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Friday, 11 September 2015

Carrot and Kale Crisps: Crunchy Goodness for Pennies

Following on from my success of the apple crisps (and by success I mean they lasted 30 seconds between two friends) I decided to see if there were any other healthy, but expensive, crisps I could replicate. Low and behold, there were, and so began the experiment of carrot crisps.

The fact that you are baking these (and I did it without oil) really brings out the flavour of the carrots and also means that you are getting all the crunchy satisfaction you want from a snack, with the barely there calories of a carrot (about 25 for an average medium carrot). Also, I managed to get a whole 1kg bag of these beauties for just 55p at my local Lidl, meaning I could experiment as much as needed for you lovely blog readers.

I started off in a similar way to the apple crisps ( by slicing up the carrot as thinly as possible. However, this proves to be quite fiddly with a carrot and difficult to get an even slice. Nevertheless, I ploughed on and layed them onto a baking tray, lined with baking paper:

(Don't worry, I'll explain the random strips in a second)

So I put these in the oven for about 10 minutes and then turned them over and checked on them in another 10 minutes or so. Only issue was, they had shrunk. A lot. Although the crispy ones were very tasty, as it had been so difficult to slice them evenly, some were just soft and hot. Not the crisp like texture I was after.

I decided to change tactics.This is where the strips comes in. By using the carrot peeler to create long thin strips of carrot, I was getting a much more even thickness. Again, I put them in the oven at 180 degrees, but this time checked on them after just 5 minutes, and continued to do so until they were crisp and ready.
(Note that some of the originals still aren't cooked. The rest I may have eaten)

The result? Spirals of crispy carrot that look fun and different to your ususual crisps, but taste so much better. A nice addition at this stage is some seasoning: salt, grated parmesan, or pepper work particularly well.

The final, studenty touch, was to display them in a shot glass and think about the fact I had been making and experimenting with carrot crisps instead of studying for the past hour...

Kale Crisps

I have been experimenting making crisps with other vegetables since making that original post, and so thought it was only polite to keep you lot updated!

I was in my local Tesco and saw a bag of 180g of kale reduced to 59p in the 'still fresh' section (one of the best places in a supermarket, I once found rolls for 2p 5 minutes to closing time). This is still cheaper than some individual bags of crisps so I thought I would treat myself and experiment.

Now something I have learnt is that you can't leave your kale crisps as you would carrot or apple crisps, as they tend to burn a lot quicker. Also, most people recommend using oil, but I am trying to limit it in my diet at the moment, and so needed something else to stop the crisps from drying out too quickly. 

One method, is to fill a bowl with water (with or without a couple of drops of lemon juice for flavour), and toss the kale in it before removing. Then leave the kale to almost dry before adding spices (the dampness allows the spices to stick more easily).

To recreate salt and vinegar crisps, try tossing the kale in balsamic vinegar (with or without oil) and a little salt. Or a favourite of mine is to use a little reduced salt soy sauce.

After you have tossed the kale in whatever flavours tickle your fancy, pop the kale on a baking tray lined with grease proof baking paper and bake in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius. Then check on them every 5 minutes or so, turning them around and shaking the tray to get an even bake, and that all important crispiness.
The Kale in the picture is about a quarter of the 59p bag I got, so I made a good few batches with different flavours to try. (yes, that is more carrot crisps in the background. It's becoming a joke in our flat how often I make these for study snacks)

All that's left is to serve up and enjoy the guilt free snacking! 

How do you like your Kale Crisps?

Any more suggestions, comments or challenges let me know, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @LaurieBeat Thanks :)

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