Share the Salty, Sweet Love
I learned early on that baked goods will get you very far in life; and I don’t just mean some serious credit at the school bake sale. As a child I watched my mom barter her baking skills with other people’s talents in the neighborhood. A few batches of freshly baked rolls every now and then and the next-door neighbor would stop by our driveway first on his way out to plow snow. When our elementary school needed volunteers to bring snacks for a holiday party or the carnival cake walk, I could always count on my mom to bake up something unique (and let’s face it, better) than the standard store-bought, fluorescently frosted cupcakes or cereal-n-marshmallow crème slabs. A batch of biscotti was the standard gift for birthdays, customized for the recipient’s favorite flavors. (I’m pretty sure these gestures might have also landed her a couple of catering gigs.)
Here’s the idea at the center of all of this: if you put good will out into the world you invite goodwill to come back to you. Karma at its finest – in cookie form. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, what do you give the person who has everything? Or someone you don’t know very well, but want to give a hand-crafted gift? The answer to this, as to most quandaries, might just be cookies! The stomach is the window to the heart, and what better way to show someone you love (or like) than giving them a treat you made yourself? (If you are not typically a baker, the gesture alone can get you serious credit.)
In this day and age, the elementary school bake sale is essentially non-existent. Most schools have a policy against home baked treats to protect children against allergens and food safety mishaps. We are all about keeping children safe and taking allergens seriously – that’s a no-brainer. But I can’t help be a little bit sad that packaged foods have become the norm in schools instead of your own parent’s cookies. If us kids were allowed to help make the treats, sure, they may have been slightly deformed or some of them may have tasted like Play-Doh smells, but at least we knew exactly what went in them. Try reading the list of ingredients on mass-produced store-bought brownies, or those “conversation” hearts that seem punched out of dry wall paste. Some ingredients are unpronounceable or have mysterious acronyms “to preserve flavor.” Hmm, I’d rather preserve the homemade fun.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, Trenton has already cut hearts out of construction paper and addressed them to his second grade classmates (homemade cards are the best!). But the most important part of sharing the love and goodwill of the day appears to be the treat attached to the card. Lucky for us we’ve got the next best thing to homemade edibles: the single serving-sized bags of Luke’s Organic Sea Salt Potato Chips, Cheddar Clouds and Lightning Bolts. They are sure to delight everyone in his class, from his best friend to that special someone he is too shy to talk to. (Lightning Bolts, anyone?)
For neighbors, friends and family, we decided to combine our favorite things: Luke’s Organic potato chips and cookies! Potato chip cookies are not a new thing. For many of us, they are a throwback to something Grandma used to make with the leftover crumbs at the bottom of the bag. But now the savory/sweet, chewy/crunchy trend is in full swing. Think sea salt caramels, dark chocolate with chili peppers, and chocolate covered potato chips. Yes, mm hmm, and bring-it!
Luke’s Organic Chip n Chip Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter or vegan substitute, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, or vegan substitute
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. gluten free flour
- 1 cup organic dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup crushed Luke’s Organic potato chips (any flavor – even the BBQ!)
Using a mixer, cream butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Add egg and vanilla and beat again until well combined. Add gluten free flour in two batches and mix again. Stir in chocolate chips, cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours (or overnight). Chilling the dough helps the cookies keep their shape while baking, rather than falling flat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prior to baking, mix in crushed potato chips and scoop dough out into rounded tablespoons. Roll them into balls (and maybe even roll em around in a bowl of more crushed potato chips? Whaa?); place them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Leftover cookies (I have never experienced this phenomenon before, but I am told it is possible) can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.
Beware skeptics; you will be won over as soon as the first cookie hits your lips. The sweet and chewy dough studded with dark chocolate and a salty crunch provides a treat that transcends ordinary cookies. They’re the perfect way to secure some love and good graces with family, coworkers, or neighbors (you know, the ones with the pool in their back yard? You’ll want to be BFF’s before summer rolls around.)