This 1940s trick to save butter recommends using bacon drippings to make bacon grease cookies. I put the old-fashioned method to the test!
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Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
The best kitchen tip from generations of grandmas is to save your bacon grease. Those drippings can be used for so many things: to pan-fry potatoes, make salad dressing, add flavor to cornbread and, surprisingly, to make a batch of bacon grease cookies.
What are bacon grease cookies?
Cookie dough needs fat in the mixture to create a soft and tender texture. The fat is usually butter or shortening. But during and after World War II when butter was strictly rationed, home cooks saved fat drippings from bacon and other meats and used the drippings to replace some of the butter in baked goods.
Because bacon grease isn’t flavorless, using too much can give baked goods a bit of a pork flavor. 1940s recipes note that the savoriness is less noticeable when used in chocolate or spiced baked goods. I also found that grease from sweeter, maple-flavored bacon is better for cookies than smoked bacon.
With the right kind of bacon grease, I was ready to put this frugal recipe idea to the test.
How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bacon Grease
This recipe includes saved grease from maple bacon that’s been chilled to firm it up to a shortening-like consistency. One pound of baked bacon yields 1/4 cup of grease. The dough has a touch of cinnamon which tastes nice with the chocolate chips and helps make savory flavors more subtle. The recipe makes about 32 cookies.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Put the softened butter, chilled maple bacon grease, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the ingredients together at medium-high speed for 3 minutes. This is how to cream butter and sugar for best results!
Step 2: Add the eggs and vanilla
Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl, and beat the mixture on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
Step 3: Add the dry ingredients
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add this mixture to the egg and butter mixture; run the mixer on low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Scoop and bake
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
Once the dough is chilled, use a cookie scoop or a spoon to scoop a rounded tablespoonful of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each scoop.
Bake the cookies for 14-15 minutes, until the edges are brown and the tops have some color, too. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack, and repeat the steps to scoop and bake the rest of the dough.
Step 4: Let the cookies cool, then enjoy
Nancy Mock for Taste of Home
I find that the cookies taste best when completely cooled. Store the cookies in an airtight container with a piece of bread or a brown sugar saver to keep them soft. They’ll keep well for 5 days.
Here’s What I Thought
The cookies were soft and delicious (who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie) but they did surprise me! I assumed that bacon grease would give the cookies some bacon flavor. In reality, the bacon grease imparts a hard-to-pin-down, subtle savoriness to the cookies. My friends who tried them loved them, especially the touch of cinnamon. They knew something was different about the cookies, but never guessed that the secret ingredient was bacon drippings!
The amount of bacon grease you use is important. Through trial and error (and a few batches of inedible cookies) I found it best to replace only a quarter of the butter in the recipe with bacon grease—more than that gave the cookies too much pork flavor. I also found that maple-flavored bacon drippings are the best choice for cookies because grease from hardwood-smoked bacon made my cookies way too smoky-tasting and salty.
The takeaway from all of this is that using a small amount of bacon grease in chocolate chip cookies is a great way to use bacon drippings and help conserve your butter. But if you’re hoping for bacon-flavored cookies, add crumbled pieces of bacon to the dough!
I wanted to put a spin on the traditional chocolate chip cookie, and who doesn't love cinnamon? Depending on what you use to drop your cookies, the serving quantity may change. —Cassie Colosimo, Reading, Pennsylvania. Looking for variations? Learn to make a giant chocolate chip pizookie.
Bake up the ultimate shareable cookie. For variety, replace the chocolate chips with an equal quantity of M&M's or chocolate chunks. Or go super fancy by mixing the chocolate chips and pecans into the dough, then gently folding in 1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Culinary Editor
My four grandsons started attending "Grandma's cooking school" when they were as young as 4. These easy monster cookies are a favorite of the youngest. He has fun making them and is always delighted with the results, as is the rest of the family. —Helen Hilbert, Liverpool, New York
Here's a new type of chocolate chip cookie. They're great for coconut lovers, textured by the coconut and flavored by the extract...a compatible combination that results in a crispy, chewy cookie. My whole family agrees this recipe is a winner. —Laura Bankard, Manchester, Maryland
These cookies are the next best thing to a good old-fashioned malted milk. With malted milk powder, chocolate syrup, and chocolate chips and chunks, these are the best cookies I've ever tasted…and with six kids, I've made a lot of cookies over the years! —Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan
This cookie recipe—a favorite of our four children—has been in my collection for years. Sometimes I'll substitute mint-flavored chips for the semisweet chocolate chips. Either way, the chocolate cookies disappear quickly. This is one of our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes. —Sheri Ziesemer, Olympia, Washington
Craving a childhood classic? These sugar-free chocolate chip cookies will bring you all the comfort and joy you remember. Savor the crisp, lightly browned edges or dunk in a tall glass of cold milk. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
My aunt gave me this recipe, and my family thinks these cookies are delicious. We enjoy all kinds of cookies and with this recipe, we can combine three of our favorites—oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chip—in one! —Jaymie Noble, Kalamazoo, Michigan
DoubleTree shared its secret recipe, and I had to test them. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, with the perfect ratio of walnuts and chocolate chips, these cookies checked every box on our scorecard. —Tiffany Dahle, Charlotte, North Caroline
Go to Recipe
You get the best of both worlds with these chocolate and vanilla cookies. They're an appealing addition to any cookie tray. I usually serve them at the holidays, when they're often the first cookies to disappear, but you can have them any time of year. —Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta
The smell of peanut butter and chocolate always brings my cookie-hungry family running to the kitchen. The recipe is so quick and easy, I often stir up a batch while making dinner. —Pat Doerflinger, Centerview, Missouri
My husband's family has been passing down sourdough recipes for over 100 years. They brought them from Europe and added some American jazz over the years. Our family always has these sourdough chocolate chip cookies at Christmastime. —Lisa Raymond, St. Joseph, Illinois
I love using zucchini in the summertime. This chocolate chip cookie recipe reminds me of a zucchini bread my aunt makes, but I wanted to make cookies for a family get-together because they would be easier to grab and eat. These taste better if you make them the day before. —Melissa Obernesser, Oriskany, New York
Capture the taste of campfire s'mores in your kitchen. Graham cracker crumbs added to chocolate chip cookie dough bring out the flavor of the fireside favorite. Melting the cookies' marshmallow centers in the microwave makes them simple to assemble. —Abby Metzger, Larchwood, Iowa
My take on the classic chocolate chip cookie is inspired by a bakery in California called Hungry Bear. It's big, thick and chewy—truly the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. —Irene Yeh, Mequon, Wisconsin
My mother used to make this easy 10-cup cookie recipe for my sisters and me. You could find one of our favorite ingredients in every bite, whether it was chocolate, coconut, raisins or nuts. —Tracy Powers, Byron Center, Michigan
I wanted to make a different type of chocolate chip cookies for the holidays. Since my mom's thumbprints are what I look forward to most, I decided to combine the two. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
I’m from Ohio, and we love our buckeye candy! Buckeyes are a delicious combination of peanut butter and chocolate, which is exactly what this cookie is. All you need is a box of cake mix, a few common pantry ingredients, and voila—you have a tasty dessert ready for family and friends in under an hour. You can customize it, too, by substituting other mix-ins for the chocolate chips. We serve it warm with ice cream or whipped cream. —Arianna Harding, Cincinnati, Ohio
As a competitive figure skater, I need high-energy snacks to keep me going. These cookies are loaded with nuts, chips and fabulous flavor. Coaches at my skating rink are always sneaking two or three when I bring them in! —Cassandra Brzycki, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a Taste of Home Community Cook and a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.