Baked Apple Chips

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I love it when I learn how to make something new. I started baking my own apple chips about five years ago when I was looking for dried fruit to go on a baked brie platter I was making for a friend’s housewarming party. I already had the usual dried fruit suspects in my pantry: cranberries, cherries and apricots. Since it was autumn at the time I thought a few dried apples would look nice on the platter as well. I didn’t want the thick dried apple chunks usually sold at the grocery store. I wanted the apples to be a little more refined, so I drove across town to a specialty food store in search of “gourmet” dried apples.

As luck would have it, the apple chips were on display and on sale. I grabbed a couple of bags and carried them to the checkout line. And I almost passed out when the cashier said, “That’ll be $21.61.”

The only reason I remember this exact amount is because it seemed so outrageous to me that two 3-ounce bags of dried up apples cost more than two burger-and-fries lunch specials—including drinks with free refills—at my favorite dive.

I took off my glasses, cleaned them and rubbed my eyes, so I could hear better. (Trust me, it works.) After I put my glasses back on, I said, “Excuse me?”

“You’re total is $21.61,” she repeated.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I must have grabbed the gold-plated apple chips. My bad,” I said as a joke.

The cashier wasn’t amused. “Ma’am, they’re not gold-plated, they’re organic. Will that be debit or credit?”

Needless to say, I left those obscenely overpriced organic apple chips at the store and drove home. By the time I pulled into my driveway, I had a plan to google homemade apple chips and make my own. I didn’t have a dehydrator, so it didn’t occur to me that I could actually make dried apples myself. But after a little research online, I had all the information I needed to pull together a batch of fruit chips without breaking the bank.

All I needed to do was slice the apples super thin and bake them under super low heat for a while. The chips turned out beautifully and were the perfect addition to my brie platter. I felt redeemed. And I didn’t have to cash in my 401(k) just to have organic apple chips–which didn’t even come with free refills.

Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post!

Baked Apple Chips
Makes 6 servings

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3 cups water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 large apples (I like Fuji, Gala or Braeburn)

Preheat the oven to 225 °F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the water and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Use a sharp knife or mandolin to slice the apples as thin as possible, about ⅛-inch thick. Soak the apples in the lemon water for 15 minutes. Drain the apples and pat the slices as dry as possible with paper towels. Place them on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer.

Bake the slices for 45 minutes, flip and continue baking for an additional 45 minutes or until the slices are completely dry and crisp. (They won’t continue to crisp up as they cool once you remove them from the oven. The baking time may vary, depending the types of apples you use and how thick you cut them.)

Turn off the oven and crack the door open. Leave the apples in the oven until cooled completely, about 2 hours.

Store the chips in an airtight container for up to 1 week or refrigerate for a month.

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