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Spud Sunday: Social Spuds

Dunno about you, but I avoided Pinterest [1] for the longest time.

Not because it didn’t look good – quite the reverse, in fact. A world of virtual pin boards, teeming with pretty pictures and inspiring visuals, covering almost any subject you care to mention, Pinterest had (and has) a lot going for it in the looks department. No, I figured, you see, that I couldn’t afford to become seduced by another social network, that I should be strong in the face of its visual charm, that I should, in a word, resist, but resistance – as any reader of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [2] will know – is useless.

This is especially true of Pinterest, with its image-based format so supremely suited to the short attention span of the average netizen. Once I had succumbed – for succumb I did – blog posts became the stuff of potatoey pin boards, making years of spudly content visible at a single glance and demonstrating that it was the waiting that had, in fact, been useless.

Now, like any good convert, I have, of course, discovered that the world is full of pinners, like Hannah of Kitchen Alchemy [3] – a self-described visually greedy magpie – and one of many participating in Pinterest’s UK launch [4] (as am I, except that I’m not, technically, in the UK, but, eh, I won’t tell them if you don’t). Neither will I tell you to become a pinner yourself [1], though it might, as when offered the cookies below, be useless to resist.

Choc Chip & Peanut Butter Cookies w/ Potato Crisps

On a great many occasions over the lifetime of this blog, my attention has been drawn to cookie recipes having, as an ingredient, potato crisps (or potato chips, for the U.S-inclined). It was last week’s encounter with Tayto cheese & onion chocolate [5], however, that finally moved me to give the combination a whirl. If nothing else, I hope that the results below prove that putting crisps and chocolate together is not all bad – far from it, in fact.

Chocolate chip peanut butter cookies with potato crisps [6]

The ingredients used pay homage to that trifecta of childhood treats: the packet of crisps, the bag of peanuts and the bar of Dairy Milk; with crushed, salted crisps, crunchy peanut butter and little chunks of chocolate, this is the cookie that binds them all. (I will also state, for the record, that, try as I might to hold on to the Irish term ‘biscuits’ for describing such a treat, I will grant that anything containing chocolate chips demands to be called a cookie, no matter what side of the Atlantic you’re on).

The effect of the crisps is, of course, to add a bit of crunch and saltiness – no cheese & onion flavour here, thanks very much – and, with the amount I’ve added, it’s relatively subtle in effect (no doubt, in time, I will play around with amounts). As for the peanut butter, I used a brand with no added sugar – if yours has sugar added, you may like to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. For the chocolate, use dark or milk chocolate according to your preference – just make sure to use a chocolate that you like.

The Summary:

  • Makes around 30 cookies & takes approx. 20 min to prep + 10 min to bake each batch

You’ll need:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 50g crunchy peanut butter
  • 100g light muscovado sugar (or other light brown sugar)
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 tblsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp fine salt
  • 30g dark or milk chocolate (either use chocolate chips or a piece of chocolate bar, finely chopped)
  • 50g salted crisps, crushed (with some extra for sprinkling, if desired)

You’ll also need:

  • One or more large baking trays (mine was around 30cm x 40cm).

The Steps:

  • Preheat your oven to 180C and grease your baking tray or line with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract and beat well.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, then fold the flour gently into the butter and sugar mixture and stir in the chocolate pieces and crushed crisps.
  • Scoop tablespoons of the mixture onto your baking tray, leaving 4-5cm between scoops, as they will spread. Dot with a few additional crushed crisps if you like (or not, if you prefer to keep it stealthy). This amount is enough for at least 2 large trays-worth.
  • Bake for around 5 minutes – ideally, one tray at a time in the middle of your oven – then turn the tray around (and swap shelves if baking 2 trays at the same time) and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until the cookies are starting to brown at the edges.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for a couple of minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. I’m guessing that you’ll know what to do with them after that.

The Variations:

  • Of course you can make these bigger or smaller according to your taste and, by all means, leave out the crisps if it’s not your thing, or add more chocolate, if that’s how you roll.