Introduction: For the Love of Lays - Potato Chip Cookies

About: I'm an organic farmer and greenhouse builder in Iowa.
This delectable recipe was passed down from my late grandmother who was an absolute genius when it came to baked goodies. My mother has since taken on the role of cookie master, and I am currently in my fifth year of formal apprenticeship that will allow me (if I can withstand the intensity of the coursework) to become a cookie wizard myself.

Using all of nature's best ingredients, these tasty morsels blend sweet with salty to create a gloriously crunchy sensation on the tongue. The magnificent potato paired with humble walnuts and bold sugar dance gracefully with the elegant vanilla and boisterous butter (or marvelous margarine, depending on one's preference). 

Are they delicious? Absolutely!
Are they simple? No doubt!
Are they healthy? Well...

Step 1: Ingredients

In order to achieve cookie induced bliss, the following items are needed:

1 lb. butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups flour
2 cups crushed potato chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (feel free to use other nuts - let your creativity shine)
1 Tbs. vanilla
Confectioner's sugar

These amounts result in about 7-8 dozen bundles of joy.

Step 2: Just a Spoonful of Sugar (and a Pound of Butter)

Cream together the butter/margarine with the sugar using an electric mixer or do so by hand. It may be to your advantage to soften the butter/margarine before this step to ensure a pleasant texture. Once this mixture is beautifully creamy, it is now time to introduce the flour. This is best done with a gentle hand, adding it gradually with the mixer on a lower setting. Continue mixing until the flour is fully incorporated. Now, savor the aroma as you let a cascade of vanilla pour over the mixture.

Step 3: Chips and Nuts

Both the potato chips and walnuts must be chopped before they are added to the mixture. A food processor works very well for this. If you do not have one, an easy substitution is a rolling pin. Simply place the chips/nuts in a bag and crush them with the rolling pin. Feel free to try other techniques - hammers, heavy boots, etc. After they are thoroughly pulverized, the chips and nuts can be added to the mixture.


This is, by far, the most crucial step - please do not skip it. 

At this point, all of the ingredients except the confectioner's sugar should be in the mixture. It is time to remove the beaters and use a spatula to scrape them relatively clean. Now find a hungry, sweets-loving friend and have them lick the beaters/spoon and spatula. There are two benefits to this: 1) Your friend is happy, 2) You don't need to wash your beaters! ;) 

Step 5: Preheat and Cool Off

Now is a good time to ready the oven - preheat the oven to 325F. 

While it is not necessary to chill the dough, it does make the shaping process a little more pleasant. This step can fit into your schedule as you like, chilling as much or as little as is convenient. So go ahead, chill out while your dough does the same.

Step 6: Get Your Hands Dirty

Now is the fun part -- shaping the cookies.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and bask in its glory for a moment. When you feel ready, scoop out some dough and roll it between your hands to form balls that are slightly smaller than ping-pong balls. Place these on an ungreased baking sheet, giving them about 1.5 inches of wiggle room. 

Fill a bowl with ice water and find your favorite fork. Give the fork a bath in the water and then use the tines to compress the cookies lightly, until a desired thickness is reached. Make sure that they are thin enough to fit in your mouth or pocket, but thick enough to not slide under the fridge if dropped. Dip the fork in the water every so often to keep the dough from sticking to it.

Step 7: Get Baking!

Once your oven has reached the desired 325F, slide the baking sheets in and try to be patient. Don't worry, you will only have to wait for 10-15 minutes. They should be ever-so-lightly browned, emanating the sweetest smell imaginable. Carefully remove them from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Try to avoid drooling directly on the cookies.

Step 8: Beauty and Flavor

Do you remember that confectioner's sugar that was exiled to the very end of the ingredients list? Did you forget about it as it sat there, cold and alone, waiting to feel important? Well now it is its time to shine! Using a sifter, sugar shaker, or some nimble fingers, sprinkle a generous helping of the confectioner's sugar on each cookie until your wire rack looks like a beautiful winter landscape.

Step 9: Bon Appetit!

Now, the moment you have all been waiting for. You have seen these cookies since the very beginning. You can remember when they were nothing more than a few ingredients in a mixer. You watched them come together as a young dough. You used your gentle touch to form them as best as you knew how. Finally, you watched them grow and mature into respectable cookies capable of impressing even the most critical of cookie snobs. It's okay to shed a tear - you've put a lot of yourself into this. Enjoy them while you can because before you know it, they'll be gone.

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