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MILK CHOCOLATE MAPLE BACON COOKIES

Makes 4 dozen

1 pound maple bacon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 maple sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup flaked sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
11.5 ounce bag milk chocolate chips

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until well browned and crispy. Transfer the toasted bacon to paper towels to drain and cool. Reserve the bacon grease in the skillet. Once the bacon has cooled, crumble or chop it into small chunks. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375˚ F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, ½ cup of the reserved bacon grease, brown sugar, maple sugar, baking soda, salt and maple extract until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating and scraping the bowl in between additions.

Mix In the flour, then the chocolate chips, and crumbled bacon. Scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets in 1 tablespoon mounds. Sprinkle the tops lightly with a bit of sea salt and maple sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden around the edges and the tops no longer look glossy.

Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.