Chocolate is so overdone when it comes to romance, don’t you think? Well, okay, maybe not. But this Valentine’s Day I was looking for something just a little “out there.” A surprise for my sweetie with all his manly favorites—cheddar cheese, bacon and sugar.  

I know this sounds like an unlikely combination, but I must say (And I’m the vegetarian, remember?), these little unconventional thumbprints won Don’s heart as they disappeared right off his plate. The trick is not to treat them like a cookie but more like a savory pastry. Then that sugary pop in the center creates wonderful balance and contrast against the salty bacon and rich cheese. The back-of-the-bite bit of heat coming off the jalapeños just romanced the pants off him! (TMI, sorry.) 

These little crumbly delights—which I have nicknamed “The Man Cookie”–are also quite local: Jalapeño jelly curtsey of The Family Garden in New Douglas, IL; bacon compliments of Papa’s Pasture in Staunton, IL, and Hatch Pepper Cheddar Cheese from Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, IL. Love it when it’s local! 

So before the romance slips entirely away this month, I suggest you whip up a batch of these easy, cheesy Man Cookies for your valentine…even if she’s not a man. 


About the bacon 

When I started planning this unusual cookie, I decided I’d fry up a pound of bacon on my griddle to a really crispy finish and break off the best crumbles—the pieces that were not fatty and could be crushed—to set aside. You are looking for what would resemble the product “Bacos,” if that rings a bell, which really it shouldn’t for anyone trying to eat a semi-healthy, real-food diet.

Don had little trouble deciding what to do with the rest of the bacon, but he did have trouble leaving my super-crunchy crumbles alone. So guard your bacon crumbles! 

Is this Dessert? 

Well, it can be. But when I sampled one—and I did, vegetarian that I am—I realized I’d be much more likely to put them out as a special treat on a brunch buffet. They really do have a nice flavor balance, and sitting alongside some scrambled southwest eggs and a steamy cup of coffee, I’m sure they’d fit right in. 

If you make some, share how you served them!