Kale chips have become one of the nation’s favorite healthy snacks. They’re crunchy, crispy, and filled with all the nutrients of fresh kale, making them a no-guilt, delicious between-meal treat. But at $7.00 (and more) a bag, this addictive snack is a pricey one. To keep costs down, many people make their own kale chips. Fortunately, kale chip recipes are everyone online. Unfortunately, many people find that their finished kale chips look and taste nothing like those crispy treats they buy from their local health food or grocery store. By avoiding a few common mistakes, however, it is possible to create light, crispy, delicious kale chips at home.
Mistake #1: Not removing the rib from the center of the kale leaf. This thick, fibrous rib is filled with moisture. When placed in the oven, it releases moisture into the air, causing the kale leaves to steam instead of crisp. The result? Flabby chips. To remove the rib, simply fold the leave in half lengthwise, grip the top of the rib, and pull down. Or you can cut the rib out.
Mistake #2: Not using bone-dry kale leaves. If your kale has even the smallest amount of moisture on it, the leaves will steam instead of bake. Steamed leaves are pliable and flabby. Baked leaves are light and crispy. To remove the last vestiges of moisture, whir kale leaves in a salad spinner. You can even dry leaves with a hairdryer set to “cool” to remove excess water before baking.
Mistake #3: Using too much oil. The type of oil you use for kale chips doesn’t matter. The amount of oil you use greatly matters. Use too much and you get heavy, soggy, chewy chips. To ensure you use the bare minimum amount of oil, here’s a trick: Place clean, dry, rib-free leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle with a baking teaspoon or teaspoon-and-a-half of oil. Using dry hands, toss leaves in the bowl until all oil is equally distributed.
You’re now ready to lay leaves flat on an un-greased baking tray and bake. Don’t forget to check your kale leaves half-way through baking and turn them when the edges begin to crisp. Chips are crispiest when they are baked evenly on both sides. Just be sure you don’t over-bake your chips. Kale leaves can go from toasty to burned in less than a minute. And lastly, allow your chips to cool on the baking tray for the lightest, crispiest results.