10 January 2013

crispy crunchy!

it's hard to find a snack that everyone in my family eats with equal enjoyment. 4 out of 5 love popcorn; the last (that would be daddy) doesn't have an ounce of appreciation for it. again, 4 out of 5 enjoy chips and salsa; the odd ball out this time, is me. while i enjoy the snack, there are other munchies i prefer. however, there is one crunchy edible that everyone in the anaya family loves: crispy beans. you won't find these in on aisle seven though. if you want to taste the crunchy goodness, you've got to make them yourself. and here's how:

grab a can of garbanzo beans (or two. or three. or four.). open and drain. once drained, lay them out on a cookie sheet, baker stone or clean towel. the recipes i've seen have you pop them in the oven at this point. and while you could do that, i've never had good results with that method. instead, i let them sit, undisturbed, overnight. after they have sat on the counter for a while, preheat the oven to 300. place the beans on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, a silicone baking mat or straight on the pan (you're going to have to scoop them off while they're hot so though it's not necessary for the mat or baking paper, it certainly saves time). pop them in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour (mine usually stay in the oven at 300 for 40-45 minutes when they've sat out for more than 12 hours). once that time is up, remove the beans from the oven. they won't be crispy yet but should be starting to dry out. if they haven't begun to look a little drier, put them back in the oven for a while longer. pour them into a mixing bowl (proportional to the amount of beans you have) and toss in a bit of oil (olive is my oil of choice but any vegetable oil will do). then...prepare to get creative! you can use any variety of seasonings on your beans, from sweet to savory to spicy. my family enjoys ranch flavoured beans for the most part, though my husband will eat the spicy ones by the handful. get creative and use what you've got just sitting in the spice rack. no need to buy any fancy seasonings. for the ranch flavoured ones, i usually throw in a bit of onion powder, some dried dill, garlic and salt. the spicy ones are similar with the dill taken out and chili powder added into the mixture. sweet ones can be made using cinnamon, a bit of sugar and a dash of ginger or nutmeg (be careful with the sweet ones during the rest of the baking time as they can scorch more easily due to the sugar). you could probably even use pumpkin pie spice! seriously, the flavour of your beans is only limited to your imagination. moving on, once the beans have been thoroughly tossed in the oil and seasonings, they go back on the pan and into the oven, this time at 375-400 degrees. i usually toast mine at 375. this takes longer but i find i scorch fewer beans this way. if you have the time (and patience) to stand in front of the oven, bump it up to 400. they will need watching regardless of the oven temperature but the lower the temp, the less babysitting they need overall. i let them sit in the oven for about ten minutes right after sticking them in, then for five minute intervals after that. after each interval is over, i pull the pan out, move the beans around a bit (the ones on the edge tend to brown the most quickly. tossing the beans keeps this from happening) and switch the pans around (if i have more than one pan in there at a time, which i usually do. so the top pan goes to the bottom rack and the bottom to the top). i continue this process until the beans are almost as crispy as we like them. i take them out a bit before they're completely crunchy as they crisp up a bit as they cool. the total time is usually 15-25 minutes (though that time depends on how dry they were coming out of the oven in the first place and how many beans i have). and that's it! try not to burn your tongue as you eat them straight off the pan!
that was a fairly wordy description of my "recipe"...which isn't really a recipe at all, but a tried and true method i've developed as i've made these time and again. try them out and tell me what you think! feel free to post any questions too...

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