Winter Apple Chips

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A few days ago my daughter gave me a hug as I left for work and as she had her little face dug into my jacket she said “Mommy, you smell like the airport!” No, not kerosene smell, the smell of the inside, the terminals. I hadn’t worn the jacket since the last time we went traveling. I wasn’t able to make that scent connection when I sniffed my jacket, but was amazed at my little 4-year old’s ability to connect these 2 things.

Isn’t it amazing how some scents can bring back memories or just remind you of a certain time of year? Something in our brain can make us associate smells with moments in our lives. When I make overnight chicken stock, the following morning the house has this wonderful smell as if we were roasting a turkey. Mmmmh, Thanksgiving Day! Can you smell it?

can you smell this

Winter brings the most amazing scents to the kitchen, as it’s time for savory roasts and sweet baked goodness. It’s the season for aromas of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. But especially cinnamon! And what goes better with cinnamon than the sweetness of apples? Not much, I think. That’s why last night it was time to make another batch of cinammon-ey apple chips.

Every time I make those, my (non-fresh-fruit-eating) daughter gets super excited as she loves apple chips! She can eat them by the handful. I’m glad she does because although not fresh, she still eats some real fruit with all the fiber! I don’t peel the apples, but make sure we use organic ones. Apples are in the top of the “dirty dozen” so definitely one of those foods you should always buy organic.

Apples are amazing little things. The term “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” really has truth to it. Apples are full of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. The peel of the apple contains important antioxidants, so buy organic and don’t peel them. Regular consumption of apples can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and asthma. The fiber in apples (pectin) helps lower cholesterol and strengthen your intestinal muscles (so you can poop easier, yes!).

apple-cinnamon

I love cinnamon. I really do! I put it in my oatmeal, my pancakes, my granola, and these apple chips. I bet it would be delicious on pear chips, too! The last time we ran out of cinnamon my husband bought me the extra large container! I anticipate it lasting maybe 6 months :)

Cinnamon doesn’t just smell great, it has some serious health benefits as well. Some of the confirmed effects of cinnamon are: stimulates circulation, aids digestion, antibiotic, anti-ulcerative, and it’s carminative (=relieves gas). Regular intake of cinnamon can even reduce your fasting blood sugar levels, and lower LDL (=bad) cholesterol. Pretty amazing little thing, huh? Buy some good quality cinnamon though. Look for Ceylon Cinnamon
. Most cinnamon you find at the supermarket is the Cassia kind and that one has a greater coumarin content (which in large doses can be harmful).

You could sprinkle the cinnamon right on top of some fresh apple slices as well, but today I’m all about the amazing smell of baked apples, so let’s get to it!

One last note: I actually don’t bake the apples, I dehydrate them. My oven has a dehydrate setting, but if yours doesn’t, then see if yours goes as low as 150 degrees. That’s about the temperature point where you start loosing the apples’ beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and antioxidants and I want to keep those. Dehydrating takes A LOT longer than baking the chips, that’s why I do this overnight. If you’re pressed for time you can also bake the chips at about 250 degrees for 3-5 hours (keep checking on them).

Here’s what you’ll need for about 3 baking sheets full:

4-6 medium organic apples

1 tbsp butter for greasing the baking sheets

cinnamon (I’m really not sure how much as I sprinkle it right out of the container…, maybe 2 tbsp)

a sharp knife,

or for much easier cutting, and super even, thin slices use a Mandoline Slicer. I got one for an early Christmas present and I love it! Makes this so much easier and faster.

apple sliced

Get your baking sheets ready by buttering them up really well. You could also use parchment paper, but the butter really keeps the slices from sticking once they start to dry out.

Preheat your oven to 145 degrees.

Slice the apple in 1/8″ slices. With the Mandoline you can go even thinner.

You can either use an Apple Corer before slicing or if you don’t have one, just leave the core in (it gets soft during baking). Or you can get a really small round cookie cutter and cut out the middle after you sliced the apple. Don’t overthink it though :)

Lay the apple slices flat on the baking sheet, without overlapping them.

Sprinkle them with cinnamon and then off they go in the oven!

apple slices sprinkled

I dehydrate them overnight for about 10-12 hours. I know that’s a long time, but just think of it as 10-12 hours of delicious apple-cinnamon smell going through your house :)

They may still feel just a little soft and pliable when you take them out and that’s ok. They get crisp once you put them up. Definitely store in an airtight container or they will get chewy.

apple chips closeup2

These chips are a great snack, especially for school lunch boxes, or for when you’re on the road. You can eat them just like that or chop them up into your oatmeal. I recently started making my own oatmeal mixes (recipe is coming!), and my favorite one to date is my “apple strudel” version. I store them in the little canning jars and just fill it up with hot water when I’m ready.

Applestrudel oatmeal top
homemade instant oatmeal

 

If you love the smell of the holidays as much as I do, you have to get yourself one of the scented candles from Nest. They last a while and the smell is just perfect for Christmas. It has just enough of the fresh Christmas tree smell, but not overpowering. Mixed with a little bit of pomegranate, Mandarin orange, pine, cloves and cinnamon with a hint of vanilla and amber. DIVINE!!! Go get one here:

 

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