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wooden spoon

Bulletin — don’t judge a cookbook by its name.

We at The Book Loft do every year are putting the final touches on our annual Holiday Open House. I’ve been checking out cookbooks for my contribution to our finger-food offerings. Two recent ones caught my eye immediately.

“Cooking Scrappy” by Joel Gamoran touts “100 recipes to help you stop wasting food, save money and love what you eat.” Wow! Right up my alley.

I’m a dedicated leftover user, tend to translate “best used by” to “probably still OK after,” and believe that roasted, wilted veggies taste better than fresh. Thus, Gamoran’s philosophy obviously agreed with mine.

The second book also sounded good because it combined one of my favorite kids’ activity books with cooking. How could it miss? Think Mad Libs meet Betty Crocker and you have it.

“Cook in the Blank” by Rémy Robert is a party game for home cooks. Fill in the blanks with ingredients, flavorings, proteins, greens, accents, etc., to complete recipes for everything from soup to lasagna. But, no finger foods.

Alas, for my purpose, both books failed to hit the mark. Since frugal Joel’s scrappy recipes called for potato peelings, fish skins, corn cobs and other compost fodder, I figured a meal — or several — would need to be cooked before I had any scraps.

The one recipe I did try called for stale potato chips. I gave it a whirl, since I just happened to have some past their prime.

They were tasty, but the recipe only made 12 cookies, a far cry from the nine dozen needed for our open house.

However, I was reminded of another potato-chip cookie recipe. It calls for fresh chips, makes a lot more, and this week you are getting both recipes.

STALE POTATO CHIP COOKIES

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

seeds from two vanilla beans

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

2 cups (10 ounces) semisweet chocolate disks

2 cups stale ridged potato chips

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Beat butter in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add both sugars and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla seeds and beat for a few more minutes, periodically scraping down sides of bowl. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and spoon into mixer. Beat on lowest speed until batter is smooth, about one minute. Add chocolate disks and potato chips and beat on low until just combined. Pat dough into a two-inch-thick rectangle, seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Cut dough into 12 squares. Put six cookies evenly spaced on sheet. When oven is up to temperature, bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown on edges. Let sit on baking sheet for two minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely, then bake remaining six.

POTATO CHIP COOKIES

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 cup crushed potato chips

1/2 cup nuts, chopped fine

Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and flour and mix well. Stir in nuts and potato chips, mix with hands and roll into marble-sized balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 1-1/2 inches apart, flatten with fork dipped in flour and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

NOTE: Chop nuts very fine, otherwise it is difficult to flatten. Good sprinkled with grated chocolate or a mixture of sugar and cinnamon just prior to baking.

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Long-time Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at thewoodenspoon@juno.com

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