A surprise ingredient - bacon - completely transforms a traditional holiday cookie in a recipe a friend shared with us. These cookies make great gifts...if you can bear to part with them.
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Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, cream the vegetable shortening, bacon fat, and sugar. Add the egg and molasses, and beat until smooth.
Onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. Bring up the edges of the paper and tip the dry ingredients into the sugar and molasses mixture. Add the bacon bits. Mix the dough just until the ingredients are combined.
Pinch off a small ball of dough and roll it between your palms. If it is too sticky to roll, add just a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time. If the dough seems too dry, add a little milk, cold coffee, or water.
Put the Turbinado sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into balls roughly the size of walnuts.
Drop a few at a time into the bag to coat with sugar. Arrange on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.
Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass. If you can only fit one cookie sheet on your Traeger at one time, cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap and shape the cookies just before baking.
When ready to bake, set the temperature to 350F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Arrange the cookie sheet on the grill grate and bake the cookies until they have spread slightly, are nicely browned, and have cracked on top, about 10 minutes. Check on them after 8 minutes. With a spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.
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