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Reviews Date of last review
Thu August 14, 2008
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Ingredients: pasteurized PROCESSED cheese -- shreds, slices or small chunks
How To Prepare: Cover a heatproof or paper plate and lay out pieces of cheese, leaving space for them to expand. Then microwave on high until they puff up. It's okay if they get a little bit brown- which may happen in spots as you try to get all the cheese to puff. Let them harden into crisp crackers or chips.

Cheese crisps stay crunchy for up to one week. Data are not available for longer time periods because of an insufficient supply of experimental material. ;-)

Please read the discussion before making these. Feel free to invent variations--but please don't do anything unsafe.

Serving Ideas :

Variation 1: cut cheese into small squares before microwaving, leaving sufficient space for them to expand. Use like corn chips--delicious with salsa.

Variation 2: make them double-thick and use as cheese toast or salad croutons. The croutons are even tastier when spread with a little minced garlic and/or herbs before microwaving.

Variation 3: (works with some cheeses) microwave until puffed but not crisp and use as cheese bread.

Variation 4: immediately after cooking, but before the crisps have hardened, fold them into taco shells. If your cheese slices aren't large enough to make a satisfying taco shell, augment them with additional pieces laid so they touch. They are prettiest if folded so that the puffy top becomes the outside of the taco shell.

NONSTICK MATERIAL: The biggest trick is finding a material to which the cheese doesn't stick. Waxed paper by itself is a disaster (the crisps look great but eating them involves getting extra fiber. ;-) However, greased waxed paper works. I use very heavy duty plastic freezer wrap (Freeze-tite brand) which can be reused until you get tired of looking at it.

Saran Wrap also works--but doesn't last as long--while thinner stuff can't take the heat. I've also had very good luck with the plastic wrap used to separate the cheese slices on every brand I've tried so far. Some people use parchment paper or greased waxed paper. Since, despite using the microwave oven, the cheese reaches high temperatures, be sure to (non)stick with food-grade materials.

PLATES: Use paper plates covered with heavy-duty plastic wrap or parchment paper. Or use pyroceram. Glass plates--even Pyrex and the other borosilicates--
can break when heating is uneven.

Be careful with any food that doesn't contain a lot of liquid. You can buy a year's supply of paper plates for the cost of just one Pyrex pie plate. Plus it makes cleanup so much easier.

Given the cost of replacing trays, it's never a good idea to cook directly on them. They may be thicker than ordinary Pyrex but they too can fail. (Any cheese crisp that breaks the glass tray in your microwave oven is definitely not my recipe.)

COOKING TIME depends on the power and configuration of your microwave oven.

Cheeses vary too--and short cooking times don't leave you much room for error. You have to determine the timing for each oven.

For example I have both a large and a medium-sized oven with almost the same power. The smaller one takes only two thirds the time of the larger one. In my ovens, puffing up and crisping one ounce of cheese takes about the same amount of time as heating a cup of coffee. A half ounce slice of cheese takes two thirds of that. For each variety (and brand!) of cheese I start out with less time and keep adding until the cheese comes out puffed and hardens into a crisp. Some cheeses can puff and still remain somewhat chewy (almost like
cheese bread) when slightly undercooked while others will harden even if they haven't puffed so you have to experiment.

CHEESE: If "pasteurized process cheese" is not a standard product where you live, you'll need to be able to tell the difference among different processed cheeses.
That difference is the amount of water added to the product.

If the cheese has about 100 calories per ounce (or 350 per 100g) and around nine grams of fat (or 31-2g per 100g), you have what we call "process cheese." If it has less than 90 calories
per ounce (or 325 per 100g)
and less than eight grams of fat (or 28g per 100g), you have "process cheese food."
And then of course there are the "process cheese spreads" like Velveeta--but they have about 70 calories per ounce (or 240 per 100g),so you know there has to be even more water. For anything in between, you'll probably have to try it and see if it works.

Note: processed cheese has some carbs (depends on brand) as well as a lot of calories, so this is not an unlimited snack.
Carbs per serving - include all nutritional information if known: no counts provided
Effort (Easy, Average, Difficult): Easy

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