Saturday, September 22, 2018

Reader Challenge - Potato Chip Bars

First, let me say that - yes - you read that right.

After all the times that I've asked whether any of you had a recipe that you'd found that you wanted someone else to try out, first, someone actually took me up on it. So this week, we're working with Potato Chip Bars from "Company's Coming: 150 Delicious Squares" by Jean Paré. (The recipe was sent in by someone we'll call CindyfromIdaho.)

Let me explain a bit more before we go into the recipe:

So... Yeah... Not kidding about the potato chips. Here's the recipe:

And here are the ingredients:
Note: The chocolate chips are for a variation that I decided to try, based on the theory that chocolate-covered potato chips can be tasty.
Honestly, considering there are only 7 ingredients, it's a really quick-and-easy snack to make if you're so inclined.

You start with the basic creaming of shortening and sugar and vanilla:
Really not sure why it needs both butter and margarine.
So far, so good. I mean... it's creamed butter, margarine, sugar, and vanilla. You can't go wrong with that.
Oh. The vanilla was apparently supposed to go in with the flour, but I figure it works well either way. So then the flour went in by itself.
Exciting, right? 
After a good stirring, it came out like a cross between a shortbread crust dough and a thick cookie dough.
It also smelled and tasted like a basic cookie dough.
The next step started with a question for me: How many cups of potato chips does it take to make one cup of crushed potato chips? And does it matter what kind of chips you're using? (This explains why I bought two large bags of chips - I had no idea how far down they'd crush.)

First answer: 3. It took three cups of "original" potato chips... equal one cup of crushed chips.
I probably ought to have a photo showing how the 2 cups only filled the cup measure 2/3 of the way, shouldn't I? 

Which also resulted in multiple hand-washings, because potato chips, in general, are really greasy.

In went the potato chips...

...and the chopped walnuts.
I pretty much always have a bag of walnuts and a bag of pecans in my freezer. I never use a whole bag at once, and the small bags are WAY more expensive per ounce than the large ones. So I just freeze the big bag (I drop it - bag and all - into a Ziploc bag, typically), and take out what I need.
I probably shouldn't have been surprised that the dough got "softer" when this all got mixed in. After all, I wasn't just adding a bunch of dry ingredients - I was also adding a bunch of fat.
Tasting it at this point was strange. It kind of tasted a bit like some cookie doughs that I work with - but with a distinct textural difference.

I pressed the mix into my 9" x 9" pan, and tried to even it out, then it was ready for the oven.

Although the recipe refers to a photo on another page, I didn't have the photo to go off of, so I had to rely on the recipe: 15 minutes at 350 degrees. So, while that was going on, I prepped batch number two.

In the second batch, I used the rippled chips, and instead of walnuts I went for chocolate chips.
For those who are wondering, it only took two cups of ripple chips to make one cup of crushed chips. 
When the first batch came out of the oven,
I know that it looks pretty much the same as when it went in, but I know this is the right photo because the pan is on a cooling rack. 
the second batch was ready to go in.
This one is in a lighter weight 8" x 8" pan, so the dough layer is thicker.
I opted to put it in for about 20 minutes, due to the thickness of the dough, and it did get just slightly brown around the edges before I took it out.
The browning makes it easier to tell this is an "after" photo.
At which point I was faced with two pans of Potato Chip Bars staring at me from the counter top.
It's amazing how small the 8" x 8" pan looks next to the 9" x 9" pan.
I let them cool a bit, but didn't want them to cool "too much" (see the recipe), and then it was the moment of truth. (It became a kind of longer-than-usual moment of truth, so please bear with me.)

I actually waited a bit to write this up, so it's now Saturday (I baked them on Friday evening), and I've had a chance to try them fully cooled.
A paper plate seemed appropriate, since these feel like something that might show up at a family picnic.
Three things this has taught me:

1) It was a good thing I cut them before they completely cooled, because now they really crumble when you try to cut them.
2) They did firm up a bit, and they feel less greasy now that they're cool.
3) Crushed potato chips are a weird texture - whether the bars are warm or cool. But - if you must have them - the "regular" chips do better in this than the "ripple" ones.

Now, I fully admit that I have a whole lot of strange recipes in my repertoire - things that I'm sure other people wouldn't like, but I love because I grew up with them. And there are newer recipes that I've tried that I've kind of been won over by because of their weirdness.

Will Potato Chip Bars be the next thing added to that list?

Short answer: No.


Will some strange recipe that you've come across be added to my list? We'll never know unless you send it to me!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Oh... Sugar... Shortage

Yeah... no... "sugar" was not the "sh" sounding word that came to mind last night, when pretty much all of my mise en place was mis-un-placed. 

Unfortunately, because that set me back a bit, this is going to be another week without a recipe. 

There is, however, an explanatory video: 

And now we have sugar. But I have no time. (Sorry.)

So, what's the worst kitchen supply miss you've had in the recent past? Did it delay you a night - or longer? Or did you get creative and substitute (like I did with this post)?