Start to Finish: 10 minutes
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Since cinnamon and apple are natural complements, you can prepare a snack in minutes that everyone will enjoy. With a little equipment and more time, however, elevate this simple snack to something more memorable. Go with a raw version, or use heat to imbue the apple with cinnamon.
- 6 apples
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 lemon
Make Quick Slices
Wash the apples in cold water and remove the stalk and any surface blemishes. Leave the skin on, but cut out any sections that are bruised or soft. Remove the core with an apple decorer, a single-purpose gadget with a serrated cutting edge that punches out the core with a simple twist. If you don’t own a decorer, slice the apple in half with a paring knife and excise the core with the blade.
Cut each apple half vertically into four segments. To keep the apple from browning, drop each segment into a bowl of cold water to which you’ve added teaspoonfuls of lemon juice.
Remove the apple segments from the water one by one, shake off any excess water, and lay them in a microwaveable glass or plastic dish with a lid. Use up all the space, but try not to let the slices overlap. Sprinkle the cinnamon powder liberally over the apple slices along with brown sugar.
Cover the dish with the lid and microwave it on full power for 2 minutes; then check the dish. The apple slices should be warm but not mushy, while the sugar and cinnamon should be absorbed into the flesh. Microwave for a further minute if desired.
Take out the dish from the microwave and consume them as quickly as possible. The slices should be sturdy enough to hold between the fingers, but soft to the bite. Be warned, however, that results can vary considerably depending on the type of apple.
Bake Crispy Apple
Bake the apple slices for added texture and more intense flavor. Thinner slicing, however, is necessary. Wash the apples in cold water, remove the core with a decorer or knife and slice each into thin — 1/4-inch — rounds with a mandoline. If this niche piece of equipment isn’t available, some steady work with a sharp knife should be enough to slice the apple into thin rounds with a hole at the center where the core was previously.
Lay the apple slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, in a single layer with no overlapping. If the apple slices show signs of browning, which happens more quickly in some varieties than others, squeeze lemon juice over the segments. Dust the apple slices with cinnamon powder and sprinkle with sugar to taste, depending on the natural sweetness of the apple variety.
Bake in an oven preheated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours, turning the slices halfway through and dusting the reverse side with cinnamon. Once the slices are crisp around the edges, noticeably curled, and slightly papery, remove the tray from the oven and allow the slices to cool.
Consume the apple slices straight away, or store them for later. The texture should be chewy with a slight snap.
Store the apple slices in an airtight container. Kept in a resealable plastic bag or snap-shut container, apple chips will keep for a week at room temperature, but allow them to cool first before bagging and squeeze out as much air as possible.
Experiment with different apple varieties. The difference between a tart Braeburn and a sweet Gala, for example, can be impressive. If going for the microwave slice, Cortlands are ideal as they don’t brown quickly. If making chips, Golden Delicious have a firm, dense flesh that crisps up well.
Bear in mind that dehydrating apples in the oven significantly reduces the overall volume, one of the reasons apple slices are a much-honored energy boost for hikers and mountaineers who don’t want to carry excess weight.