These things are almost better than candy, or cookies. If you like caramelized onions, that is, and if they like you back! They’re basically little crispy sweet onion “crackers”, of the all-vegetable (and fat), grain-free variety. They took quite a bit of work to make, and when we figured out the cost comparison with, say, regular plain-old store-bought crackers, they’re exponentially more expensive (not sure how they compare to homemade seed/nut crackers tho, probably a little more favorably). But as far as road trip food goes, they worked _really_ well, IMO, and were my favorite homemade snack that I brought along.
J didn’t eat a lot of these, since onions don’t always agree with him, but when he did eat them, he would sandwich one between two strips of jerky. He said it tasted like a White Castle. I wouldn’t know, since I’ve never had a White Castle, having been a vegetarian from before the moment I was introduced to the concept of White Castle, and having the sense not to want to touch the things since starting to eat meat again, but I suppose if you had eaten as many of them as J did in college late at night after such debaucherous shenanigans as I won’t detail …
To make these delectable little medallions of crispiness (which could also function as a sub for chips, me thinks, since they’re pretty solid and nicely crispy), I did the following:
- Peel onions and chop off the ends. I actually used about 15 large onions – which made 5 bags — more than we actually used on the trip, but not by too much.
- Slice onions in food processor with slicing attachment. This saved a lot of tears on my part!
- Place onions in pans with some coconut oil. I’m guessing I probably used about 3 T oil per pan, and I started off with 3 large pans. You don’t want a ton of oil, because the finished medallions can only hold so much of it once they’re dried and crispy. But enough to keep everybody in the pan a bit slimy is important. If all the onions don’t fit, you can hold some aside to add in once the others have cooked down a bit.
- Cook on medium until you start to hear a sizzle. Then turn real low, just so there’s a very faint sizzle.
- Cook ‘em this way, low and slow, for a couple of hours, adding in the ones that didn’t fit once there’s room for ‘em. Stir occasionally, bringing more browned ones up to the top. As they get closer to done, you’ll need to monitor them a little more carefully, as you don’t want any of them to burn. They’ll be ready when they’ve achieved a rich, brown color, and taste super sweet.
- Salt to taste. The salt is really important at this stage, don’t forget it! At this point you can allow them to cool, or proceed immediately to the next step.
- Drop spoonfuls of the onions onto parchment paper-lined dehydrator trays. I tried using both parchment paper and the slipmat that came with my Excalibur dehydrator, and I definitely preferred the paper, as it soaked up some of the excess grease that came out of them, and made for crispier specimens. I think you could also easily do this on parchment paper on top of cookie sheets in an oven set at its lowest temp, as the onions have already been cooked, so you’re not trying to preserve any rawness.
- Spread the spoonfuls out thinly with the back of a spoon. You want to try to keep each medallion self-contained, not touching any of the others, and with uniform thickness throughout. If little tails of onion stick out, nudge them back in to the fold, since once they’re dry they’ll break off really easily in a bag of these and leave more crumblies in the bottom than necessary.
- Dehydrate until crispy. I used the highest heat setting on my dehydrator, since, like I said, I’m not trying to preserve any rawness at this point. I put them in in the evening, and they were nice and crispy the next morning.
- Allow to cool before bagging, and leave bags open without sealing for at least a few hours, to prevent condensation.
A note about storage when traveling: These fellas should be kept relatively cool, because they have so much fat in them. Fridge is best, cooler second best. But the nice thing is, they shouldn’t spoil if left to get warmer than fridge temps for a day or two. However, I definitely don’t recommend leaving them in the car to get hot outside of the cooler – we let one half-eaten bag sit in the car for a day and a half in the hot Kansas sun, and those cookies were definitely not as good as the others – they had fully lost all crispiness. The ones that stayed the coldest the longest were the best, but the ones that stayed out at room temp for a day or two were still pretty good and definitely fully edible.
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