Fall has begun here in the northeast and although my initial reaction is to frown as I know it precedes the dreaded winter (a season I loathe), a smile immediately appears as thoughts of apples, sweaters, hot cider and crunchy leaf piles swoop in. I was intrigued by this recipe both because I had a few fresh apples in the kitchen and had a craving for a quick afternoon project. They.are.delicious. Very crispy and sweet, you may think these should be reserved for the healthy granola chowers, but don’t be fooled. Boiled in a simple syrup and then baked in the warm toasty oven, these apple slices caramelize into a candy-like little treat. The ultimate bonus? (cue: jaw dropping “mom” moment) My curious 3 year old was so intrigued, she gave up her goldfish snack and requested fresh apple slices instead. She has asked for apple slices since this, yet it was only after she caught me heating up caramel this past weekend for a little afternoon snack of my own (good god, the things I admit online) and wanted to copy a snack her friend at school has (sigh of relief…I am not the only parent serving up healthy-cancelled-out-by-sugar type snacks sometimes). As I prepped the ingredients and enjoyed some afternoon counter chat with my little one, my afternoon was shaping up rather nicely. Enjoy…
Note: I sliced on the thinnest setting my mandoline offers. If you do not have a mandolin, do not fret. Slice as thinly and as uniformly as you can, and boil a little longer. After the slices are boiled, they should almost be translucent. Just use tongs to occasionally turn over in the pot, so they are all being cooked evenly. The more translucent, the crunchier they are. Here is a picture for reference.
Caramelized Apple Chips
from Southern Living, September 2012
1 small apple (I used a Gala)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place a wire rack inside of a rimmed baking sheet and spray the rack lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut the apple into very thin slices (about 1/16-inch, I used a mandoline). You don’t need to worry about coring or peeling the apple, though you’ll want to remove any seeds from the slices.
Add the sugar and water to a 3-qt saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the apple slices and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until they are translucent and the syrup has reduced and thickened slightly. Use tongs to remove the slices from the syrup and place them on the wire rack in a single layer. (You can discard the syrup or save it – it’s amazing apple-flavored simple syrup!)
Bake the apples for about 15-20 minutes, or until they’re golden in color. The baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your apple slices – I found the best indicator of doneness to be color. Don’t be concerned if the slices aren’t crisp when they become golden – mine definitely weren’t – the chips will crisp as they cool. Transfer the chips to a sheet of waxed paper lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray and let them cool completely, it’ll only take about 10 minutes.
Makes about 24 chips