Salted Caramel. Chocolate Bacon. Cappuccino Lay’s.
This whole sweet & salty trend is taking over both the snack world and the sweet world. And I couldn’t be happier. I love when food teases my tongue bombarding it with different sensations. Adding salt to cookies or candy brings out not only the sweetness, but the overall flavor of the food. Chocolate cookies, for example, taste richer when sprinkled with salt.
This summer I had the great pleasure of working with Liddabit Sweets. Liddabit is an extremely creative company that LOVES combining salt and sugar. Their popular caramels and candy bars play on this concept with combinations like beer pretzel caramels and the King Bar which features a salty peanut butter nougat and banana white chocolate ganache.
Jen and Liz, the two owners of Liddabit, as well as their fabulous team are some of the greatest people I have ever met. They are the queens of imaginative confections that make you a kid in a candy store again. When I tagged along with Liddabit in Brooklyn this summer, one of the main things I heard was “I think it needs more salt.” They love creating bold flavors, and salt helps to create that!
This cookie recipe would make Jen and Liz proud. It incorporates salty potato chips into a sugar cookie base. The salt adds to an enhanced flavor while the added fat from the chips creates a crispy texture.
The basics of how starch and protein interact to create the first steps of a baked good were introduced with muffins.
They play into the structure of a cookie in a similar way. The starch gelatinization and gluten development still occur, but they have a slightly different ratio. There is more sugar to flour in a cookie recipe than a cake recipe. Less flour means less gluten and therefore a weaker association in the cookie. That’s one of the reasons why cookies don’t stretch like breads or muffins. The reduced starch and increased sugar contents also create less starch gelatinization in the cookie owing to the stiffer structure. That’s also why cookies don’t stale as much as other baked products.
The fat content is also very important. Fat “shortens” the gluten softening the overall structure of the baked good. The fat in this cookie is increased because of the crushed potato chips in the dough. The increased amount of fat creates different layers in the cookie of fat and gluten. The increased fat also shields the flour from interacting with the water in the dough promoting increased water evaporation from the cookie. Layers of fat and gluten as well as heightened water loss make for a crispier cookie when baked at a high temperature.
Potato Chip Cookies
This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 16 cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few pinches of salt, to taste (optional)
1/4 cup crushed potato chips (I like salt and vinegar chips–they add an extra zing to the cookie)
1 cup flour
Potato chip salt finish
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed potato chips
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter with 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar. Put the remaining 1/4 cup in a bowl and set aside. Mix in the vanilla and salt (if using) until smooth. Pour in the crushed potato chips and flour. Mix well to combine. Taste the dough, and if more salt is desired, add now.
3. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds of cookie dough and form it into a small ball in your hands. Roll the ball of cookie dough in the bowl of sugar set aside earlier. Place the ball of dough on the prepped cookie sheet and flatten. I used the bottom of a solid measuring cup, but a glass or something similar with a flat bottom will work great too! The cookies will not spread much, so they can be rather close (within an inch) to each other.
4. Sprinkle with some of the potato chip salt finish. Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough.
5. Bake until golden at the edges, about 15 minutes.