Fix Me A Snack

A blog created by a mom who got sick of feeding her kids crackers and ice cream

A fight almost broke out in my kitchen this afternoon. After my kids spent half the day hidden away in their room eating Halloween candy, they pounced on a plate of perfectly roasted kale. We had to take the plate away so that the grown-ups could have a few.

I’ve finally figured out  the right amount of salt and how to avoid burning the little suckers. I know everyone else got into kale chips years ago. But I just couldn’t figure them out. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about and even posted a recipe back in 2010. But even then it seemed like kale chips were nothing more than a snack that super healthy people had talked themselves into. Kale is so chocked full of nutrition it’s hard not to eat some even when it is not at it’s best. But the kids will have none of it unless it tastes good. Kale chips to the rescue.

Like so many of the great snack foods, with kale chips it’s all about the salt. When they’re roasted properly, they’re crispy but they instantly melt in your mouth. There isn’t a ton of flavor unless you get a chip that’s still soggy. So again, it’s all about the salt.

Roasting the chips at a low temperature allows the kale to dry out evenly and avoids burning. Gone are the days of desperately stirring the kale around on the baking sheet trying to let those last few bits dry out before the other half starts to burn. Burnt kale chips are foul and should be outlawed. The extra time is takes to roast the kale at a lower temperature is well worth it.

Kale Chips Recipe

Curly kale is perfectly suited to kale chips. I prefer it greatly to dino/tuscan kale for this recipe. Ripping the leaves off of the stem quickly with your hands rather than removing the stem with a knife saves a lot of time. It takes me 10 minutes to get the kale in the oven, if not less.

1 bunch curly kale
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 generous pinches of fine salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Wash each leaf of kale. Shake off  any excess water and rip each leaf off of the stem and into bite-sized pieces. Discard the stems and place the kale into a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the kale. Coat the kale with the oil using your hands to mix and gently massage the kale until the color starts to brighten and the leaves soften a tad. This only takes a minute. Sprinkle on the salt and mix well.

Spread the kale out over the two baking sheets and place in the top third and lower third of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Lower the oven’s temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pull the baking sheet out of the oven and toss the kale with your hands to redistribute it. Rotate the trays turning them from front to back and switching the top sheet with the bottom sheet. Bake for approximately 15 more minutes or until they are crispy. Taste and sprinkle on more salt if necessary. Serve immediately.

Biscotti are a snack I’ve come a tad obsessed with lately. And this recipe is perfection because it uses up a single overripe banana and we always seem to have one languishing on the counter this winter.

I’ve shied away from biscotti in the past because they can be a little challenging for the kiddos to eat. But it turns out that if you make your own, you can leave them a little soft. Eureka!

Bananas aren’t a typical player in the biscotti universe, as far as I can tell. But the taste is brilliant, especially with the chocolate (surprise!). The whole family loves them and they are relatively low in fat and sugar. The kids have taken to dunking them in tall glasses of milk while we discuss important matters such as whether or not fairies are real.

Chocolate Chip Banana Biscotti Recipe

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Cooking Light housed at My Recipes.

The crispness of the biscotti depends on how thick you slice them and how long they are baked the second time. If you’d like a traditional hard biscotti, bake them until the edges begin to brown (probably an additional 10 minutes). They will crisp up much more when they cool. By the same token, you can cut the second baking time by 5 minutes if you want especially soft biscotti.

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium overripe banana, peeled and mashed well
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup small chocolate chunks or mini chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the banana, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and mix until the mixture starts to form a ball. Add the chocolate and mix to incorporate.

Divide the dough in two and form into logs about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking, if necessary. Place the logs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten them with the palm of your hand so they are about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 25 minutes. When they come out of the oven, turn the heat down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Allow the logs to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. If they hang out longer they will be more likely to crumble when they are sliced. Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to make 1/2 inch thick slices, preferably at an angle.

Arrange the slices on the same parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. They will still feel soft, but will harden as they cool. Serve or store in an airtight container. They will keep for several days or can be frozen.

Yield: 24 biscotti
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Bake-time: 55 minutes

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