Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pin 149

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Make your own tortilla chips in fun Halloween shapes. The take away here was the cookie cutter fun shapes for Halloween.

I have been making my own tortilla chips for some time now. I finally perfected the recipe just the way we like it that wasn't too crispy and wasn't too soft and wasn't too burnt-tasting. I usually only make them when I am making chicken tortilla soup. Since that was on the menu tonight I decided to jazz up our chips with some fun Halloween shapes. Below is my recipe, adapted from many, many, many attempts at finding just the right technique:

Tortillas (I usually prefer corn. Tonight I only had flour. Here's the thing--I but these giant bags of corn tortillas and then stash them in the freezer because I really only use them for these chips. I assumed I had some there but when I opened the freezer I only had flour tortillas there. They were a little stale but I just tossed the top tortilla out. Stale is okay because you are going to bake them anyway. I digress, back to the recipe)
Cooking spray
Salt (I like to use a sea salt grinder--it makes me feel a little gourmet)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut your tortillas to the desired shape. I usually just use a pizza cutter to make quick work of tortilla stacks into cute little triangles. Tonight I used the Halloween cookie cutters. This step definitely slowed me down here.

I'm not sure if it was because the tortillas were flour or because they were a little stale or a little frozen, but cutting them with my cookie cutters was not easy. Differently than dough or soft, fluffy bread, you can't really wiggle the cookie cutter to cut straight through the tortilla. This was going to take a long time to individually cut these chips for my whole hungry family. Time to get creative.

Hmmm. How can I solve this problem. I need some good, strong force. . . AHA! A hammer should do nicely. So I grabbed my meat mallet and gently pounded away at the edges of the cookie cutter with the smooth side of the mallet. I was careful not to use so much force as to crumple my cutters. (They are from the dollar store, you know.)

This technique worked so well I decided to save some time and pound through stacks of tortillas. I found that three-tortilla stacks were just the right size to cut multiple chips at once, yet still cut through all the layers. Four was too many and the bottom layer was never cut completely.
Oh the pounding drove my family crazy! My kiddos were trying to watch TV in the next room and they were fairly irritated by the pounding until they came to investigate what I was making. Then they got a little excited about it. If they were a little older I totally would have put them to work on this job.

That weird square one is a Frankenstein head.
Next I lined the chips on a cookie sheet and gave a light spritz of cooking spray followed by a few turns of the salt grinder. Into the oven they go! After 9-10 minutes I gave them a flip, a spritz of cooking spray, and put them back in. Watch carefully and bake an additional 3-7 minutes depending on your desired level of crispiness and browning.

Then I had to rush out the door to make it to a PTA meeting. I didn't get any fresh-out-of-the-oven pictures for you. However, I was lucky enough that my family saved some for me.

When I walked in the door an hour and a half later, the first thing my husband said to me was, "What did you do to those chips??" Uh-oh. Why? "They were the best batch you have ever made." I think it was because I used the flour tortillas instead of the usual corn tortillas. They were less like a chip and more like a cracker. Here's the thing with crackers--my boys (including my husband) love them.  I sometimes just don't buy them because they eat them up so fast and leave all those cracker crumbs EVERYWHERE! But these chips did have a nice flavor and the boys loved the Halloween shapes.

Here are a few after shots. You can see how they brown up nicely:

If you are here for the recipe, then I am sure that was the longest-winded recipe you have ever read. Let me remove all the commentary and just write it plain and simple for you here:

Tortillas (corn or flour)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut tortillas to desired size and shape and place in a single layer on cookie sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray and salt. Bake 9-10 minutes. Flip chips and lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake an additional 3-7 minutes, watch closely and remove at desired level of browning.

Do not be discouraged if it takes you a few batches to perfect this recipe. Tortilla brands and ovens are different. I recommend a hot oven. Preheat the oven and then let it sit an additional 10 minutes to allow it to get good and hot before you start baking these. I found that when I made multiple batches, the second and third ones were always better than the first because the oven temperature was more stable.

And if you don't like my recipe, go try the one at the link at the top--its a little different.

Remember the pin here was the Halloween shapes?

Total cost: $0 for stale, frozen tortillas and cookie cutters stashed away in the top of the cabinet

Total time: Cutting these out was time consuming--well compared to the old pizza cutter way. 20 minutes to cut enough to fill 1 & 3/4 cookie sheets

Final verdict: It was a fun way to add some holiday cheer. I wouldn't do this regularly. I do think that corn tortillas would cut much, much easier with the cookie cutters (and maybe fresh ones too??) I will probably do it again, but only around holidays! Cutting with cookie cutters always leaves scraps. I am not one to waste but since the tortillas were stale I didn't care too much. Baked chips are a great way to use up old tortillas before it is time to toss them!

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