The day you’ve all been waiting for has arrived. Today I feature tater tots on the 365 Days of Dining blog.
Anyone who claims not to like tater tots must be a darn liar, because these little crispy potato nuggets are pure, unclassy gold. I love them, Napoleon Dynamite loves them, and you might as well just go on and admit that you love them too. Heck, you can even buy yourself a “You say potato, I say Tater Tot” t-shirt if you wish.
If you’re seeking some in Richmond, they can be found at the oh-so popular Taco Luis in the Lansdowne Food Court. This little stall does Mexican fast food with deep-fried tater tots offered up as their carby side. If that doesn’t scream ‘MEXICAN FOOD,’ I don’t know what does!
Wanting to try a few things, I ordered a combo with one chicken taco, a small fountain drink, and a side of tots. For a vegetarian option, I also got two bean burritos (my bill was $8.70 in total). Tacos Luis also offers fajita platters, taco salads, huge beef or chicken wraps, and nachos.
Once I placed my order, I answered a string of rapid-fire questions from the woman assembling my meal:
“Chicken or beef?” (Chicken)
“Salsa? Sour cream? Guacamole?” (Yes, yes, yes)
“Lettuce? Tomato? Cucumber?” (Yes, yes, on a taco? NO WAY)
“Cheese? Hot peppers?” (Yes and no, thank you)
The taco and tots came in one container, with the burritos wrapped up in parchment. This was greasy, rainy day, pre-weekend kind of food, and I must say I enjoyed it.
The chicken in the taco was pretty good, and being a lover of condiments, I really appreciated the monsoon of sauces on top of it. A warning: this is not tidy food. Prepare to get messy.
The burritos were also tasty; they make for good (if not entirely attractive) snacks.
For one reason or another, this meal inspired me to do some baking, and it would appear I am not yet ready to step off the peanut butter oatmeal cookie train, because I decided to make these: Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, also known as “The Nora Ephron.” This recipe is the first I’ve made from my new Dahlia Bakery Cookbook I got for Christmas, which explains that Nora Ephron loved these cookies so much she requested the recipe, and Tom Douglas, the bakery owner, decided to name them in her honour. They’re way classier than tater tots, except that the cookie filling specifically requests Skippy peanut butter, which is just the right amount of tacky.
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (aka The Norah Ephron)
From the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Peanut butter filling
1 1/2 cups (14 ounces/400 grams) creamy peanut butter, such as Skippy
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick/3 ounces/168 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
peanut butter cookies
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces/227 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 2/3 cups (5 1/4 ounces/99 grams) rolled oats, such as Quaker old fashioned
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons/11 1/4 ounces/320 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces/125 grams) crunchy natural peanut butter, such as Adams, well mixed
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces/150 grams) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (5 1/4 ounces/150 grams) packed brown sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. To make the peanut butter filling, combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl using a whisk. Cover and chill the mixture until you are ready to fill the cookies.
2. To make the peanut butter cookies, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in the oats and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, chunky peanut butter, and sugars and cream on medium-high speed until very fluffy and pale, at least 3 minutes, scraping down the mixing bowl as needed.
4. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate each egg and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients on low speed in 3 to 4 additions and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, going all the way to the bottom of the bowl to mix in the dry ingredients well.
5. Use an ice cream scoop to portion all the cookies in 1-ounce scoops (or use about 1 heaping tablespoon per cookie), placing the scoops on a parchment lined baking sheet. You should have about 48 cookies. (You can place all the cookies close together for the chilling step—you will space them for baking later.) Chill the scooped cookies for at least 2 hours or longer.
6. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange 8 cookies, spaced evenly apart and staggered, on each parchment-lined baking sheet. (Note: Do not flatten the cookies; they will flatten as they bake.) Set the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to double pan and place it in the oven. Bake until evenly golden, about 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. If you have 2 double-panned pans in the oven at the same time, also switch them between the racks. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing the cookies with a metal spatula. Allow the cookies to cool completely before filling them.
7. To make a cookie sandwich, turn one cookie flat side up and spread with a little less than 2 teaspoons of filling. (If you have a 1-ounce scoop, you can slightly underfill it to portion the filling or underfill a tablespoon.) Top with another cookie, flat side down, pressing gently. Repeat until all the cookies are assembled into sandwiches.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available