- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 14 minutes
- makes About 18 cookies
Based on some dodgy math, I figure I've eaten almost a thousand latkes in my lifetime. So let me be the first one to say it—these are not latkes. They are an optical illusion, the answer to the question that no one needed answered, but here I am to answer anyway: What if latkes were cookies? I learned to make these crispy potato pancakes from my mom, who learned to make them from her mom, who learned to make them from her mom. For this Big Little Recipe, I abandoned almost all of our traditional ingredients,and rejiggered them with a minimalist dessert in mind. The approach is inspired by another cookie my family adores: coconut macaroons, specifically Danielle Kartes’ Coconut Custard Macaroons. Instead of shredded russets, there are crispy potato chips. Instead of sizzling oil, melted butter. The egg stays the same, but the onion goes out the window. Sweetened condensed milk brings it all together, turning the bottoms so golden brown and caramelized, it looks like they were deep-fried. The result is crispy edged, slightly custardy in the center, and deeply potato-y.
A few tips: If you have a scale, now is a great time to use it and save yourself from cleaning condensed milk out of a measuring cup. Unsalted versus salted butter is just what it sounds like—how much do you like salt? My answer is a lot, but you tell me. Don’t swap in a shattery-thin potato chip here. You want something sturdy that can hold up to the mixing. And I love the way crinkled chips mimic the grated potatoes of classic latkes. —Emma Laperruque
(234 grams) sweetened condensed milk
(57 grams) unsalted or salted butter, melted
(241-gram/8½-ounce) bag Ruffles potato chips
- Combine the condensed milk, melted butter, and egg in a large bowl. Vigorously stir with a fork until combined. Handful by handful, add the potato chips, crushing them along the way; they should be in chunks, not dust. Stir to combine. Let this mixture hang out while you heat the oven to 375°F and line 2 sheet pans with silicone mats or parchment.
- When the oven is at 375°F, use 2 soupspoons to scoop little potato pancakes onto the baking sheets, evenly spacing them apart. (The mixture won’t easily hold together at this point—that’s okay.) If needed, use your hands to encourage each mound into a latke-like shape, mostly flat but domed at the center, 2½ to 3 inches in diameter; don’t futz over this too much—homemade latkes are always irregular.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges and tops are deeply golden brown in certain spots. Let cool for about 5 minutes on the sheet tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These are best the day they’re baked, but stored in an airtight container, they will keep for up to 2 days.