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Kale Chip Recipe Template

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I have been making kale chips for many years now, and I want to point out a few things that I have learned along the way. Each step of my kale-filled journey has been bringing me closer and closer to perfection. I am pretty confident in saying that you might end up eating a whole head of kale in one sitting, so I think it is my responsibility to remind you to drink plenty of water. Dehydrated foods can be dehydrating on the body, so drinking more fluids is always recommended. :)

Selecting Kale:

First of all, start with fresh, crisp kale. Not only do you get more nutrients from fresh kale, but the firmness will also be a fantastic base for a hearty chip. Old wilted kale tends to take on a bitter taste. I prefer curly kale over any other, all the beautiful folds within it offer great cubbies for the sauce to nestle in, which will make the chip very flavorful. No one wants to feel like they are biting into air.

Remove the Stems:

Remove the stems by grabbing the base of the stem with one hand and pushing outwards along the stem to slide off the leaves. Works like a charm! If the stems are limp, this is harder to do, BUT then I already advised against using wilted kale. Either compost the stems or save them for a smoothie, they contain nutrients, but don’t work well texturally in kale chips.

Washing and Drying Kale:

Washing the kale is essential but most important is drying it! Either use a salad spinner or blot it over and over with dry paper towels. Wet kale will make your sauce runny, and it won’t stick well. If you use a salad spinner to remove the excess water, do it in small batches to ensure that all the moisture is being whisked away.

Size Matters:

Don’t tear the kale into too small of pieces. The kale will shrink some while drying, and you don’t want to end up with tiny brittle flakes for chips, well unless of course, that is your goal. No judging here. :) It is also equally important to not present huge kale chips to your friends and family. Large kale chips can be very messy to eat when you have to take multiple bites of one piece.

Create a Thick Sauce:

Another helpful trick is to use a thick sauce, which gives the leaves a heavy coat. Often, especially when making my kale chip recipes, you might doubt me, thinking that I made far too much sauce for the amount of kale. I do this for taste and structure! Trust me. :) If you don’t use enough sauce, the chips will be brittle, and you will be forced to eat them over a bowl as the flakes of sauce will fall all over your chest.


Another good tip is to tear all the kale into bite-sized pieces, putting 3/4 of them in the bowl. Then add all the sauce, start the coating process, and then add the remaining kale if needed. Often I have poured the sauce over all my kale only to find out that I didn’t have enough sauce.  I then had to either make more sauce or be left with wimpy kale chips.

We all Deserve a Massage:

Be gentle as you carefully massage the sauce into the kale; make sure to coat each piece heavily. Don’t over massage though, like we do when making kale salads. If you over massage the kale pieces it will cause the membrane walls to break down and will weaken the chip.

Dehydrating Kale Chips:

I always suggest that you line the dehydrator trays with either the nonstick teflex sheets that come with it or parchment paper. Don’t use wax paper because food tends to stick to it. I used to place the kale directly onto the mesh sheet, but I found it more difficult to remove the chips because they would stick in the little holes.


Make sure that the trays are lined and ready to go before you start massaging the sauce into the kale. Your hands will be loaded with sauce, and you don’t want to get that all over the sides of trays. Drying times will always vary depending on the climate you live in, humidity also plays an important role. The type of unit you have and how full it is can change the dry time. And lastly, how large the chunks are and how heavily coated they are will be a determining factor as well. For those of you who don’t own a dehydrator, order one, and while you are waiting for Amazon to deliver it, I posted baking instructions below.

Storage:

After making kale chips for years, I find that it is best to store them in hard-sided containers that are made from BPA-free plastic or glass.  Storing them in bags will result in crushed chips, and crushed chips make for crushed spirits. If the chips start to take on moisture over time, pop them back into the dehydrator at 115 degrees (F) for a few hours.

Msking-Kale-Chips-6The Other Green Leaf

I encourage you to try other leafy greens such as chard, collard greens, dinosaur kale, beet greens, bok choy, or Brussels sprouts. Each one offers up different nutrient profiles and flavors.

Preparation:

Kale Prep:

  1. Selecting Kale:
    • Don’t use wilted or old kale; it can have a bitter undertone.
    • I prefer Curly Kale because all of the folds hold onto the sauce.
  2. Wash and de-stem your kale.
    • Start by washing the kale and blotting it dry. You can also use a salad spinner if you own one.
    • Make sure you get as much excess water off of the kale as possible. If you don’t, it will make your sauce “soupy.” Set aside.
    • Starting at the bottom, strip away the leaf leaving behind only the stem.
    • Tear the remaining leaves into pieces that are a tad larger than bite-size since they tend to shrink.

Sauce Prep:

  1. In a high-powered blender, combine the ingredients and blend until the sauce is creamy smooth.
    • Due to the volume and the creamy texture that we are going after, it is essential to use a high-powered blender. It could be too taxing on a lower-end model.
    • Create a vortex in the blender to help ensure that the sauce is blended into a creamy texture.
    • What is a vortex? Look into the container from the top and slowly increase the speed from low to high, the batter will form a small vortex (or hole) in the center. High-powered machines have containers that are designed to create a controlled vortex. They systematically fold ingredients back to the blades for smoother blends and faster processing, instead of just spinning ingredients around hoping they find their way to the blades.
    • If your machine isn’t powerful enough or built to do this, you may need to stop the unit often to scrape down the sides.
    • This process can take 1-3 minutes, depending on the strength of the blender. Keep your hand cupped around the base of the blender carafe to feel for warmth. If the batter is getting too warm., stop the machine and let it cool, then proceed once cooled.

Assembly:

  1. Place the torn kale into a very large bowl.
  2. Pour in the sauce and gently and evenly coat each piece of kale with your hands.
    • Making kale chips is a “hands-on” job. Stirring with a spoon doesn’t do the trick.
    • I would suggest removing any jewelry from your fingers. I have temporarily lost a ring here and there.

Dehydrator Method:

  1. Have the dehydrator trays ready by lining them with nonstick teflex or parchment paper.
    • Don’t use wax paper because food tends to stick to it.
    • Spread all the trays out in advance because soon your hands will be covered in sauce and you don’t want to get it all over.
  2. Place the kale on the nonstick sheets. You can do this one of two ways:
    • Lay each piece semi-flat if you want to create individual pieces. This method is more time-consuming, and the chips tend to be a little bit more fragile.
    • Or, drop clumps of coated kale on the sheets. You will create hardy clusters that are loaded with sauce and flavor. This method is my personal preference.
  3. Dehydrate at 115 degrees (F) for about 6-8 hrs or until dry.
    • I tend to pull mine out before it gets 100% dry because I like it a little chewy.
    • The dry time is just an estimate. The climate, humidity, dehydrator and how full the machine is will all affect how long it will take to dry.
  4. Store in an airtight glass container and be ready to nibble non-stop till the last crumb is gone!
  5. If the kale chips start taking on some humidity from the environment, you can place them back into the dehydrator for a few hours at 115 degrees (F).

Oven Method:

  1. Please use as a guide and closely monitor the kale chips as they cook.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (F), anything higher and you risk burning the chips.
  3. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the kale chips on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 15 minutes.
    • The bake times will vary based on your oven, but it’s a good starting point!
  5. Once you pull the tray from the oven, allow the chips to cool on the baking sheet.
  6. Store in an airtight glass container and be ready to nibble non-stop till the last crumb is gone!

The picture below shows the PERFECT kale for kale chips. Look at all those

folds, it is just begging to hold onto some good sauce!

kale2

There is something wrong with the picture below, do you know what?

kale5

There’s NOT enough sauce on it!  Do you see it now? This next photo is more like it. :)

kale4

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