if your arm muscles can manage it) on low speed until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate until just combined, and then mix in dry ingredients. Once the flour mixture has incorporated, stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop a heaping tablespoon of the dough. Take care not to crowd the pan, as these puppies will expand. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops glisten and crack. Sprinkle with grey salt while cooling.  Note: you do not want these baked to a crisp. You’ll regret it.