Due to popular demand, I am now revealing my new Pancetta Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Actually, I only had one vote on the matter in my last post, and it was from a fellow cookie-lover, Jenn from Cinnamon Quill. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, or if you just love chocolate, please go straight to her vegan World Peace Cookie Recipe which looks amazing. If you're really into pancetta, stick around for this post or see my recipe for Pasta Carbonara or Pancetta-wrapped Scallops.
As you can probably guess, I'm on a bit of a pancetta kick. While the rest of Portland is devouring bacon by the pound, I'm getting into the more subtle flavor that pancetta lends to a recipe. For something more intense, check out Pete's Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. He candies the bacon before using. I went a different route with this recipe. I left the pancetta uncooked. Half of it I whipped into the butter to infuse the pancetta flavor throughout the batter. The other half of the pancetta goes in with the chocolate chips at the end. The result is a soft, subtle, and almost savory cookie.
A note about softness and texture: it took me a while to develop the right technique for making cookies come out really soft and stay that way after cooling. There are three tricks to employ if softness is your goal. Firstly, when softening your butter let it get so warm that a little bit of it starts to melt. This is a good temperature to whip it at, and will help the sugar integrate into the butter. Second, whip the butter until it's extremely fluffy. This can take quite a while; be patient and persistent. Keep checking the texture until it's just right. The sugar shouldn't have a granulated texture anymore, but should melt into the butter a bit. Thirdly, don't cook them too long. The cookies should just be browned around the edges but with a soft center.
Pancetta Chocolate Chip Cookies
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Blend together in a small bowl:
1 1/4 Cups Gluten-free Deluxe Pastry Flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
(add: 1/8 tsp xanthan gum if your gluten-free flour mix doesn't have it already)
In a large bowl, beat until very fluffy, about 7 minutes:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup bakers sugar, or up to a 50:50 ratio of brown and granulated sugar
4 thin slices pancetta, cut into pieces (about 1.5 oz)
When optimal fluffiness is achieved, add in:
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat until smooth. Add in your flour mixture and stir until well-combined. Stir in:
4 more thin slices of pancetta, cut into pieces (about 1.5 oz)
1/2 cup high-quality dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
Drop the dough onto a cookie sheet in rounded lumps. I use about 2 Tbsp of dough per cookie. Space them two inches apart. Cook one sheet at a time for 8 minutes, or until they are done on the outer edge and still doughy in the center. Serve warm when possible.