Potato Chips…a little bit of comfort in every bag, at least for me. I’m not a big potato chip person, but there is a certain combination that I cannot pass up, especially when on vacation–Mountain Dew and Munchos! It’s like a perfect wine and food pairing. I always seem to snack on chips when on vacation (remember my beach crumbs http://wp.me/p57UhS-3U). Being on vacation frees up my inner child, and I give myself permission to enjoy some of the food choices from my childhood. For instance, walking in a mom and pop grocery store in a small town and finding a screwball ice cream; you know the one with the gumball at the bottom accompanied by a little wooden spoon? The flavors of childhood offer a small sense of security to me when I am enjoying them, like a taste of home.
The taste of home, a childhood home, that I can never revisit except for in my mind and in my food memories. Potato chips are one of those memories. My best childhood neighborhood friend (the one I got into the most mischief with) was Brad. He was the lucky recipient of the Charles Chips home delivery. Remember those tall yellow canisters? What a brilliant idea of the time, potato chip delivery to your doorstep!! I remember seeing the truck turning by our house (we lived on the corner) and me making a mad dash up the street. On fortunate days, I would already be on my bike when the yellow chariot was spotted and race the truck to Brad’s house, at times even beating the delivery man to the doorstep! I always wanted to be there when Brad’s mom opened the new canister for us. The smell was so fresh and delightful. I remember it like it was yesterday. Of course, the canister ended up with crumbs at the bottom, not from the careful packaging, but from our rummaging through the canister with wet pool hands! But through our messiness came deliciousness, because Brad’s mom always seemed to be making a batch of potato chip cookies for us.
Potato Chip Cookies: These are good for turning those crumbs at the bottom of a bag of chips that’s not enough for a snack into a snack to be shared. This recipe is easily made with “go to” supplies, on hand. Let’s get started:
Let 1 stick of butter (insert loud gasps!!) soften to room temperature. This will vary according to your room temperature, but usually 45 minutes to an hour. It is ready when you can make a small indentation with your finger in the butter.
Next, cream 1/4 cup of sugar (another loud gasp…remember these are old-fashioned!) with the butter. I like to stick with the old-fashioned way of beating it together with a wooden spoon, I like the workout it gives me and it’s a chance for me to use my new personalized spoon. (Thanks Muddy Creek Crafts) You could also use a stand mixer, but will just have more dishes to wash. Creaming the butter and sugar together fills the butter with air bubbles, the more bubbles the lighter and more crumbly the cookie will be. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Keep beating with the wooden spoon until the butter and sugar mixture increase in size and is a fluffy light yellow color. To me, it looks like a whipped lemon frosting. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 cup of flour. Mix in 1/4 cup crushed potato chips. This is the part we got to use our hands as kids to do the “mixing”.
When fully mixed, the dough can be dropped by teaspoons, rolled into a log and sliced, or rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes. (The rolled and sliced ones take a little longer, 15-18 minutes.) Keep in mind cookies will continue to bake a little more once removed from the oven, so keep a close eye on them. Set on a cooling rack. Let cool. Serve cookies as is or dip one end of the cookie into melted chocolate and let cool. These cookies taste like a mixture of a shortbread and a sugar cookie. These cookies are also about the only cookie my hubby will eat. He doesn’t like too many sweet things, but he loves sweet and salty snacks. So if you have a sweet and salty craving, bake up a batch. This recipes makes about 1 1/2 dozen and can easily be doubled.
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: What is your favorite potato chip? How would that chip change the cookie flavor? What other nuts? Cheese chips and peanuts make a different cookie. Substitute the vanilla for another extract, almond is a good one, or even a liqueur. Baking for a holiday? Add a little food coloring to the dough and have festive cookies for any occasion. What other kind of chip or snack could you use? Pretzels are another tasty choice.
FOOD FUN: Does this yellow canister bring back any memories for you? In 1942, a woman named Effie Musser began selling her chips at the Central Market (her hubby was a farmer) in Penn Square, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (In fact, it is still in operation today and is the oldest farmers’ market.) The chips became so popular she couldn’t keep up with the demand and she needed some assistance. She started selling the chips in bulk to a distributer in Maryland. He created the canisters to safely transport the chips and named the chips Charles Chips after Charles St. in downtown Baltimore. The chips have taken many turns over the years. Today, a new company is revamping the chips of yesterday, so that childhood memory of those light and airy chips can be found. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when something old is new again. A snackable fountain of youth!