Spicy-Sweet Apple Chips

I think that I was a squirrel in a previous life. Each fall I scurry about loading up at the farmers market, shoving as much winter squash as my little re-usable grocery bag can hold, fearful that I’m not getting enough to last until spring. I get a little panicky.

I was in full squirrel mode when my husband and I went apple picking a couple of weekends ago in the Hudson Valley. Boy, did we do some picking…a hefty bushel. That’s a lot of apples.

We picked some at Stone Ridge Farms. They were crisp, delicious, but not all that pretty. Apparently if you don’t spray apples, they can develop russet, which is a little unsightly but actually sought after by some apple connoisseurs for its spicy characteristics. You won’t find any russet apples at the supermarket.

Next, we went to Mr. Apples. Mr. Apples is another low-spray orchard. The orchard didn’t have the expansive views that Stone Ridge had, but the hand-made signs, colorful proprietor and delicious apples made it worth the stop.

I was very satisfied with our apple haul.

The other day I experimented making apple chips. I tried various versions. Here’s the recipe I liked best:

Spicy-Sweet Apple Chips

Slice a couple of apples very thin. Making them consistent is the trickiest part. If they aren’t consistent, some will taste like chips, while some will be chewy like dried apples, which isn’t the end of the world.

Mix a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a pinch of salt and tablespoon of sugar. Dip the apple slices in the mixture. I just dip one edge. You can also leave them plain, and they will still be delicious.

Line a cooling rack with parchment paper. You can cook them on a lined cookie sheet, but it will take longer.

Bake at 250º for 30 minutes, Turn and bake for another 30 minutes. If the slices are thick, you’ll need to bake them longer. If you have sliced them super-thin, be sure to keep an eye on them. Yes, you CAN burn apples slices even at the low temp of 250º. Until the other day, I would have said that was crazy.

Once they are light brown, remove from the oven and let cool. Be sure to store the apple chips in an airtight container so they’ll stay crisp.