Monday, February 28, 2011

Potato Chip Cookies

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – Christmas 2008
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published by Taste of Home.

For those that don’t know me very well, I LOVE LOVE LOVE making Christmas cookies.  At one point, I was making almost 20 different kinds for the holiday season.  When money got tight, I had to seriously pare down that list and this cookie was one of the ones that made the cut.  Of course, you can enjoy this delicious cookie year round.  It is also one of those cookies you can make and bake, refrigerate, or freeze to use at a later date.

See how much fun it is to rhyme?  I do it all the time.  hahahahaha… <clears throat> ahem.

I didn’t change the recipe.  Instead, what I did for this post is give you some help on how to streamline your cookie baking and keep cookies and batter around for future baking dates.

My finished product:

Picture published with recipe:

© Taste of Home

Now, baking is not my strong suit.  I’m much better at cooking, so you can see that it isn’t too hard to make a batch of these cookies and have them look pretty.  My cookies may be a little more “golden brown” than theirs, but they still look very pretty and of course they taste great.  Let me tell you, it is a special gift to be able to get cookies that have that perfect look.  Don’t beat yourself up if you get a batch or two that doesn’t turn out as pretty as the others.  In fact, when I bake, I will hand pick out which cookies and baked goods will be given away.  My husband is given a very specific directive to stay away from the freshly baked goodies until I tell him which ones he can eat.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessNADA – look for the shortening in bars so you don’t have to worry about scooping it out of a container.  Most of the mess is contained in a single mixing bowl and the batter is solid, so there are no drips to get all over your cabinets and countertops.

Start-to-Finish Time: A LITTLE OVER AN HOUR – if you choose to make the entire batch of cookie dough.  If you only need/want to cook a single baking sheet of cookies, you can definitely get it done in a lot less time.

Prep Work: ALL FINGERS STILL HERE – Yes, you have to crush the potato chips, but it doesn’t take any talent to do this.  In fact, give your three-year-old the sealed bag to crush and he/she will take care of it in no time.  Everything else is dumped into the bowl of a stand mixer and you’re done with your batter.

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – most of us have made drop cookies with our parents by the time we were out of grade school.  Of course, you do it on your own in middle school home economics.  Other than the butterscotch chips, you probably have all the ingredients in your cabinet.

OverallSORRY HONEY, NO LEFTOVERS – I make a lot of Christmas cookies that are very tasty, but aren’t my favorites.  They are usually requests from my family or cookie recipients.  This is a cookie that I make purely for my own enjoyment and don’t care less if anyone else likes them.  That’s the beauty of being the Christmas baker.  I’ve made this cookie for the past 2 years, including making my short list, and it will continue to be a staple throughout the year and at Christmas time.

Recipe Information:
Time estimates are from the original publisher of the recipe, not the length of time it took me to create it.  Look for my comments below.  Nutritional Information is based on original recipe.  Any changes I make to reduce the caloric, fat, cholesterol or sodium content are not reflected in the Nutritional Information.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes/batch
Servings: 48

Nutritional Information (1 cookie)
  • Calories 123
  • Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 3g)
  • Cholesterol 9mg
  • Sodium 48mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 15g
  • Fiber 0g
  • Protein 1g

It doesn’t take much time to make the dough, so you should be able to get it finished in the 15 minutes given.  The bake time really depends on your oven.  I always say to set a timer to go off a couple minutes before and watch them closely.  Until you know how long it takes to get the perfect cookie out of your oven, DO NOT walk away.  Keep in mind that the first batch may take a little longer because the oven may not be at its optimal heat.  You may need later batches out after a shorter period of time, so pay attention.

The number of servings for cookies is usually an estimate.  Sometimes I end up with more, sometimes with less.  Don’t cut it too close unless you’ve made them before.  If you need exactly 48 cookies, you might be better off making two batches of them.  You can be precise by breaking up your cookie batter into equal servings, but if you’re in a hurry, that may be too tedious.

The nutritional information didn’t change because I didn’t substitute any ingredients.  There are ways to cut down the numbers, but I usually enjoy the indulgence at Christmas time.  If anyone has a way to slim this down, please post in the comments and I’ll give them a whirl.

