How can an apple possibly fill in for potato chips? Quite spectacularly, actually. Baked apple slices are plenty crispy, and the fruit's bright flavor becomes even more concentrated as water evaporates from the chips.
Apple chips are one of the simplest snacks to make at home and they keep their crunchiness for a long time. As a bonus, they fill you up with fiber and give you a nice shot of vitamin C too.
HomemadeRecipe adapted from the Food Network's Alexandra Guarnaschelli
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 to 3 lemons, juiced
2 small, crisp apples, such as Granny Smith, Royal Gala or Winesap, washed and dried
In a small pot, combine the water and sugar and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Set aside to cool. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut each apple, placing the core end of the apple in front of the blade, into thin rounds. Remove the seeds as you cut and sprinkle slices with lemon juice. Submerge slices in the syrup and allow them to "rest" for a few hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 200°F. Remove apples from the syrup and lightly dry them on a paper towel. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven until crispy, about 60 mins.Store-Bought
There's a wide variety of apple chips available on grocery store shelves. We found that the flavor of Brothers-All-Natural freeze-dried Fuji crisps was spot on, but their consistency reminded us astronaut food: "They have a puffy texture that seems unnatural," noted one TIME.com taste tester.
Bare Fruit's organic chips, which are made with Washington State apples, have a more natural look and a drier flavor. "It tastes like sweet sawdust," observed one critic. The Granny Smith variety was deemed best of all.
My personal favorite: Good Health Natural Foods Crispy Original Apple Chips, which look and taste like real apples — with a little sugar sprinkled on top.
For sheer crispy, crunchy deliciousness, the potato chip is tough to beat. It’s no wonder, then, that Americans spend more than $7 billion a year on the salty snack. Not coincidentally, it’s also one of the top dietary contributors to weight gain, according to a recent Harvard study.
But rather than lecture you on your naughty chip-chomping habit, I’m here to help you kick it: following are five delectable — and healthier — alternatives to potato chips, all taste-tested by members of the TIME.com team. You can buy the snacks at grocery stores, but they taste better baked from scratch, so I’ve included the recipes I liked best. (If you go the DIY route, it might be worth investing in a mandoline, which can help you make neat, even slices in a snap.)
Whether you bake or buy these treats, each has less fat and fewer calories than deep-fried potato chips. And they’re all delicious.