Bake the Book: Bacon Fat Gingersnaps

[Photograph: Evan Sung]

Proving that inspiration comes from the most interesting places, this recipe comes to Cookfight from New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn. They are apparently a Swedish-American tradition from her hometown in Ohio. Traditional or not, they are a truly intriguing cookie, with a smoky sweetness that separates them from your standard 'snap.

Tips: The book gives no instructions as to appropriating the 3/4 cup of bacon fat necessary for the recipe. Thankfully, this is Serious Eats, and we specialize in explanation.

Cut your strips (or slab, preferably) into 1-inch pieces, which will expose more surface area to heat and cut down on the chance of burning. Put the pieces in a heavy-bottomed pot or pan that allows them to sit in an even layer. Keep the heat low, cranking up to medium at most. Lower heat if the pieces start popping or browning too quickly. Once most of the fat has melted away, use tongs or a slotted spoon to scoop the crumbly brown meaty bits out of the pan. If bits remain in fat, run through a sieve.

Tweaks: If you want to branch out from molasses (we won't fault you, even though it is traditional) using Lyle's Golden Syrup is a suggested substitution. You can find it at specialty shops or online.

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As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Cookfight to give away.

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