Cocoa-Crunch Cookies by Joanne Fluke

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.

1 and 1⁄2  cups softened butter  (3 sticks, 34 pound, 12 ounces)
1 and 1⁄4  cups white (granulated) sugar
2 large eggs
1⁄2  teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄4  cup unsweetened cocoa powder  (I used Hershey’s)
2 and 1⁄4  cups all-purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
1 and 1⁄2  cups finely crushed plain regular potato chips (measure AFTER crushing. I used Lay’s, put them in a plastic zip-lock bag, and crushed them with my hands)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate  chips (I used Nestlé)
1⁄3  cup white (granulated) sugar for dipping

Hannah’s 1st Note: Use regular potato chips, the thin, salty ones. Don’t use baked chips, or rippled chips, or chips with the peels on, or kettle-fried, or flavored, or anything that’s supposed to be better for you than those wonderfully greasy, salty, old-fashioned, crunchy potato chips.

In a large mixing  bowl,  beat  the butter, sugar,  eggs, salt,  and  vanilla  extract  until  the mixture  is light  and fluffy.  (You can do this by hand, but it’s  a lot easier with an electric mixer.)

Add the quarter-cup of unsweetened cocoa  powder. Mix it in thoroughly.

Add  the  flour  in  half-cup  increments,   mixing  well after each addition.

Add the crushed potato chips and mix well.

Take  the  bowl  out  of the  mixer  and  add  the  semi- sweet chips by hand.  Stir them in so that they are evenly distributed.

Form  one-inch   dough   balls  with  your  hands   and place them on an UNGREASED cookie sheet, 12 to a standard-sized sheet.  (As an alternative, you can line your  cookie sheets with parchment paper.)

Place the sugar in a small bowl. Spray the flat bottom of a drinking  glass with Pam or another nonstick  cooking spray,  dip it in the sugar,  and  use it to flatten  each dough  ball. (Dip the glass in the sugar for each cookie ball.)

Bake your cookies at 350 degrees F., for 10 to 12 minutes,  or until the cookies are starting  to turn golden at the edges. (Mine took the full 12 minutes.)

Let the  Cocoa-Crunch Cookies  cool  on  the  cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove them to a wire rack to  cool  completely.  (If you used parchment  paper,  all you have to do is pull it over to the wire rack and let the cookies cool right on the paper.)

Yield: Approximately 6 to 7 dozen  crunchy,  chocolate, shortbread-like cookies, depending  on cookie size.

It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder . . .

With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden—especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake . . .

Indulge In Joanne Fluke’s Criminally Delicious Hannah Swensen Mysteries!

Wedding Cake Murder

“There are plenty of Fluke’s trademark recipes on view here, and the New York trip and reality show frame give the episode a fresh twist.” —Booklist

Double Fudge Brownie Murder

“Lively . . . Add the big surprise ending, and fans will be more than satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly

Blackberry Pie Murder

“Lake Eden’s favorite baker, Hannah Swensen finds herself on the wrong end of a police investigation . . . in Fluke’s good-natured 19th installment.” —Kirkus Reviews

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder

“Culinary cozies don’t get any tastier than this winning series.” —Library Journal

“If your reading habits alternate between curling up with a good mystery or with a good cookbook, you ought to know about Joanne Fluke.” —The Charlotte Observer