Yep, more apples. And I hope you won't mind, but I still have at least one more post featuring them to come later this week... Looks like it's inadvertently becoming apple week over here.
Recently I picked up a copy of Southern Living for the very first time. It had the most gorgeous caramel apple coffee cake on the cover and promised even more apple goodness inside; I simply couldn't resist. When I got home, I couldn't decide where to start. Oooh, cheesecake - no muffins, maybe an ice cream tart? In the end, the simplest recipe, these caramelized apple chips, won me over. It was partially because of the stunning photo, but also because it allowed me another chance to use my mandoline. After nearly cutting my finger off on my first few attempts at using it, I've finally figured out how to safely slice just about anything, and that mandoline has quickly become one of my favorite kitchen toys!
I've never had apple chips before so I wasn't sure what to expect but I'm not kidding when I tell you these wound up tasting like little caramel apple candies. They were so much fun! The chips are super easy to make too - the apple slices are cooked in simple syrup briefly and then transferred to the oven and baked on a wire rack until golden. I thought for sure these were going to be a fail because even after they'd become the perfect golden color in the oven, they were still flimsy and not even remotely crisp. Like magic though, they firmed up within a minute or two of being pulled from the oven and were perfect! The chips are a great snack on their own, or, as the magazine suggested, they'd also be a really neat garnish alongside another apple dessert.
PS - If you don't have a mandoline, don't worry - I've seen plenty of posts about apple chips made with just a knife to slice the apple. Here's one from my friend Rachel that looks awesome. If you try it with this recipe, please let us know how it worked!
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