When I asked Bonnie Tawse, author of The Belt Cookie Table Cookbook, which recipe from the book would check the following boxes, she had an answer ready. I was looking for a recipe that felt nostalgic or retro, was easy to make, didn’t require special ingredients that even a small grocery store wouldn’t have, and most importantly, was completely delicious.
Having baked her choice—Gram Swaney’s Potato Chip Cookies—I would swear in a court of law that they fit the bill entirely. (And they do get better after a day.) Their salty-sweet crunch is a good reminder that grandmas were baking savory snacks into cookies long before Christina Tosi laid eyes on a pretzel.
by Cynthia Foust
Reprinted from The Belt Cookie Table Cookbook with permission from Belt Publishing
This recipe is from my good friend’s beloved Grandma Swaney. She is so remembered for these cookies. They get better after a few days! (If you don’t eat them before then.) My friend says everyone in the family makes at least a double or triple batch to have enough for all occasions. I have made these cookies for the Cookie Table and Cocktails event the last seven years. I have made so many wonderful friends because of this cookie recipe!
The original recipe calls for Oleo, because that’s probably what was easiest for Gram Swaney to get, but Cynthia now uses butter. You could also substitute margarine if you wanted to. People who have not ever had a Potato Chip Cookie often ask what they taste like. In testing and tasting this recipe, we determined that it was like the country cousin to a traditional Wedding Cookie, with a bit more texture (from the potato chips, of course) and in a more casual drop cookie format than rolled into a ball. Cynthia was spot on about these cookies getting better with a day or two, but they are still quite delicious if you eat them the same day you bake them. The key is to let them cool completely, as the potato chips get a bit of their structure back and give the cookies a pleasant crispness.
This is not a cookie that you can freeze, but if you were making them for a cookie table, you could easily make them a few days ahead, but hold off on dusting or rolling in powdered sugar until the day they will be served.
Makes about 2 1⁄2 dozen cookies. This recipe is easily doubled.
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup crushed potato chips (do not crush too fine)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1⁄2 cup nuts, chopped medium fine
- Powdered sugar (for rolling or dusting)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy; add vanilla until blended. Add flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon. Mix in nuts and crushed potato chips until all are incorporated with the dough, which will be slightly sticky. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes, until the outside edges are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely and either roll in or dust with powdered sugar. (Original recipe calls for rolling in powdered sugar, which results in a thicker coating.)