If you haven't tried kale chips before, walk right past that tiny $7 bag of them at the store. You don't want it.
Don't get me wrong—you do want kale chips. Every bit as crunchy and crave-y and satisfying as potato chips, a Ziploc of kale chips stowed in your car sends you off to the rest of your day with the best nutrients money can buy rattling around in your system—feeling virtuous rather than overloaded.
We make at least a batch a week at our house, which means I've done this about a hundred times over the past couple of years. Maybe more, because sometimes my kids catch me doing it and I have to share the whole bowl with them.
Here's what I know.
You want the oven temperature to be low. Go for 275 degrees.
2. Treat each chip like an antisocial being
Don't let them touch each other on the cookie sheet! When two kale leaves touch in the oven, neither one of them is the better for it. They get all chewy instead of crisp. Ugh.
You might want to think about using 2 whole cookie sheets for each one bunch of kale. You might be able to skate away with just a single cookie sheet when the bunches are small, if that's the way you roll.
3. Salting & oiling
Smear melted coconut oil all over the stemmed, chip-sized kale leaves (other fats are probably fine, too) but no salt or seasonings yet. Like letting the leaves touch, salting first is a big kale chip no-no.
4. Get in there
It's going to be nearly impossible to tell when they're done cooking unless you go ahead and reach in and touch a nearby kale chip with your hand. The tricky things will continue to look all slick and wet even when they're done and dry. Start checking on them maybe about 7-10 minutes into baking, just like sugar cookies. They'll rustle like dry leaves when they're finished.
5. The bowl
Dump the kale chips into a big salad bowl and sprinkle them with nutritional yeast and sea salt to your liking. If you don't have the nutritional yeast around, it's fine to skip this. You'll just be missing out on a certain Dorito orange and cheesy punch.
You can also read this recipe in full in our Eat Like a Farmer column in the Petoskey News-Review.