My grandmother just celebrated her 100th birthday! My favorite cookie of hers? Potato chip. Potato chips in a cookie? What?! She was ahead of her time. And still is. Let me rewind…
Genes run long on my mom’s side of the family. My grandfather and great-grandmother almost made it to 100. But my grandmother — alive and kicking and sharp as a tack. One. Hundred. Years! Just image what she’s witnessed in her life. Electricity, indoor plumbing, commercial airlines, and too many wars. Plus the internet, mobile phones and a World Series win by the Chicago Cubs, her favorite baseball team.
Being a second-generation Pole raised on a farm in Wisconsin (Her father grew Potatoes and made Prohibition moonshine among other things — you do what you have to to feed your family…), she was famous amongst our family for many Polish dishes. Things like traditional pierogi, blintzes, and even blood sausage from their pigs and oxtail soup. After moving to Chicago, for many years she made dozens of batches of cookies to give to her friends and family during the holidays. She would also mail me boxes of cookies when I was in college. Lucky me.
Her pressed almond spritz cookies and ginger snaps were favorites with my siblings and cousins. But for me, her potato chip cookies were the standouts. As I said, she was ahead of her time. And still is. An avid Chicago Cubs baseball fan, she memorizes players’ stats to keep her memory sharp. This was long before the popularity of Sudoku. And who needs Sudoku when you have the Cubs?
Potato chip cookies are a sweet/salty swing. Sweet from the shortbread base, and salty from the potato chips. Unassuming at first, but then you’ll find yourself reaching for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th… Yum.
Here’s the recipe:
Grandma Lehman’s Potato Chip Cookies
- 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled (250 grams)
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for flattening cookies
- 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts work well)
- 1 cup regular flavored potato chips, divided (1/2 cup lightly crushed for the batter. The other 1/2 cup finely crushed to roll the cookie dough balls in (see step 6).
- Plain flavored regular, ruffled or kettle style potato chips all work well. Don’t use baked, popped, or wacky flavored potato chips (dill pickle, jalapeño, BBQ, etc.) or results will disappoint or surprise you – and not in the good way.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon real maple syrup or 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and maple syrup (if using) on medium speed with a handheld or stand mixer for 2-3 minutes.
- On low speed, add flour until batter just comes together and is well mixed.
- On low speed, add in nuts and 1/2 cup lightly crushed potato chips just until incorporated.
- Form into small balls using about 1 tablespoon dough for each cookie. (I use an ice cream scoop for speed and accuracy).
- Roll cookie balls in finely crushed remaining 1/2 cup potato chips.
- Place cookie dough balls on parchment-lined or ungreased baking sheet.
- Press ball flat with bottom of drinking glass dipped in sugar. (Tip: Save the wrapper from your butter to grease the bottom of your glass. This will help the sugar stick for your first cookie).
- Bake at 350F for 12 – 14 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet to let the cookies set. Stored in airtight container, these stay fresh for up to 5 days.