Well, the holidays are over and what a whirlwind it was. And so much fun. My brothers and their families came to visit and I did a ton of cooking for that, including an enormous batch of chicken ragu, which I smartly froze ahead of time. That was a timesaver. I made big pork loins stuffed with one of my favorite stuffings. I also made Jamie's Peanut Butter Parfaits which were a big hit. We decorated Oreo cookies and I made Cranberry Upside Down Cake. It was all a lot of fun.
I also got to reveal something that I had kept a bit of a secret all year. I started a knitting blog last spring but did not talk about it at all here because I couldn't let my family know about it. In March, I started a big project to knit something for every person in my family by Christmas. I ended up knitting 17 projects for everyone. What a thrill it was to finally present them to everyone during their visit. It was hours of knitting and thousands of stitches and lots of tinking, but a whole lot of love knitted into every item.
We also gave our annual Christmas Eve party at which I give out a homemade goodie at the end of the evening. This year, it was homemade apple chips, which are a fairly healthy thing to snack on and I thought might be nice for everyone during the holidays. I made them the day before the party with the help of my youngest son. We had three ovens going, baking seven pans at one time. After several hours of this, I wondered if I was crazy. But 12 hours later, the last batch was done. You, however, won't be making such large quantites so don't worry. They are very easy.
These apple chips are made by simply slicing apples very thinly on a mandoline, dusting with a little brown sugar and cinnamon and baking very slowly in a low oven for two hours, flipped the slices once after an hour. They end up becoming these nicely dehydrated, crispy sweet apple chips that delicious to eat. You will love them.
These really must be done on a mandoline. I have a heavy duty one by de Buyer that is amazing. I slice potatoes, zucchini, onions, just all kinds of food on that thing. It not only slices food far more thinly than I could by hand, but it does it perfectly uniformly and very quickly. I can zip through a pile of potatoes in no time. If you don't want to invest in one that is that expensive, there are all kinds of cheaper plastic ones that are made now that you can even get a Bed Bath and Beyond. There are many models on Amazon. Even OXO makes a neat little handheld one. A mandoline is really the way to go.
After I made the apple chips, I bagged them in cute little packages I had made up. I did the labels myself on my printer with Epson Self-Adhesive Sheets and designed the labels in Pages on my Mac. So easy. The bags were one pound glassine bags that I ordered at Nashville Wraps. I printed the top labels on card stock, cut them the width of the bags and then just folded them over and stapled them onto the bags. The two fonts I used were Pharmacy and Liorah.
Happy 2012 and I look forward to a great year of cooking with you!
Homemade Apple Chips
for a printable recipe, click here
this makes about 25 chips
1 large Granny Smith apple
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (please do not use wax paper).
Using a mandoline, slice the apples as thinly as you can. Mix the sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl and dip the apple slices lightly in the mixture, just lightly coating them. Lay the slices on the baking sheets, about 12 slices per sheet. Bake for 1 hour. Remove one pan at a time and flip the apple slices over with tongs. When you return pans to oven, also rotate them - put the one that was on the top rack on the bottom. Bake for one more hour. Remove pans from oven. Apple slices will start to harden up pretty quickly. Remove with tongs.