Ever since the days of steaming and pureeing baby food into the wee hours of the morning (I don't miss those days. Just me?), Ethan has preferred leafy greens to sweet, tastier fruits. I have the leaves of collard greens, kale and spinach to thank for the inevitable demise of my trusty Baby Bullet which just couldn't handle the pressure anymore. The leaves! The stems! The green halfway-pureed splatters all over my kitchen cabinets! (Did I mention I don't miss those days?)
Anyway, life happened and Ethan dropped the purees and moved onto plain old food when he was around ten months old. His fondness for his green veggies didn't falter and in dire need of a suitable snack for my little guy as his first birthday danced on the horizon (as a side-note, this makes my heart pitter-patter with nostalgic emotion as I just booked his second birthday party!), I tried my hand at kale chips. I started making kale chips for Ethan when he was just shy of a year old and it took me a few months to find a tried and true recipe. As a toddler with an opinion (when did that happen?), Ethan's main criteria for his kale chips is that they must be fun to chomp on and chew. If he can't make silly faces while crunching the crispy kale leaves in his teeth, they just won't do. Soggy leaves? Unacceptable. Keeping optimal crunch in mind, Ethan and I finally perfected a recipe that is not just suitable, but habit forming. I have to hide these from Ethan like I do chocolate from my husband! (Hello, dear husband! Just wanted to check that you were reading!)
Here's how to make these bad boys:
You'll need: kale, grated cinnamon, garlic, ground black pepper, sea salt and olive oil.
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In the meantime, toss small shreds of kale onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil (don't soak them! Drizzle!).
2. Using a basting brush, toss the kale pieces around in the olive oil. I don't measure, but I sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and some black pepper over the pieces of kale. I use a hand grater to grate fresh garlic over the kale chips to your preferred taste. For a big bunch of kale, I typically use one to two cloves. As a finishing touch, I sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon over the kale chips before placing them in the oven.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss the kale chips around with the basting brush and make sure none are sticking to the cookie sheet. Place them back into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
4. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!