In one poignant example of how threads of history make their way into recipes, we have this May 1970 gem that begins, “Talk to anyone about the situation in Southeast Asia and chances are he or she will mention ‘Oh yes, my son (husband–brother–boyfriend–uncle) is there now.’ And what to send him is the big question.” The piece goes on to discuss the best types of cookies to send overseas, ultimately recommending potato-chip cookies, which keep well and “taste like peanut butter.”
Intrigued by their period authenticity (the ’70s are, after all, when the term “junk food” was coined), we gave them a try and found that they were not only delicious but fun to serve with a “guess what’s in them?” quiz. They’re worth making at least once, both for their flavor and for the surprise factor.
Preheat your oven to 350° and position racks in the middle, with space in between. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Using a standing or hand-held mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat 1 minute. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until combined. Add 1-½ cups crushed potato chips and the nuts and stir to combine.
Fill a medium-size bowl with the remaining 2 cups of potato chips. Portion and roll the dough into 1-½-inch balls, and roll each in the chips to coat. Arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets, and bake until just barely golden on the bottom (they won’t brown much), 12 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through. Remove cookies from the oven and cool on wire racks.