Recently we were lucky enough to have my totally fabulous & beautiful 14 year old niece come visit for several days with her equally fabulous friend before they headed to Sing a Mile High Children's Choral Festival where they wowed us with their beautiful voices.
While they visited we did lots of cooking and they were both great sous chefs incredibly helpful and motivated. One of the first things we tackled were Homemade Tortilla Chips. This may seem overly ambitious, but hear me out, here are a few of our reasons for making these:
• Simple to make, Baked not Fried
• Cheaper than buying a bag of chips and the quality is much higher
• You can control the salt, oil, and seasonings = healthier
• You can make just enough- so you don’t end up devouring a bag in one sitting or a half finished bag that becomes overly salty crumbs or worse- stale! (we live in super-dry Colorado)
• They take less than 15 minutes to prepare a batch for 2-4 people
• The taste is much better than pre-made- fresher & made just to your taste buds!
I gave the girls a few quick guidelines and they were off and running… they made tons and we had the most amazing nachos that night. We each had our own glass pan and filled them with our own personal toppings. Which was great because my niece & husband can’t eat cheese, my niece’s friend is a Vegetarian and I personally wanted all the toppings.
The next day we took the leftovers and made Taco Salad- stay tuned for a blog post on that. I ran to the store for a few ingredients and came back to the girls cranking out a few more trays of tortilla chips.
The Recipe is almost more of a guideline as the experience can quickly become your own.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Start with a bag of corn tortillas- at least 5 per person.
In a shallow dish drizzle in 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil we use Coconut or Safflower Oil. FYI- I have tried olive oil and it was a bit too heavy.
Stack up the tortillas and cut into 6 wedges.
Dip one side of one tortilla wedge into the oil, press it into the next tortilla chip. Then dip the next side into the oil. Basically, blotting the excess oil onto the next tortilla wedge.
Keep this going until you have a slightly oil-y stack of wedges pressed together. Spread these out on a baking sheet.
Combine your choice of the following:
1-2 tablespoons smoky paprika
1-2 tablespoons cumin
1-2 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons sugar (oh yes- highly recommend this!)
1-2 teaspoons chili pepper or chipotle powder
The zest of one lime
Just plain old salt (of course I would recommend a nice sea salt) works, too!
Lightly sprinkle your seasons of choice onto the chips. If you sprinkle from a distance well above the tray rubbing it between your pinched fingers it will lightly dust the chips without clumping.
Place the trays in the oven. This may be the only ‘tricky’ part. I have tried several different trays over the many times I have made these. Thicker trays mean the chips bake slower than on thinner trays. This is probably obvious, but it does make my recommendations for the actual baking times a bit of a challenge.
That being said; bake at 350 for about 5-9 minutes. Check them. Once they are just starting to crisp, flip them over and continue baking checking every 2-4 minutes- this is important as they can go from white to burnt in about 2 minutes. Trust me. I have thrown away many a delicious chip as I tested the theory that they will be fine without my attention.
Now- find your dips or your tortilla chip recipes and go crazy.
They can be made ahead and still served warm, here is how:
If you ‘under bake’ them, you can spread them on a baking sheet and blast them at 350 for 3-5 minutes just before serving.
Served hot they are even more amazing. To serve them hot, place a cloth napkin/towel in a basket. Fill with the hot chips and fold the cloth on top. This will keep the heat in a bit longer.
I am sure they do not last as long as store bought varieties. I can’t tell you how long, because we usually have eaten them all within 2 days. If you are actually capable of storing them seal them up and store cool.