Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to Make 4 Different Kinds of Zucchini Chips

I know what you're thinking... zucchini. Blech. Not everyone's favorite vegetable and I can relate. The only time I can remember liking zucchini was in the 7th grade when we made zucchini brownies in Home Ec. (does that class still exist in schools nowadays?). So when I saw this post by TheCopperCollective on how to make tasty zucchini chips, I'll admit... I was curious. Will the different flavors mask or enhance the flavor of the zucchini? And the comments on the original post are all over the board when it comes to how long it takes to actually make them, so I figured I'd give them a shot and give you some pointers on what NOT to do!

There are four different kinds of chips I attempted: salt & vinegar, chili powder, curry powder, and parmesan cheese. In order to make these I used:

*Chili Powder
*Curry Powder
*Parmesan Cheese
*Olive Oil
*Bread Crumbs
*1 medium zucchini (which makes a little over 100 chips!)

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. I know, I know, the original post says 450 but it's nonsense and I'll show you why later. 350 degrees and grease your cookie sheets (PAM works fine).

Slice your zucchini really thin. Thickness is totally up to you. The super thin chips tasted most like actual chips but they burn very quickly if you're not paying attention. Most of mine were about 1/8" thick. If you have one of these handheld slicers, it's freaking amazing (I bought the Zyliss 2-in-1 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $20 when I just wanted a toilet paper holder...). I sliced the zucchini over 100 times in less than a minute!

Next, take however many you like and add them to a bowl with about a Tablespoon of olive oil. Coat all the slices in the oil.

For the parmesan, curry, and chili chips, I followed this same process: add 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of salt (the original post says 1/2 teaspoon but I found they were too salty with that much!), and a dash of pepper to a small bowl. Dip the zucchini slice in the bowl and cover both sides.

Once covered, place the slices on the prepared baking sheet. If you want to add curry or chili powder, now would be the time to do it.

Now here's where it gets a bit tricky... see, the original post said 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes. So, I placed them in the oven and walked away. After 10 minutes, they were burnt to a crisp.

So here's my advice: keep a very watchful eye on these. I came up with a plan that might not work for you (because you have better things to do than hover over an oven), but here's what worked for me.

1. Place the chips in the 350 degree oven for 7-8 minutes or until they start turning golden brown
2. Once the time is up, take out the pan, flip over the slices, and bake another 3 minutes

This seemed to do the trick... for me. Now your oven may heat differently than mine, your slices may be thicker/thinner than mine, so this is definitely a trial and error process. Don't be upset if your first batch has chips that look like this...

...rather than this. They can, and do, become crispy with enough time.

As for the salt & vinegar chips, I placed my zucchini slices in a bag with vinegar for about 45 minutes (the original post recommends an hour). I found after 45 minutes, they were definitely flavorful! Just lay them on the prepared cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt, and follow the same baking times as before!

If you put them on the fridge, the cat can't get to them!
And there you have it kids - delicious, flavorful, and healthy zucchini chips! How long do they keep? Well, I put mine in a plastic bag and the next day, they were all chewy, not crispy, so I recommend eating them the same day!

What flavors would you like to try or recommend?

TOTAL COSTS: Depends on chips -
$.99 for salt
$4.79 for vinegar
$3.99 for chili powder
$5.99 for curry powder
$3.50 for parmesan cheese
$1.99 for olive oil
$1.99 for bread crumbs
$.99 for 1 zucchini
Pepper already on hand but really, it's just a sprinkle

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: About an hour and a half (to make over 100 slices with four flavors!)
15 minutes to prep zucchini
1 hour, 10 minutes to make all 100+ slices

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 4 out of 5
They're not impossible to make, trust me, but it is trial and error in the beginning. You don't want them to burn but you don't want them to flop around. You want them to be flavorful but not overpower your taste buds and leave you gasping for water. Once you figure out what works best for you, they're very easy to make, just don't give up on your first batch!

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