Kale. Trendy vegetable? Or the simple green leaf for all people to enjoy?
Maybe both, but it’s also bad ass, especially in the form of CHIPS.
Kale chips are healthy and delicious and best of all, simple to make.
One of the first Google results for “kale chips” was from Allrecipies.com, and I noticed the use of parchment paper. Was that really necessary? Is its purpose purely for easy clean up, or does that enhance the quality?
My test kitchen was about to find out. I wanted to test making these summer homemade chips using both the normal baking sheet and the addition of parchment paper.
Question: When making KALE CHIPS, does using parchment paper make a difference?
The most obvious utility of parchment paper is its non-stickiness. It is also disposable and easy to use. One of the first Google recipes asks for its use, but the Food Network site did not say to use it. Interestingly, NPR’s recipe says to line a baking sheet with the paper for “easy cleanup, line a large rimmed baking sheet.”
Kale, in my opinion, is delicious, and it’s incredibly healthy. And cheap! Olive oil and salt/pepper it up, saute until reduced in size, put a few drops of balsamic on it, done: side dish for dinner.
But if you have a few leaves left over that will not make for a good meal’s portion (about 2-3 leaves per person…the leaves shrivel up a good amount), people like to bake them for a little snack.
Ingredients: Fresh kale, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, balsamic vinegar
Tools: Mixing bowl, baking sheet, generic parchment paper, oven
After washing and hand-cutting the kale (use everything except for the stem which runs up the middle of the leaf), I tossed the leaves in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
I covered one half of the baking sheet with generic parchment paper and the other half I left alone. I placed half of the kale over the paper and the other half on the baking sheet.
I then baked the whole thing for 11 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. (Why 11 minutes? Recipe called for 10-15 minutes; 15 minutes cause the chips to become too dry, fragile, and lose taste, and by 10 minutes I noticed the edges of the leaves became a bit brown, meaning they are ready).
As I taste tested, I was looking for several things: taste, crunch and chewiness, cleaning ease and heat retention (how long do the chips stay hot). This tasting was not blind and I conducted this on my own.
|Parchment Paper Chips||Non-Parchment Paper Chips|
|Taste||The taste in these was slightly better||Not as tasty, but very minimal difference.|
|Texture||These were slightly oilier overall, more chewy, yet there were some crunchy ones as well.||These were slightly crunchier overall, but there were some chewy ones as well.|
|Clean-up||This was much easier to clean up.||More scrubbing to get oil off sheet.|
|Heat retention||No difference||No difference|
Important variables alter!!!
A new question: After noticing that some chips were chewy and some were crunchy, I decided to find out why. I think that depends on how well you toss/coat the greens with your oil mixture. I noticed that not all of the greens were evenly coated with the oil mixture when I placed them on the sheet. I must not have mixed the greens enough OR I did not have enough oil mixture in my mixing bowl.
The differences in quality were minimal, to be honest.
The baking sheet seems to have cooked the kale more, allowing for more crunch and less oiliness/chewiness.
And the parchment paper: the taste was preserved more and it was, indeed, easier to clean up.
So what do you want, the crisp or the easy clean up? Well, punk?
And today’s new culinary lesson:
The coating of your greens with your oil mixture is a very important step that needs to be done thoroughly. Don’t forget this. Write it down. Tell your kids. Write your congressman.
Future Tests: Making kale chips with tin foil.