There are certain aromas that evoke happiness.
For me, the mac daddy of all comforting smells has to be apple and cinnamon. Its warm and inviting, and somehow seems to permeate every corner of the house until it seems like you may well have scattered cinnamon around the house in a moment of madness, like some maniacal kitchen fairy. I live in hope of a day when someone works out how to graft an apple tree onto a cinnamomum tree so we can skip the middle man and just grow cinnamon flavoured apples, but until such time as said miracle occurs I'll just have to keep combining these two wonderful flavours myself (like a sucker).
Apple and cinnamon is one of those enduring combinations that always just works, so when I wanted to road test my new mandolin slicer by making apple chips it was a natural progression to involve Mr Cinnamon. But then, like some beautiful kind of divine culinary intervention, the day I went to make the chips I was conveniently out of apples (though this felt rather inconvenient at the time..) and the weather was terrible so I was in no mood to go and buy some more. Seeing this as a sign from the heavens to take the day off from all forms of work I set about curling up on the couch with the latest season of Suits and a cup of chai-tea. And then it hit me. If apple and cinnamon was such an amazing combination, then apple and chai must be spectacular. The combination of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and all spice goes beyond anything plain old cinnamon could do and so chai-spiced apple chips were born.
Chai is like Mr Cinnamon's super-hot-but-she-knows-it wife - she's quite complex, with a bit more to her than straight cinnamon, she smells AMAZING and if you don't use enough care then - God help you - she can be quite bitter. But treated properly she's warm, comforting, slightly spicy and a perfect addition to your life.
Apples are one of my go-to fruits; they're available all year round, are loved by kids and adults alike and are great served fresh or cooked. Apples offer a range of nutritional benefits including:
If you're going to make them (and I strongly recommend that you do) then set aside a few hours. The use of a mandolin or other slicing implement will also vastly improve your preparation time and your results as hand-slicing just won't give you apple chips as thin as the ones shown. But by all means give it a go! Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Just don't blame me when your loved ones insist on them becoming a regular household item. They're so worth it.
Chai-Spiced Apple Chips
Chai Spice Blend
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
2 medium apples (I used pink lady)
1) Preheat oven to 100 degrees C.
2) Mix up chai spice blend.
3) Thinly slice apples.
4) Lay apple slices on lined baking trays and sprinle with chai spice blend. (You can use the underside of the apple slices to mop up any spice mix sitting on the baking tray)
5) Bake for 2 hours, flipping slices and rotating trays after 1 hour.
6) Allow to cool on trays, slices will crisp further upon cooling. Store in an airtight container.
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