Item: TopChips Chip Tray
Overall Impression: Handy! These trays aren't a magic bullet for perfect chips, but they certainly make the process easier and simpler.
One of the biggest hitches to making our much-loved microwave potato chips is the labor-intensive process of making them. They require numerous batches at different microwave times and with constant adjustments to power strengths — all for a few handfuls of chips. These silicone trays from TopChips help simplify the process.
Characteristics and Specs: These trays are roughly the size of dinner plates and are made of flexible nonstick silicone. The surface is perforated to allow airflow from all sides and up to three trays can be stacked and used simultaneously. The trays can go in the dishwasher and be stored on their sides.
Favorite details: Using the tray definitely cuts down on cooking time. Potato chips baked perfectly in three minutes with no need to reduce microwave time or flip the chips partway through cooking. Baked chips easily lift off the tray without sticking. The silicone warms in the microwave, but never gets as scorching hot as dinner plates tend to do after a few rounds. This alone makes these trays worthwhile!
Potential problems: The flexible silicone is almost too flexible. They tend to twist and wobble slightly as you carry them, which means taking some extra care as you transfer the trays in and out of the microwave. This isn't a huge issue overall, but just something I found annoying while trying to make batches quickly.
Splurge-worthy? Yes, if you love microwave chips and make them often.
Good for small kitchens? If space is an issue for you, then stick to making microwave chips on dinner plates.
The TopChips trays are an improvement over using a dinner plate, for sure. They do cut down on cooking time and make the whole process of making microwave chips more streamlined. That said, making a batch of microwaved chips with these trays still requires some time and effort on your part.
Making an entire bowl of chips still requires multiple rounds in the microwave. I was able to cook a medium-sized potato in four batches at 2 1/2 to 3 minutes each. This is about the same number of batches as when I use a dinner plate, but in half the time and without needing to flip the chips.
Stacking the two trays to make more chips in a single batch didn't seem to significantly reduce the overall cooking time. The chips on the stacked trays cooked in about five minutes. Instead, I preferred to have one tray cooking while prepping the next tray. Cooking chips on a cooled tray also seemed to help make cooking times and chip-browning more consistent.
I also tried making a batch of apple chips, but didn't have as much success as with the potato chips. The apple chips tended to scorch before they had fully crisped. There is potential here, but I'll need to tweak my process some more before I can get reliable results.
Overall, I thought these trays were fun and handy. If you make microwave chips frequently, they will make the process a little more streamlined. If microwave chips is an occasional treat, then a simple dinner plate still works perfectly fine.
Find It! TopChips Chip Tray, $19.95 at Sur la Table
(Images: Emma Christensen)