Monday, April 2, 2012

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Last month when I was perusing a blog called Savour the Senses I came across these baked sweet potato chips. They weren't tossed in oil or fried or anything. They were thinly sliced, seasoned, and baked on parchment paper or Silpat. I thought, "That sounds too good to be true." And then it worked. Which is always nice. 

I should tell you, however, that my first few experiments with it were extremely over-seasoned. When I'm oven baking with oil, I always salt generously, but the oil must "wash" a fair amount of that salt away because without it, those seasonings just stuck to those chips and sometimes it was a little much. So use a gentle hand

I should tell you also that these are the type of chip that--if thinly sliced as mine were--can burn if they go a minute too long. You want them crispy, but not burned. And that can be--I must confess--a wee bit tricky. So you have to be careful in that regard. 

I should also tell you that even a couple of sweet potatoes yield several batches of these, so while cooking time isn't very long, you'll have to triple or quadruple it if you're doing more than just one sweet potato.

And finally I should tell you that a food processor or mandolin will make your cutting way easier. However, since mine is a cheap lame one that is getting a wee bit dull (in addition to being cheap and lame), my pieces were often way different sizes, which was annoying. I've been wanting to try these with still-thin-but-not-quite-as-thin hand sliced potatoes (for those who have no food processor or mandolin), but I haven't gotten to it yet. Maybe today for an after school snack I will and then I can check that off and update this post. 

Okay, and there's one more thing I have to tell you. Which is that the second time I made these I brushed on a bit of oil with a pastry brush. I wanted to see if oil would fix the problem of these overcooking if they went a minute too long. It did. And it made for a really crispy and still fairly virtuous sweet potato chip. You don't have to do this, but it does give you a little more room for error or distraction. That's something that comes in handy in my life. Also, I think this might be a perfect method for baked regular potato chips. I'll let you know when I get to that project. 

Baked Sweet Potato Chips
adapted from Savour the Senses
Prep time: 5 minutes (with a food processor for slicing)
Cook time: 10-15 minutes per batch
Cost: $.25

Note: I seasoned these in several different ways. I used the original from Savour the Senses. It was good, but a little too garlicky for me. I tried salt and pepper (my favorite) and I tried sugar and sugar/cinnamon (my kids' favorite). They were all good and I really think you could just go nuts with different seasonings. Just be aware that the seasoning will stick, so go light at first. 

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper or other seasonings
oil (optional)

Cut your potatoes. Try to get them to be as even and uniform as possible. I didn't do so well there, and they were still good, but cooking times will be easier to master if your pieces are about the same size and thickness. 

Place them on parchment paper or Silpat. Sprinkle seasonings on. Be gentle. 

(These were some that were a little over-seasoned, so don't go that crazy, okay)

Bake at 350 (be sure to preheat) for 10-15 minutes if thin and longer if a little thicker. They should be just barely crispy without being brown (although if lightly brown, I found that they still tasted great). Know, too, that they'll crisp up a bit as they cool. If you take them out and then find they're not quite crisp enough for you, you can throw them back in, so don't despair. 

Optional ending for the distracted or low of character among us:

Skip the parchment paper and brush baking sheet with neutral oil (I used canola). Lay chips on the oil and, using a pastry brush, brush each chip with a bit of oil. Season as desired. Bake as directed above. 

Note: After posting these, I realized that a few more tips were in order. You'll find them here

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