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Baked Butternut Squash Chips

Thu Dec 11, 2008

Butternut squash chips

Baked Butternut Squash Chips

There are obsessions and then there are cooking obsessions. The first kind can land you in counseling (and occasionally behind bars), the second will blow through your kitchen like a tempest, leaving every pot, pan, knife, cutting board, baking sheet and bowl lying in your sink like debris. I developed my first cooking obsession in the seventh grade after taking Wilton Cake Decorating classes with Debbie, the woman I babysat for. I learned how to make buttercream icing and transform it into pretty pansies and roses, shells and, of course, all of my friends’ names. Every time I made I cake I left icing fingerprints—leafy green and daffodil yellow—to dry on the kitchen drawers, the refrigerator handle, the doorknob and even the mailbox. By eighth grade the obsession had started to lose its sweetness, and I started scraping every inch of that pound of powdered sugar and Crisco off of each cake before I ate it.

As a food and wine writer, my cooking obsessions have turned my tiny apartment kitchen into a “test kitchen,” where I work to develop and refine recipes. My most recent obsession has run me through eight butternut squash, two mandolines, and a tiny sliver of my thumb (apparently the blade on the first mandoline wasn’t sharp enough to cut through butternut squash, but it was sharp enough to cut through my finger).

It all started on Thanksgiving when I made butternut squash chips with fried herbs and Parmigiano as one of my appetizers. They came out phenomenal, crisp and sweet with crunchy pieces of earthy rosemary and sage and the salty cheese. With tons of Vitamin A, way more flavor than a potato and the festive, seasonal aspect I knew I hit on a winning snack, but they were a pain in the arse to make without a proper fryer. I spent more than an hour standing over bubbling oil so hot it melted the numbers of my deep fry/candy thermometer, frying 10 chips at a time. Since then I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect way to oven-fry them—a feat that seemed easy enough, but actually posed some challenges.

The recipe I first followed said to slice the squash on the mandoline, soak the slices in ice water for a half hour, dry them and fry them. So I followed the same method for my oven-fried versions. Unfortunately my oven doesn’t really cook evenly (in case anyone at Viking is listening, I’d like a Classic Series Gas Range, please) so some of the chips were like shaved charcoal while others were soggy, sad translucent orange discs. Even when I left them to crisp up the centers remained limp. So after spending a couple of hours online researching baked potato chip recipes I decided to try blanching the squash first. And voila! The chips came out crunchy and sweet and were actually better (and much less greasy) than their predecessors. I had to watch the oven carefully and pull them as the turned golden brown since, unfortunately, blanching them didn’t fix my oven. They’re delicious with the herbs and Parmigiano or just dusted with Malden salt, or you can try spiking them up with some fresh ground cardamom and white pepper for a little spice. And since they’re baked, snackers can feel a little less guilty when the polish off a batch.

Baked Butternut Squash Chips

1 butternut squash, preferably one with a long, narrow neck
spray olive oil
salt
Special tools: mandoline

Mise en place:
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Set up an ice bath
Spray a large baking sheet (or two small wines) with olive oil
Bring a pot of salted water to boil

Cut off the bulb part of the squash and set aside for another use. Peel the skin off of the squash and cut crosswise into 3-inch chunks. Using your mandoline cut the squash, crosswise into 1.3mm slices.

Blanch the squash in the boiling water, about two minutes then transfer it to the ice bath to cool. Dry all of the chips with a towel or paper towel and lay them out on the baking sheet. Spray them with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt or spices.

Set the squash on your oven’s middle rack and bake until golden brown and crispy. Keep and eye on them as some may cook faster than others even though they are sliced evenly.

Season and serve.

Recipe Difficulty: Easy, Farmers Market, Snacks, Veggies
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25 Responses to “Baked Butternut Squash Chips”

 
  1. kat Says:

    Oh I so want to make these! I tried a similar method with beets but they got soggy so quickly after baking.

  2. Phoo-D Says:

    Yum! These look wonderful. I’m nuts about sweet potato fries and chips but have never thought of doing it with butternut squash. What a terrific idea.

  3. Esi Says:

    I love this idea! I already had butternut squash on my farmers market list for the weekend. I may have to try this.

  4. Lori Says:

    I am SO excited. I have three huge butternut squashes that need to be used and this is perfect for at least one of them. I AM SO EXCITED!

