You know, I grew up in, let's say, a lower-middle-class household. In the 70s. So my diet consisted of 10% ground beef, 15% whatever-helper, 25% canned stuff, 10% basic fresh veggies and fruits (featuring iceberg lettuce and those mealy red apples),** 15% sugary snacks, 5% cheddar or colby cheese, 5% white bread, and 15% sauces and unguents (usually mayonnaise-based).
Yeah. Some of you know where I'm coming from.
But, believe it or not, the non-elite diet does have one major secret ingredient that's actually good, and I'm about to share it with you. No, it's not marshmallow fluff, though that's an important part of any diet, too. It is, in fact, the secret to chocolate-chip cookies that will not turn into hard little pucks within 3 hours after baking. Are you ready?
Instant mashed potato flakes.
I poo you not. Replace 1/3 of the flour in your recipe with an equal volume of instant mashed potato flakes (flakes, people, not buds). Since the flakes are less dense per volume than your flour, you may have to toss in an extra tablespoon or two of flour to compensate. Then do up the recipe as normal. If you don't go over a third (and sometimes you can push it to almost half) you will not smell potatoes, you will not taste potatoes. But you will have a wonderful, soft cookie that will stay soft for days. If you can make your cookies last that long.
Oh, and if the humble chocolate chip is too pedestrian for you, and you want to get all uptown with it, substitute dried cranberries for your chocolate chips, and throw in some chopped pecans. That's some yummy stuff.
**To be fair, there wasn't the produce variety in the 70s that there is today. And to be even more fair, my mom, for several years, desperately tried to get us into growing a vegetable garden. But we lacked the proper moral fiber, and mom couldn't do it by herself, so she gave up.***
***The urge to go back and make that right is one of the many reasons that I wish I had a time machine.****
****That, and investing in Microsoft in 1986.