File Under: totally frivolous but potentially cool kitchen gadget.
When I first heard of the Mastrad TopChips Maker, I was really excited about the possibility of making some of my most favorite snacks -- apple chips and sweet potato chips -- fat-free and oil-free at home. And in the microwave, no less? Genius!
When the TopChips Maker arrived, my kids and I were mesmerized by the cool, rubbery black tray and wondered just how this thing would work.... Well, after washing, peeling, and slicing two apples and a sweet potato that was nearing its destiny in my friend Faith's compost heap, we placed the super-thin slices (thanks to the very nice bonus mandoline included in the package) on the TopChips Maker and placed it in the microwave.
We followed the cooking times printed in the instructions, but found we had to cook the fruits & veggies much longer than indicated, even though my 1300w microwave is, in theory, stronger than the 1000w suggested cooking times. After a while, we did get some crispy sweet potato chips and a couple of apple chips, which actually came out tasting more like the dried fruit crisps we sometimes buy at Costco.
In the end, there was quite a bit of work and a lot of time spent for not too great of a reward. However, I will definitely continue the trial-and-error process with the TopChips Maker, because I know there are some delicious snacks ahead, as long as I have a little patience. The TopChips device can also be used to make potato, carrot, pear, and mango chips, so I will plan to test some of those out in the near future. It's a great idea for making healthy snacks, and in the end it's certainly cheaper than buying pre-made, packaged chips, so I will continue to experiment and see if I can come out on "top" of this one!
Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm. You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.