Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guest Post: Sugar and Spice Apple Chips from The Cilantropist

I'm still plugging away on getting things done, but the pieces are slowly reaching completion. Today's guest post is from a fabulous lady and great friend, Amanda from The Cilantropist. It's a story I've told many times... we met over a trafficky three-hour drive to Los Angeles and haven't stopped talking since. We've bonded over so many things, from photography to our beloved canines. One of the best things about being a part of the blogging community is the great people who have made an impact on my life. Amanda is certainly one of those people and I couldn't imagine life, in and outside of blogging, without her friendship. I'm verklempt at how awesome these photos are and I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do!

First off, I want to give Marie a big thanks for inviting me to share this post with you today! She is a dear friend of mine in the blogging world but also in every day life, and I couldn't be happier to share a recipe here on Meandering Eats. Marie was kind enough to contribute a guest post to my site earlier this year when I was hammering out my PhD
(an amazing recipe for Easy Brioche), and since now the tables are turned and she has a full plate herself, I can share a great fall recipe with you.    

For me apples are probably the most quintessential fall food and a sure sign that the season is truly changing.  The bright colors and waxy skin are irresistible to me, and I think the little stem at the top is just too cute for words.  I love the burst of flavor when I bite through the skin, and the juicy flesh has just the perfect grainy texture. Sweet apples like Gala or Jonathan are my favorites, but every once in a while I crave a good, tart Granny Smith.   

We all know apples are good for snacking and baking, but sometimes you want something more than a raw apple, but not quite as involved as a full-on apple pie.  I had one of those moments recently - I just had used cinnamon and all spice for a plum crumble bar recipe, and I couldn't get the idea of apples, cinnamon, sugar, and spice out of my head.  I had no time for pie-making and I wasn't in the mood for cake.  But yet, I still wanted those heady aromas to fill my kitchen... So I decided to take the easy route and make healthy apple chips.

Apple chips are so simple to make that it is almost silly, and there are endless variations (I list a few below in the recipe).  I decided to make mine with a sprinkling of sugar, a dusting of cinnamon, and a dash of Chinese five-spice.  I loved the addition of the Chinese five-spice, because it gave the apple chips an expected burst of flavor and heat that made them really unique.  

Another big bonus is that that these chips are a super healthy snack, and you can make them at home for a significantly cheaper price than buying them at the store. Several natural foods brands sell apple chips that are actually pretty great tasting, but I am always put off by the cost - you can make more than twice the amount of apple chips at home for the same price as buying a bag from the store. 

But one thing that I really love to do with apple chips, is package them up and give them to friends and family as homemade gifts.  The chips keep well since they are already dried out, and I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like to munch on a crispy treat.  This recipe is the perfect, and easiest, way to enjoy and preserve fall.  Enjoy!  

Sugar and Spice Apple Chips

3 medium Gala Apples, or other sweet apples

Lemon juice and water
A few tablespoons sugar 
About a teaspoon cinnamon
Less than a teaspoon Chinese 5 spice

Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice apples very thinly (perpendicular to the core), either using a mandoline if you have one, or just using a knife.  The thinner you slice them, the faster they will bake and the more crispy they will be.  

Then you have some choices: 
1. You can leave the apples as is, with no sugar, spices, or lemon juice.  This is the most natural option and the least sweet, since it only relies on the sugar from the apple itself.

2. You can dip the apple slices in lemon juice and water.  Other recipes said this 'prevented premature browning of the apple' but I didn't have a problem with that anyway. This gives the apple a slight citrus flavor, but also increases the baking time because you are adding extra moisture. 

3. You can sprinkle the slices with sugar and spices.  I just did this by hand, letting a little bit of sugar rain down on each slice, and then following with a sprinkling of cinnamon and Chinese 5 spice.  I loved the Chinese 5 spice on these.  

4. You can dip the slices in a mixture of sugar and spices.  This definitely makes the sweetest apple chips if you are in the mood for some indulgence. 

Whatever you choose, you will lay the apple slices on the prepared baking sheets, and bake for a total of approximately 2 hours, turning the slices once halfway through baking.  If your slices are thinner, they might be ready in less time, and if they very thick, they might need longer to become really crispy.  Once they are done, let them cool completely, then store in a airtight container or bag them to give as gifts or take in your lunch as a snack.

10 bites:

Joshua Gastropub said...

Yes!  I love apple chips.  Going to make more soon.  I have one of those skinning/coring/slicing apparatuses, which is my favorite part of making apple chips. 

No dehydrator?  I have one if you need to use it.  #justsaying

Russell at Chasing Delicious said...

Love this recipe! I've never tried apple chips - I have no idea why though - but I am going to have to change that. I've been waiting to get a bushel of apples until I could dedicate a month to apple things. I think that time has come.

Kimmie said...

These look so. good. I love the ones from the store, but they're super expensive - will definitely make these. Will also invest in a mandoline to save myfingers and my sanity. =) 

PS - Great to meet you Marie and can't wait to finally meet Amanda one of these days! ;)

Liz the Chef said...

Wow, your recipe does sound easy - beautiful photographs...

Chrissy said...

wow, these look great and I bet tasted so so good! I love apple chips! I can't wait to make these :)

Jenny said...

Pics are stunning-stunning-stunning (and then some)!! 

Sylvie @ Gourmandeinthekitchen said...

I love that you added a little spice to the apple chips.

Yasmeen said...

I love her blog - great guest post :) I've never made apple chips but now that it's so easy, I don't see why I shouldn't. Beautiful.

Mireya Merritt said...

Thanks for posting this great heatlhy snack idea. Who needs cookies when there are great snacks like this?

Tracy said...

These look amazing. What a great and healthy snack!

10 bites