So the other day I impulsively picked up a package of Brad’s Kale Chips (“Nasty Hot” flavor) and was immediately addicted. But at $7 for a small bag, they weren’t exactly budget-friendly. Then a friend of mine posted about making them herself and I decided I had to give it a try!
Googling “Kale chips” turns up hundreds of recipes, but I wanted to attempt to replicate these particular chips as much as possible. All I had at my disposal, however, was the list of ingredients from their website: red bell pepper, cashews, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, jalapeno, nutritional yeast, salt, cayenne. I also knew that these chips were dehydrated, not baked.
Well. I had a dehydrator. I had kale. I had bell and jalapeno peppers, a lemon, cayenne, and nutritional yeast. No sunflower seeds or cashews, but I had some peanuts…what the heck, let’s give it a shot!
I started with Tuscan kale, my favorite, but you could easily work with curly kale as well. Remove the stem and cut into small strips.
I made a dressing by blending the juice of one lemon plus about a teaspoon of water, with the remaining ingredients. I used about 1.5 tablespoons of crushed peanuts, a tablespoon of the yeast, about a teaspoon each of minced jalapeno and pepper (actually I used Penzey’s dehydrated variety), and quarter teaspoon of cayenne.
I tossed the Kale with this dressing and lay each strip in the dehydrator. I don’t have a fancy dehydrator where you can actually control the temperature. It just has an on/off switch.
So, how did they turn out?
Surprisingly, the chips from the dehydrator were crisp in under two hours. I thought they would take much longer. Unfortunately, however, probably due to the fact that they are, well, raw, the lemon did not cook off as much as I would have liked. Normally, fruit juices and essences are extremely ephemeral, which is why you add them at the end of cooking. But not in this case. Because these chips were not cooked. Duh. So, they were very sour. Next time I would use a LOT less lemon juice — maybe half, and dilute it with water.
The rest of the seasonings seemed fine though these were only mildly hot — I will add more cayenne next time. At the end of the day, they were edible, but could use some definite improvement.
The chips I baked, on the other hand, did not turn out at ALL.
I have no idea what went wrong. For the most part, they did not crisp up but just got all nasty and wilted. A few of them did, but they had a weird metallic, burnt taste. Any thoughts as to where I went wrong?
Bottom line: I need to tweak this recipe a little more. Maybe I’ll even bother to get some sunflower seeds and cashews too. My quest for delicious and addictive kale chips is not over! Stay tuned…