Just like a bowl of potato chips

Just like a bowl of potato chips

I know I’m late to the game with this one, but I JUST discovered the joys of making your own kale chips.  Trader Joe’s has a fairly addictive nacho cheese flavored kale chip that is $3.99 per bag.

The thing is, $3.99 per bag will add up quickly.  Knowing so many people who have made their own, I decided to try my hand at the kale chip game.  Looking at a helpful sign at the Happy Boy  stand in the Temescal Farmers Market, I found bunches of curly kale for turning into chips.  The sign noted that the ridges of the kale made them ideal vehicles for whatever flavors you wanted to add to the chips.  Boy was that sign right!  The chips were so thoroughly packed with flavor, they tasted much more like a snack chip than an actual vegetable.

The process of making the chips was an interesting bit of trial and error, where I fudged the temperature quite a bit.  My big revelation is that it’s almost impossible to burn kale chips.  The temperature given on most recipes is a low, low, low 275 degrees.  In one batch, I cranked it up to 350 degrees with no burning.  In another batch, I had it at 300 degrees and promptly forgot I had a batch in the oven, overcooking them by a good 20 minutes (and most cooking times are 20 minutes).  Overcooking?  Overcooking my sweet patootie!  They turned out even MORE crispy and caramelized!  This was delightful!  Like potato chips, kale chips are awesome carriers of flavor.  One particular addition I would keep in every iteration, is a touch of brown sugar.  The sweetness does balance well with the bitterness of the kale.

Basic Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale

1 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Tear the tender leaves of the stem into about two-inch pieces.  Don’t worry if they are irregular.  Put all of the ingredients In a large roasting pan (I find this best to toss the kale in).

KaleForOilandSeasoning

Getting tossed in the roasting pan

Toss thoroughly.  A good way to tell if it’s been thoroughly tossed is to see if the bottom of the pan has an excessive amount of oil in it.  If you tossed it well, there’s shouldn’t be a pool of oil at the bottom of the pan.  Place the kale in a cookie sheet in one even layer.  Baked for 10 minutes and the take out and toss the kale in the cookie sheet to ensure that all sides of the kale are thoroughly crisped.  Bake another 10 minutes.

Kale on baking sheet

Kale on baking sheet – make sure they have space to crisp

Variations

BBQ style – add ½ tsp of paprika, ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper, and a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce

Middle Eastern style – substitute 1 teaspoon of olive oil with sesame oil.  Add ½ teaspoon of cumin and ¼ teaspoon of allspice and 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.

Going Middle Eastern

Going Middle Eastern

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