Changes denoted by red text

1 cup butter-flavored shortening
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups crushed potato chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Ingredient Notes:
Butter-flavored shortening – search for the bars of shortening so you don’t have to scoop and measure out of a tub.  It is much easier to cut from a bar like you do butter.  Make sure you get the butter-flavored shortening because you’ll notice there isn’t any butter in this dish.

Flour – one thing I’ve learned about baking that has made my life MUCH easier, is that you should not scoop your flour out with your measuring cups.  Instead, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then level it off.  Scooping with the cup will cause the flour to pack down and you may end up with more than you actually need.

Potato Chips
  • I used regular potato chips.  Can you use baked?  Perhaps, but the texture (and oil content), and salt-taste is significantly different.  It could work, but you may not be as happy with the crispness of the cookies.
  • To get the two cups of crushed chips: measure approximately 4 heaping cups of un-crushed chips in a large measuring cup.  Crush and re-measure.  Add more if needed.

Equipment Needed:
Large plastic bag
Stand mixer / Hand mixer
Large bowl (if not using stand mixer)
Medium bowl - mixing dry ingredients
Spoon - mixing
Baking sheets
Flexible spatula
Wire racks

Equipment Notes:
Large plastic re-sealable bag – I have found this is the easiest way to crush the potato chips.  You won’t need a rolling pin since potato chips are easily crushed with your hands.

Baking Sheets – I like to have at least 3 baking sheets on hand when I’m making cookies:
  • One is cooking in the center of the oven
  • The second is prepared with the raw cookie dough to go into the oven.
  • The third is cooling after the cookies have been removed.
You can function with two cookie sheets, but remember you need to completely cool the sheet down prior to putting any raw cookie dough on it.  In a pinch?  Run the pan under cold water on the back side and dry thoroughly.

Flexible Spatula – you can use a regular spatula, but if you can find an inexpensive flexible spatula, I would highly recommend using that.  They are meant for delicate things like baked goods, eggs and fish.

Wire Racks – wire / cooling racks are a necessity since they allow the heat and steam to escape from the cookies evenly and from all areas.  If they are left in the pan they are baked in, the steam and heat has nowhere to go but back into the cookie, which could make them soggy.  Also, it helps them to cool faster, which is kinda nice.

(1)  In a stand mixer, cream shortening and sugars until light and fluffy.

Do you need a stand mixer?  No, but it definitely makes things easier.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, you will need to have a hand mixer and a large bowl.  It is almost impossible to cream shortening and sugar by hand.

(2)  Beat in eggs.

(3)  In a mixing bowl, combine flour and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

(4)  Stir in potato chips and butterscotch chips.

(5)  Drop by tablespoonfuls 2" apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks.

When I make my Christmas cookies, often I’ll make all of the batter one day and bake the cookies as I have the time.  Of course, these cookies are great year round, but they do refrigerate and freeze well for later baking.  Here are some suggestions:
  • To refrigerate: Place the dough in a re-sealable bag and place it in the fridge.  To use, simply scoop out the tablespoons from the bag and place on the baking sheet.  You can let it come to room temperature if it is easier to manipulate the dough, but it is not necessary.
  • To freeze: DO NOT place the lump of dough in the freezer.  It will take forever for the dough to dethaw so that you can break it into cookie-sized pieces.  Instead, scoop out the tablespoons on to a baking sheet (don’t worry about spacing since you’re not going to cook them, just make sure they are not stuck together) and slide into the freezer until they are frozen solid.  Write the name of the cookie and date the batter was prepared on a re-sealable freezer bag, and when the cookies are frozen solid, place the frozen mounds inside & place back in the freezer for later use.  Try to get as much air out of the bag as possible because they will last longer.  To use: place the frozen pieces on to the baking sheet as originally instructed.  Bake at the same temperature, but give it more cooking time, usually at least 2-3 minutes more.
  • When storing your baked cookies: Make sure they are completely cool before moving them to a closed container.  You don’t want the heat and steam to build up and make your cookies soggy.

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