"The problem with bacon is it's no longer exciting to see it paired with chocolate and peanut butter," mourned my friend Stefanie Gans, dining editor for Northern Virginia Magazine, a few days ago. "And that's sad." This is true. And also sad, I agree. But there's a silver lining: bacon and chocolate still taste good together—and they can be exciting when paired up with something spicy.

In the case of the new Bronco Buster cookie from Michael's Cookie Jar, that something spicy is plenty of chipotle powder. The cookie is a Rodeo season special—so it's only available through March 22 at the bakery's two locations—featuring candied bacon atop an oversized chocolate chip cookie that manages to remain soft and chewy even hours out of the oven. (As mentioned in this month's Food Lovers Guide to Houston, Michael's is well known for this sort of cookie witchcraft.)

Not to use an analogy that's too on the nose for this rodeo-inspired treat, but the savory bacon and subtle spice from the chipotle powder manage to keep the cookie from being overly sweet with the graceful force of a cutting horse keeping that one rogue calf away from the herd.

If you think my prose is a little too purple for a cookie, Michael's itself takes it one step further describing the Bronco Buster on its website thusly: "The flavors rush through your mouth like a stampede of wild horses. As your eyes roll back into your head you realize you have just tasted the best cookie this side of the Mason Dixon line."

I wouldn't go quite that far. But it's still a damn good cookie, and one that makes me appreciate bacon much more so than usual; bacon can still be a welcome ingredient in the right context, and with the right arrangement of ingredients. I think the Bronco Buster may even be good enough to make Gans rethink her stance on bacon and chocolate.

 

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