Curious Cookies

By Kristen Castillo

October 29, 2019 6 min read

Ready for curious and delicious yuletide desserts? There's always a reason to bake a fresh batch of cookies during the holidays, whether for a party, Santa's plate or a cozy fireside night. These cookies are made with unusual ingredients -- potato chips, quinoa, instant coffee and breakfast cereal -- and the finished treats will wow your taste buds.

Holiday treats are known for being rich, decadent and inventive. Baker, food writer and recipe developer Jessie Sheehan delights foodies with her cookbook "The Vintage Baker," full of midcentury vintage recipes with a 21st-century twist. Look no further than her butterscotch potato chip balls for a sweet and salty eye opener with a burst of flavor.


Servings: 36

2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

5 cups kettle-style potato chips

Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Heat oven to 350 F, and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl, and whisk. Add butterscotch chips and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream melted butter and sugars on medium-high speed until thick, light and glossy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bowl with rubber spatula as needed.

Decrease mixer to medium-low speed. Add egg and yolk one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl with rubber spatula after each addition. Add vanilla, and mix to combine.

Add all dry ingredients at once and mix.

Remove bowl from stand mixer. Combine and crush potato chips with rubber spatula, and add 3 cups of chips to dough. Leave remaining 2 cups chips in a small bowl.

Scoop dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon balls with cookie scoop or measuring spoons. Roll each ball in leftover crushed chips and place on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle each ball with flaky sea salt.

Bake one sheet at a time for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating at halfway point, until lightly browned.

After removing sheets from the oven, press each cookie with spatula to slightly flatten. Let cool briefly, and serve warm.

Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to three days.

Rebecca Pytell created the Strength & Sunshine blog to provide fun, delicious, healthy food for those with celiac disease or food allergies. She reinvented the classic cookie with healthy quinoa chocolate chip cookies that pack a "protein punch." These gluten-free, vegan morsels are so tasty they'll fool just about anyone.


Servings: 12

3/4 cup quinoa flakes

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1/2 cup arrowroot starch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon pure Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon butter emulsion (optional)

1/3 cup granular erythritol

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 F.

In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir/whisk until batter is smooth.

On Silpat-lined baking sheet, place 12 evenly spaced dough balls, and smooth each down.

Bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool before eating.

These freeze well and can be reheated in 30 to 40 seconds.

"The Polar Express" is a classic Christmas book and movie beloved by children and adults alike. This season, treat yourselves to a showing of the film accompanied by Ocean Spray Polar Expresso cookies that are sure to take your taste buds on an adventure.


Servings: 24


1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or coffee granules

2 large eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 6-ounce package Ocean Spray Pomegranate Juice- or Blueberry Juice-Infused Craisins

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup white chocolate chips


1/2 cup powdered sugar

4 to 5 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or coffee granules

Heat oven to 375 F.

In large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, oil and espresso powder. With an electric mixer, beat at medium speed until creamy.

Add eggs, beating until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl if necessary. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Reduce speed to low, and beat until mixed.

By hand, stir in cranberries, pecans and white chocolate chips.

Drop dough onto baking sheets in 1/4 cupfuls placed 3 inches apart. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center is almost set. Cool on wire racks.

To make glaze, whisk all ingredients in small bowl until smooth and with drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies.

It's true that holiday traditions are special and valuable, but the season is also the perfect time to exercise some creativity and welcome fresh tastes. Whip up these clever confections this year to satisfy even the crankiest of Grinches and spread holiday cheer with every bite.

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