  5. Food Woolf Says:

    Wow, Leah, thanks for taking all the hard work out of it for all of us with this recipe! We’ll be munching on delicious, non-greasy chips for weeks, thanks to you!

  6. gaga Says:

    What a great idea, I have leftover butternut squash that I haven’t figured out what to do with yet. This looks delicious. I love that they’re baked instead of fried too!

  7. redmenace Says:

    This is a fantastic idea!!! I just love butternut squash and I LOVE chips. I try to stay away from chips, but this may be the ticket! Guilt free. Ahhh…

  8. Moby Dick Says:

    Yum, yum, yum, yum yuuuuuum!! :-*

  9. White On Rice Couple Says:

    Chips? Oh my! I would say that this would rank up on my top 5 list of chips, I just know it. Your talk of herbs and parmagiano is making me salivate…
    Thanks for the tips on the blanching too, that helps. Bet your family DEVOURED these up quick!

  10. muddywaters Says:

    This looks great. I have a four-year-old who loves trying new recipes and foods. I’ll give this one a shot.

    Thanks for taking the time to share. I’ll visit often.

    thanks,
    muddywaters

  11. Leah Greenstein Says:

    You’re welcome! Let me know how they turn out, MuddyWaters! And if the kids like them; I know my cousin’s kids loved the fried ones.

  12. Stephanie Says:

    How long will these stay crispy? Can I make them on Wednesday and serve on Friday or will they get soggy? I absolutely love butternut squash and was looking for just this recipe for a dinner party!!

  13. Leah Greenstein Says:

    Hi Stephanie – They didn’t stick around long enough in my house to test, though I’d recommend making them fresh. Storing them in plastic bags or tupper will most likely cause them to sog up. But they’re worth the work! You can, however, slice them and leave them submerged in cold water until you’re ready to start working with them, to expedite the process. Good luck!

  14. Cookin' Canuck Says:

    These have quickly made their way onto my must-make list. i appreciate your efforts to find out the best way to bake the chips. You took one for the team!

  15. JERRY Says:

    HOW MANY CALORIES ARE THERE

  16. Leah Greenstein Says:

    I have no idea how many calories there are, sorry.

  17. Try – Baked Butternut Squash Chips « Recipes & Ideas worth keeping Says:

    [...] spicysaltysweet.com Comments in purple made by Katherine Shephard [...]

  18. Nancy Says:

    I do not have a mandoline so I sliced the squash very thin. They did not turn out very well- either mushy or to browned. is a mandoline absolutely necessary for these? Did I not dry off with paper towels enough? They broke up after blanching so maybe they were not thick enough. I’m bummed…

  19. Alison Says:

    Thank you for this recipe! So yummy!

  20. Susan Says:

    I am making these now (they sound great), but I am wondering about the instructions for cutting them at a thickness of 1.3 mm. This is 1/20th of an inch! Would you kindly clarify the thickness? Many thanks.

  21. Baked Butternut Squash Chips | a Couple Cooks Says:

    [...] Adapted from SpicySaltySweet [...]

  22. Coco Says:

    What does the blanching do them, is it necessary? Thanks! (I’ll be making these with a different kind of squash-yellow straight neck-fresh from Grandpa’s garden!)

  23. ChantalMM Says:

    I use this recipe for yams/sweet potatoes. It works really well. Even with using a mandoline (thin slice), I find many of my slices are thinner on one side. So, I bake for 10 min and then start checking for doneness. Many of them will be half crispy and half soft, and I take them off the pan before the crispy half is too brown. Then, after I’m done baking the batch, I turn the oven off, pile all the chips on a baking sheet and toss it in the oven for a while. This crisps up all parts of the chip without burning (unless you leave it in for a really long time).

  24. CSA For September 4th! « Aagaard Farms of Brandon Says:

    [...] Here’s a link for doing Butternut on the BBQ!  Here’s one of our favorites:  Curried Butternut and Apple Soup – we served it at the farm’s Open House last year!  Butternut, really any of the Winter Squash, can be used in any recipe for pumpkin pie, muffins or cookies!  We just bake a big one, mash it up as a side dish that night with dinner, and use the rest directly substituted into a muffin or loaf recipe.  Or how about healthy baked Butternut Chips? [...]

  25. A Few Things : Om & Away Says:

    [...] trying to learn to like Butternut Squash. These Veggie Chips may be just the [...]

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