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I've written about Chocolate Covered Potato Chips for this column, but my first introduction to chocolate + potato chips came in the form of Potato Chip cookies. When Dad bought our family 101 Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies by Gwen W. Steege, my younger brother commandeered the book and insisted on making the potato chip cookies. This was sometime in the mid-to-late 90s. Sweet and salty desserts weren't nearly as mainstream as they are today. I thought 1) my brother was crazy and 2) potato chip cookies were some sort of nouveau cookie addition. I couldn't have been more wrong on both counts.
I suppose if I thought about it harder, I shouldn't have been so skeptical that potato chip cookies would be a winner. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say potato chips are an ideal addition to chocolate chip cookies, especially for those of us that love a touch of savory with our sweets. Soft, chewy, melty and gooey chocolate chip cookies get a nice salty crunch from crushed potato chips.
I was recently surprised to discover that potato chips have been making an appearance in cookies as far back as post WWII. The Food Timeline dates the earliest print appearance of potato chip cookies in the Freeport Journal-Standard in 1946. This recipe included butterscotch pudding mix while later recipes added everything from chocolate chips to nuts to coconut. The Food Timeline reports that there was a boom in potato chip cookie recipes in the 60s after "the Potato Chip Institute International began sponsoring an annual Men's National Cooking Championship with one mandatory ingredient." Today you can find potato chips taking a bow in cookies at many bakeries like Momofuku Milk Bar, where they are one of the many components of their signature "Compost Cookies." Whatever form they take, I'll never doubt the deliciousness of potato chips in cookies again.
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Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."
About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.