Happy Halloween! Can you believe it’s the end of October already? I know, I know. That “Can you believe it’s already” business is totally broken record speak by now, but seriously, this year has flown by.
I’ve been trying to think of something fun to post on Halloween for a while now, but unfortunately my kitchen skills seem to have entered a freaky twilight zone lately. This has led to a string of crazy and unusual occurrences: a coffee waterfall pouring under the refrigerator, three days in a row of spilled cannellini bean and rosemary soup, a burned arm and flying cinnamon, a defective oven mitt and burned hand. Oy! On the up side, the floor beneath our refrigerator is now spotless, and I get to buy a snazzy new pair of oven mitts.
Perhaps this long list of kitchen mishaps explains how I landed on simple sweet potato chips as our Halloween snack of choice. My cousin suggested a while back that I make popcorn balls for a Halloween post, which I excitedly attempted on Monday afternoon. I was sure I could easily transform my caramel corn into popcorn balls with some simple tweaks. No dice. The balls fell apart almost completely, which is what I get for galloping willy-nilly into uncharted territory without the good sense to take along a recipe. At this point, our house was overflowing with sugary treats (failed popcorn balls, cookies, peppermint bark and candy corn! Eek! Stay away, cavities!), and Jared and I were dangerously close to becoming pure sugar zombies, with no costumes required. To cut the sweet, I turned my eye toward something a bit more savory: jack-o’-lantern sweet potato chips. You’ve seen some of these guys on Pinterest, right? They’re basically sweet potato chips with tiny jack-o’-lantern faces carved into them. Pressed for time, I only carved faces into six of my chips and left the rest plain.
Here’s the skinny: These chips taste amazing, but they also burn incredibly easily if you’re not keeping a close watch. Case in point:
Poor little jacks. All six burnt to smithereens. I set my timer for 15 minutes, and the chips weren’t quite done. Five minutes later, half of them were toast. The half of unburned chips were devoured within the hour. (Actually, I had to force myself to throw away the burnt chips to keep from eating them, too. They really were that good.) Next time, I’ll check at 15 minutes and every minute after that. Of course, the time will depend on the size of your sweet potato and how thinly you slice them. Just be a little attentive in those last minutes, and I promise you’ll be rewarded with a cookie sheet full of sweet potato perfection.
Sweet Potato Chips
• 2 large sweet potatoes, or 3-4 smallish guys
• ¼ cup canola oil
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ teaspoon onion powder
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut them into 1/8-inch slices. Set them aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the canola oil and all of the spices. Add the sweet potato slices, and toss until evenly coated.
Arrange the sweet potato slices in a single layer on the baking sheet (you might need to use more than one sheet or bake more than once batch), and bake for 15-20 minutes, just until edges begin to brown. (Keep a close eye on them once they reach the 15-minute mark. They burn fast!)
Note: To turn your sweet potato chips into jack-o’-lanterns, use a large knife to cut a small V shape out of the length of the peeled sweet potatoes. Then, once your sweet potatoes are cut into slices, use a small sharp knife to carve out the faces before adding the potatoes to the spice mixture.
This snack really is the perfect complement to a tummy full of sugar, and I’m planning to make another batch today, complete with faces. Don’t worry, I promise to watch them more closely this time (i.e. they will be baked during nap time).
What tricks and treats do you have planned for today? Are you hitting the streets for a candypalooza? Adding last-minute details to costumes? Whatever your plans, I hope your day is spooky, safe and fun!