Sunday, February 5, 2012

High Efficiency Snacking

Are you, like millions of Americans, wasting valuable time* when you snack?

Quit pussyfooting around.  Have the potato chips IN your cookies.

These cookies are perhaps the ultimate expression of a now well-established trend in both homemade and restaurant desserts to combine salty and sweet. They just take it to a whole new level of decadence.

Naturally, I'm thinking next time I should throw in some bacon.

Sophisticated Potato Chip Shortbread Cookies
Inspired by a post on Smitten Kitchen, which was in turn crediting this recipe from Emeril.  Both recommend (and give instructions for) dipping these in chocolate at the end, although I loved these just as they are.  Essentially a crunchier version of a Pecan Sandy, these are scrumptious and very adult, considering their simple ingredients.

For the cookies:
1 c. butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 c. flour
pinch of salt (optional - depends how salty your chips are)
1/2 c. chopped toasted pecans
1/2 c. crushed potato chips

For rolling:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Cover baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat, and set aside.

To crush your chips, just put them in a large plastic bag and smush them down with your fists for a bit.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine butter and sugar until fluffy and light.  Blend in vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour, salt if using, pecans and crushed chips. Blend these ingredients in at low speed, just until dough comes together.

Combine extra sugar and salt in a small bowl. Scoop dough out in rounded teaspoons, and roll into balls about the size of a golf ball.

Roll in the sugar mixture, then place onto the prepared baking sheet. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten gently to about 1/3 of an inch thick.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Cool and enjoy!

Click to print this recipe!

Old Fashion' Potato Chip Toffee Bit Cookies
On the opposite end of the spectrum, these are the quintessential, hot from the oven, chewy, buttery, full-of-stuff cookie, with the added element of crunch and a little twist with the Toffee Bits.  But I'm sure they'd be just as fantastic with the butterscotch chips in this recipe, chocolate chips, or dried fruit.  I got the idea after seeing this recipe, both apparently channeling the famous Compost Cookie recipe from Momofuku's Milk Bar.   The possibilities literally seem endless.

1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
scant 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. crushed potato chips
1 1/3 c. Heath Toffee Bits (or butterscotch chips, m&ms, chocolate chips, etc.)

sea salt, for sprinkling, optional

Preheat oven to 350, and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.

Cream butter and both sugars together with an electric mixer until light and creamy.  Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, and blend until smooth.   In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, then add to the cookie dough and blend in at low speed.  Add the potato chips and toffee bits, and blend slowly just until combined.

Scoop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets, allowing a couple of inches in between the cookies, as they will spread while baking.  Sprinkle each cookie with a few grains of sea salt, if desired.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown, tops are lightly browned, and cookies are slightly puffy in the middle.   Remove from the oven, and allow cookies to cool on the pans.  The centers will flatten out, creating that yummy chewy middle that makes this kind of cookie so tasty.   Once that's happened, you can move them to a cooling rack.

Click to print this recipe!

* And energy!  Think of all the bowls and platters you waste by putting out both kinds of treats for your guests.  Note that I'm generously assuming you wouldn't be snacking alone.

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