Before you begin reading this post, please observe a moment of silence for the many sweet potatoes that gave their lives to make it possible.
I found a recipe for Chipotle Sweet Potato Chips on The Minimalist Baker blog. As usual, I have no idea what I was looking for – not that, anyway – but I found it and it sounded delicious: spicy, sweet, crunchy, and oh yes, reasonably healthy. So, I wandered off to the local expensive all-organic supermarket to buy some first-class sweet potatoes and chipotle powder, and made a batch that very evening. So easy: slice, toss, and bake.
Several things went wrong with the first batch, only half of which were my fault. First, the chips didn’t really crisp up, except for the ones that burned, which weren’t very pleasant to eat. Truth be known, the soggy ones weren’t that pleasant to eat, either, because The Minimalist Baker, she does like her spice – these soggy chips were seriously, inedibly spicy.
They also looked nothing like her gloriously photogenic chips, and so I went back over the recipe, to find my mistakes. The first big mistake here was not flipping the chips halfway through the baking, as per her recipe. I recommend you don’t skip this step.
Second, I managed to rub my eye and get some chipotle powder in it; I recommend you do skip this step.
I tried the recipe again a few days later, and the only modifications I made were to cut the amount of spice (by nearly half!), and remember to flip the chips after 20 minutes. The resulting chips were marginally more edible – at least, I didn’t feel like my tongue was going to be burned off by them – but I still had the same half-soggy, half-burned-to-a-crisp mix of chips.
It occurred to me that the problem of sogginess might be caused by too much oil, so I decided to reduce the quantities of everything and try to get the mix right … one potato at a time. This approach worked much better, as the final batch was still quite spicy, but tolerably so, and I had only a very few chips that were slightly soggy – but only slightly, whereas the previous attempts had produced nearly gummy chips.
I liked these chips and they were a great mid-afternoon snack – but only if you like things spicy. Even dramatically reducing the amount of spice resulted in a quite spicy chip – and there were still some that were, well, gummy.
I adore gummy bears and gummy cola bottles but somehow I don’t see huge demand for gummy sweet potato chipotle anything.
I tried slicing sweet potatoes by hand, but could not get them quite thin enough. Slicing them with the 4mm slicing blade of my Cuisinart produced mostly good chips. I tried a batch using the 2mm slicing blade and they were completely scorched at the 40 minute mark. Yes, I should have realized that cutting the chips thinner might mean I should cut the baking time. But I didn’t realize they would be quite this over-sensitive.
Not only were they scorched, this batch also made my eyes water, so thick was the smoke in my kitchen. On the bright side, I found out that I need new batteries in my smoke alarm before there was an actual emergency.
I tried one last tray of them in the oven, cut with the 2mm slicing disk (very thin), and then watched them like a hawk for the remaining ten or so minutes of cooking. I removed chips as they started to get very brown on the other edges, and returned other chips to the oven.
The most frustrating thing about this recipe is that it seems like it should work – and mostly, it came close on one batch (cut with a 4mm blade and pictured above). Pretty, right? And tasty, too. But honestly, this recipe was just so hard to get right that I finally gave up. If I want spicy chips, I’ll just pick some up at the overpriced organic supermarket.
I haven’t given up on the idea of oven-baked chips, though: I do think this would work using something that scorches a little less easily than sweet potatoes. I’ll keep you posted.