Thursday, March 11, 2010

guest post: potato chip cookies

I'm very excited to introduce a fantastic guest post (and a fantastic recipe), straight from our nation's Corn Belt. In addition to authoring brilliant debut novels, Jambo moonlights as a master cookie decorator at a neighborhood bakery. Here she brings us a more humble, but no less delicious breed of cookie.


Let me start by saying that these cookies won first place at the Iowa State Fair. No sub-categories about it. Not: "novelty" cookie. Not "variation on the basic theme of chocolate chip" cookie. Not: "not like your Grandma ever made" cookie. Not "taking low-brow and making it cool" cookies. Best overall. That's huge.

I thought I knew what it meant to win at the Iowa State Fair—just from reading the web traffic—but I didn't really know until I went.

Let me tell you what happened to me at the Iowa State Fair: I witnessed a mullet competition. I witnessed a llama competition. I witnessed a man eat an entire funnel cake in two bites. I received a tiny paper cup from a tiny old lady ladling samples of ostrich stew. I saw a lot of anti-Barack T-shirts. I circled back to the old lady for another go-round. I tried to get a deep-fried Twinkie and got an electrical fire instead. The place is totally intense. But not as intense as these cookies.

What makes them so good? The old yin-yang of sweet and salty, for starters. The slight crunch of chip-shards yields a mouth-feel that is mildly perilous and totally exciting. Put in plenty of potato chips, and don't grind them too small. You want to confront them. Don't shy away. I must confess: I've never tried Ruffles. Or Fritos. Both would be daring new frontiers. I have tried peanut butter chips, and didn't regret it.

I brought them to the big city to justify my arrival. I brought them to my lovely host, known here as Mock Turtle, because I like to bring her everything wonderful I encounter. We used to share an apartment. Now we just share a kindred-ness of spirit that refuses to recognize state boundaries.

Potato Chip Cookies
Adapted from the Iowa State Fair Cookbook

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups crushed potato chips
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugars [LOVE it whenever sugar is plural] together, using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Gently stir in the potato chips and chocolate chips.

Drop the dough (tablespoon size) about 2 inches apart, on ungreased sheets, for 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to wire rack after another 2 minutes on the sheet.