Monday, August 18, 2014

Something From Nothing #27: Crispy Apple Chips

I always get excited when it is time for my Something From Nothing posts. The more of them I do, the more challenging it becomes to come up with something really good, and no one loves a challenge more than I.

I feel really lucky this time because this month's recipe fell right into my lap when I was cleaning out my refrigerator's vegetable crisper. Without fail, every time I clean out my fridge or fruit bowl, I am amazed at how much fruit that I purchase with the best of intentions that often goes to waste.

Black bananas are a tradition around here. Like I am under some evil spell, I feel compelled to keep buying them. We always have bananas on hand, so if you ever find yourself in need of one or twelve in different stages of decomposition, come on by, they are on my counter top waiting for you.

Grapes are a big favorite too, but no matter how few I buy there are always a handful of renegades who break free from their stem and land up rolling around loose in the crisper drawer.  Unfortunately for them there is no escape and they inevitably get squashed by a mobile head of cabbage or a carelessly placed grapefruit.

Apples are a bit more resilient so they hang around a lot longer than the rest. Add the two or three that I buy every time I visit the produce department of my local supermarket, and before I know it there are half a dozen or so smiling up at me from the bottom of the bin.

Thankfully out of the four I found this time, I actually remembered purchasing two of them, a Fuji and a Granny Smith. Since I had to throw two of their elderly relatives in the trash, I decided on making something that might prolong their lives a bit, and oven dehydrated apple chips came to mind.

Apple chips are the epitome of something from nothing. Literally just slicing them very thin and applying some low and slow heat, transforms them into something totally different from their original state. I love them in salads, eating them just plain, or with cheese and crackers. I'm not kidding, your family and friends will really be blown away by this very easy little treat. I know we really love them around here.

Crispy Apple Chips

If you are a purist and want to use just apples alone, they will be wonderful. I decided to do half with cinnamon and sugar, and half without. Both were very good, but the Granny Smith with a light sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar got top marks from all of my testers.

1 large apple (I doubled this recipe and used 1 Fuji and 1 Granny Smith)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Slice apples very thin across (not pole to pole). I used my mandoline slicer, but you can also do this with a very sharp knife.

Place apple slices on a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

If using, stir sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over apple slices.

Place into the preheated oven and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn and return to cook for 1 hour longer. Be sure and check on them frequently. If they begin to brown quickly, turn them over and adjust your baking time. You want your chips to be a light brown. Dark brown chips are often bitter.

Remove from the oven and carefully loosen if any of them seem to be sticking. Cool completely. Chips will continue to crisp a bit as they cool. These are best eaten right away, but you can store uneaten portions in an airtight container.

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