Apple chips are one of my favorite snacks, but since I don't own a dehydrator, I never thought about making them at home. For some reason I thought drying the fruit in the oven would take a prohibitively long time, or use up more energy than it was worth, but it turns out thinly-sliced apple slices take two hours or less to transform into crisp, sweet chips.
I was inspired by Emily's post on five uses for apple chips, which mentions making apple chips in an oven, and was guided by Emma's post on drying fruit without a dehydrator. The basic method is the same: fruit is laid out on parchment-lined baking sheets and baked at a low temperature for several hours, until most of the moisture has cooked away.
I baked two unpeeled apples, one sliced whole with a mandoline, the other cored with a melon baller and sliced with a mandoline into ¼-inch rings. (A wider mandoline helps make prettier slices; with my narrow Benriner, I had to cut off the sides of the apple to make it fit.) I didn't season them with anything — although a little cinnamon or nutmeg would be nice — just laid the slices in a single layer on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and popped them into an 225°F oven.
After an hour, I turned the slices over. The cored rings were much crisper than the uncored whole slices, so they only took another 30 minutes in the oven. The whole slices baked for a total of two hours. After taking the chips out of the oven, I spread them on wire cooling racks and once they were cool, packed them into airtight containers (with a handful snacked on immediately, of course).
Was this project worth it? I think so, especially if you are trying to find a way to use up apples that are past their prime. I only ended up with a small container of chips, but if I had filled my oven to capacity, I would have made as many chips as I typically buy in a bag, for less than I normally pay. Plus, the super-sweet, almost caramelized flavor of these chips is much better than that of store-bought. This is a good lazy Sunday cooking project, when you feel like being in the kitchen, but don't want to take on anything too involved.
Have you ever made apple chips? How do you do it?
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)