A few weekends ago, we went out to dinner with friends at Grub, a yummy San Francisco restaurant with a very gluten-free friendly menu. As we were deciding what appetizers to get for the table to share, our friend suggested the kale chips with brown sugar. "Brown sugar?" I thought. "With kale...?" That sounded awful. Or maybe, awesome? We were intrigued. We had to try it. It was the only way of finding out the truth.
And, oh, what a yummy truth it was. At first, I wasn't sure what I thought about the chips. I didn't want to like them because the combo just seemed so strange. But something about it was really tasty - the earthiness of the kale and the sweet melt-in-your-mouth brown sugar seemed to be the perfect odd-couple pairing. I immediately decided to try and recreate the recipe, but I kept coming up short. The taste wasn't quite balanced yet. It needed something more .. something ... salty ... Cue the sea salt!
I made two batches of these chips, one with the brown sugar added before baking and one with it added after. Both are delicious and the one you prefer will totally depend on your personal taste. Adding the sugar before baking allows the sugar to melt and caramelize onto the kale, creating a sweet salty glaze over the chip and adding a little extra crunch as it cools. Adding the sugar after baking retains the raw sweetness of the brown sugar and allows it to melt on your tongue, rather than in the oven. The grains of the raw brown sugar combined with the grains of the sea salt add a really nice texture to the chips, too. Like I said, it's totally a matter of personal taste so both methods are detailed below.
What You Need:
- Nice big, flat leaves of dinosaur kale
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- Brown sugar, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
What You Do:
1. This recipe is so easy peasy lemon squeezy I feel embarrassed even calling it a "recipe." It's about as straightforward as it goes. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil).
2. Rinse and thoroughly dry your kale. You can try using a salad spinner or just patting it down with a kitchen (or paper) towel. Remove the lower portion of the stem.
3. Brush a thin layer of olive oil over the entire kale leaf. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt over each of the leaves. Careful not to use too much though, a little salt goes a long way when it comes to kale.
4. To add the brown sugar before cooking, simply sprinkle the brown sugar over each of the kale leaves the same way you did for the salt, then spread the kale leaves in a single layer on the baking sheet. It's important to keep them in a single layer and not crowd the sheet so the kale can get crispy. (If they're too close together, they'll steam instead and be a bit chewy/soggy.) To add the brown sugar after cooking, skip the brown-sugar-sprinkling above and proceed to layer the salted kale chips on the baking sheet in a single layer.
5. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until crispy, then remove from the oven. If you're adding the brown sugar after, now is the time to do it. Sprinkle a light dusting over all the baked kale chips and let cool for a few minutes before indulging. The sugar will melt just a little tiny bit from the heat of the kale chips but it will mostly maintain its texture.
Linking up with Nicole again today.