CHEESE CRISPS (MICROWAVE METHOD)
8 ounce bag shredded cheese, any flavor
Place a square of parchment paper (do NOT use wax paper) on a microwaveable dinner plate. Place a generous tablespoon of cheese in center of plate and, with your fingers, gently spread into a circle about 3 1/2-4" in diameter and not too thick in the middle. Microwave on HIGH about 30-40 seconds or until a toasty color and they sound crisp when tapped with your fingernail. Lift it off the paper with tongs and set on paper towel to cool. You can use the same piece of parchment over and over for the current crisp-making session. These will keep quite well in an air-tight container at room temperature for several days or longer.
Makes about 18-20 crisps
Can be frozen
Per 6 Crisps: 304 Calories; 25g Fat; 19g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 1g Net Carbs
UPDATE: I discovered that these are really tasty dipped in low carb ketchup. They taste like super crunchy French fries! Try it and see for yourself.
MULTIPLE SMALLER CHEESE CRISPS
If your microwave turntable is large enough, you can make 3 cheese crisps at a time by placing 3 sandwich size plates on the turntable. Cover each plate with a square of parchment paper. Make crisps as directed above using less cheese. In my 1,2000 watt microwave, it takes about 1 minute 30 seconds for three crisps.
CHEESE CRISPS FROM CHEESE CUBES
I decided to try using the bagged cheese cubes to make crisps and they work great. The texture and flavor of the crisps is a bit different from cubes than from pre-shredded cheese for some reason. They don't come out as lacy and they have more of a crunch. They're a bit like little crackers.
To make cheese crisps from cubed cheese, cut a circle of parchment paper the size of your microwave turntable. Place cubes in a circle around the outer perimeter of the paper, about an inch or so from the edge and at least 2-3 inches apart. In my microwave, I can get 9 cubes per batch. I microwave mine on HIGH about 2 minutes 10 seconds or until most of the liquid and grease has disappeared. They should feel crisp when tapped. Cool as directed above. To remove the parchment paper from the microwave, slide it carefully onto a round pizza pan. Place more cubes on the same paper and slide back onto the turntable. Be careful not to touch the turntable as it gets extremely hot. You'll get about 50 little crisps from an 8 ounce bag of cheese cubes. I should warn you that for some reason these make a huge mess inside my microwave.
UPDATE: Apparently each bag of cheese can be different as far as fat and water content. I made a batch of these today and they were swimming in grease, they got very dark and they were more chewy than crispy. It's too bad that you can't tell what your cheese will be like until you make them because the way they came out for me the first few times was very nice.
UPDATE: I've figured out why some of the cheese cubes were turning out differently. Kraft has changed the fat content of their cheese cubes. The newer bags should turn out like mine originally did -- nice and crispy and light. Look for the bags that say "<1g Carbs" on the label instead of the older bags that say "0g Carbs". What you want are the ones that have 10 grams of fat per serving and not 11 grams of fat. If you have the older kind with 11 grams of fat, microwave them only about a minute per batch. Microwave the 10 grams of fat cubes for just over 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.
Per 16 Mini Crisps: 304 Calories; 25g Fat; 19g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 1g Net Carbs
CHEESE CRISP SALAD BOWL
Make an extra large cheese crisp and as soon as you remove it from the microwave, drape it over a small inverted heat-proof bowl. Cover with a paper towel, so you won't burn your hand, and carefully mold it to fit the bowl. Cool, then fill with salad.
My old microwave didn't do a very good job with these, but I decided to try again with my new one. They come out great and are much easier than making them on the stove; much quicker too. I don't usually like to use pre-shredded cheese for anything, but I found that it works better than freshly shredded cheese for these. I think the powdery coating helps keep them from getting too oily and also makes them get crisp faster. I've tried them with sharp cheddar, Monterey jack and Kroger's brand of Nacho & Taco Cheese blend. All are very good. The Monterey jack ones remind me of Ruffles potato chips, but not as salty. The nacho flavored ones have a subtle spicy flavor. If they only had sour cream and onion or barbecue flavored cheese we'd be all set. You might be able to toss a little dry ranch dressing mix with some Monterey jack cheese for the sour cream and onion flavor, but it would make them very salty.
NOTE: I learned something interesting today while making these. After I made a whole 8 ounce bag of cheese worth, I weighed the whole batch on my kitchen scale. Believe it or not, they'd lost nearly half their weight during the cooking process! Eight ounces of cheese, shrunk to 4 1/2 ounces. I'm not sure if that's mostly water that's lost or fat or both.
Here's a picture to show how to arrange the cheese on the parchment paper:
CHEESE CRISPS (OVEN METHOD)
6 ounce package pre-sliced cheese
Cut each slice of cheese into quarters. Arrange the cheese squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet in 4 rows of 4 with about an inch between them. Bake at 400º for about 7-10 minutes or until crisp and only lightly browned. You can tell when they're done when they're no longer pale in the center and the edges start to pop up off the parchment paper. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
Makes 32 crisps
I have Charski and Vanessa120 at Low Carb Friends to thank for inspiring me to try the oven method. You can read about it here. I like the texture of the oven baked crisps better than the microwave ones. They seem more sturdy and cracker-like. Plus, you can make more of them at one time. The main drawback is having to heat up the oven. Click the photo to see a close-up. I zoomed in so you can really see the texture of these. The ones in the photo were made with Swiss cheese and I sprinkled them with nacho cheese popcorn seasoning after removing them from the oven.
UPDATE 7/14/11: I'm having second thoughts about preferring the oven-baked crisps over the microwaved ones. I've since tried baking two kinds of cheddar cheese and they ended up tasting very burnt by the time they got crisp. I found that if I didn't let them get really brown, they came out kind of chewy and rubbery. Even when they get pretty brown in the microwave, they never taste burnt like they do from the oven. By the way, I did try setting the oven to 350º and it didn't really help. They still needed to get too brown in order to make them crispy.
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