Thursday, December 15, 2011

Homemade Apple Chips

I recently became all smitten with the idea of making homemade things.  Things that you would normally just buy at the store.  Things like graham crackers, saltines, goldfish, marshmallows, jello, and yeah, apple chips.  So very homemaker-y of me, I know.

It started when my mom, son, and I recently took a trip to West Virginia to visit my grandmother, and decided to stop along the way at Hill High Orchard's Country Store and pick up a pie for granny (one of their thirty different varieties) for her birthday.  They have all kinds of goodies, things that are what many people would probably call southern and/or old-fashioned, but honestly, their baked goods are the best.  I made the boring-healthy-annoying mommy choice and skipped over the yummy donuts, breads, pies and such (and seriously, I make enough of this stuff at home on my own anyway) and opted for the apple chips.

Yeah, apple chips.

I opened them and my son began to scarf them down.  I tried to snag one from him, and he screeched maniacally, swatting me with his little hands, chanting "Mine, Mommy! Miiiiiiiine!"

Huh...he really likes these.

I decided to investigate how to made these suckers at home.  Couldn't be too hard, could it?  I found a recipe online at a site that offered many recipes for homemade-store-bought items (that make any sense?) and it didn't require a dehumidifier (Damn it!  It really is embarrassing that I keep calling it that.) dehydrator.

All it called for was apples, an oven, and a reeeeaaallly long period of time, to the tune of 6 hours.  Finding this long of a stretch of time where I didn't need to leave the house or wasn't asleep was challenging in and of itself.  The first time I attempted to make them, I had to leave and go to my parents'.  I didn't want to leave with the oven on, so I turned it off, ran over there, and turned it back on when I promptly returned.  The apple chips did not like that (see below).  But, I tried again, and well, see the results for yourself.

I started small with two beautiful Red Delicious apples

And channeling my grandpa, peeled it all in one go.

It was hard though because these apples are softer on the inside,
 so the peeler kept stopping every few seconds.
  So it was done very delicately, very slowly.

You can also keep the peel on.  Faster, for sure,
 and that's where all the nutrients are, am I right?

You'll want to keep the slices thin and pretty even. 
If not, they will bake unevenly.

If you feel like being all cutesy, and have the time cut out some shapes.
This is a pumpkin linzer cookie cutter.  I thought it looked like an apple, so bad, I know.
Apple shaped apples- ugh!

Line 'em up

Apples were for amusing my son. 
The rest= for me.

So, this is where you can sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar.  And place in your oven on 200 for 6 hours.  2 hours +  later, your house will smell sooooooo good, make you salivate and hungry all at once and then RRRRRRRIIIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGGGGG!!!!  You have to leave, turn oven off, go out, return home, turn oven back on and WAIT what's that smell?  *Forehead smack*

Your cute little pumpkin apples- dashed, like your apple chip dreams.

Note: very hard to clean.

Ok, more like *cry*

When your bitterness subsides a little, attempt again.  Oven at 200, long duration of time available.  Repeat:

Chop, chop, chop

This time settle on owls. 
Yeah, owls are definitely better luck than fake pumpkin apples.

Make life easy and have low hopes.  The other tray is just sliced apples, forget the cute.

Sprinkle, sprinkle

Put into oven.  Feel smart, check on them like an hour and a half into the baking, and whaaa?  They are done?  Yeah, they were.  They weren't crispy though, chewy.  More like dried apples, not chips or crisps.  But hey, dried apples are good too.

I try them.  Ok.  Not bad.  Chest swelling with something akin to pride.  Alright, I got this.  I offer one to my son.  He puts it in his mouth, moves it around with his tongue and then lets it fall out.  That'll bruise an ego.  Whatever Nick. I like them.  I skulk away with my two little cupcake wrappers of dried apples.  And yes, all that effort and anticipation for this many dried apples.

Apple Cinnamon-y

They were good though, at least

People have since informed me, that it is much easier to accomplish this task, in a lot less time. with one of those dehydrator thingies- humph!

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