BBQ Flavored Cheese Crisps

Lately, I've seen a lot of recipes calling for smoked paprika.  I'm a huge fan of paprika, but for some odd reason, smoked paprika had yet to grace the inside of my overflowing spice cabinet until just recently.  Finally spotting some in the supermarket and remembering to actually buy it, should have set off the trumpets and confetti since I'm notorious for forgetting to buy stuff - even with a list in hand. Wow!  If you haven't tried smoked paprika yet, get some!  NOW!  I've been putting that stuff on everything.

I was making a batch of my Sweet and Spicy Chipotle Wings the other day and decided to swap out the regular paprika for the smoked and was pleasantly surprised by the subtle hint of an almost BBQ flavor.  Not a huge difference, but it added a nice extra bit of smokiness to the already smoky chipotle flavor, as well as a bit more sweetness.  Suddenly, it literally was like a light bulb went off over my head.  Okay, my son had in fact put the lights on, but I had that feeling again like if I just stood still for a moment, there was a good idea trying to find it's way out.

Here it is folks.  BBQ Cheese Crisps!  I'll spare you all of the details of my original adventure into perfecting cheese crisps, but you can check it out right here  if you haven't made them before, are struggling to get yours crispy and crunchy, or are bored and would like to read about my struggles with microwaving cheese.

If you're like me and missing BBQ chips, give this a whirl!  You can customize the flavor to suit your tastes by adding a little chipotle powder, cayenne powder, or black pepper.  Make the base recipe here, and then add a little bit of whatever you like to a batch of your crisps to see what you really enjoy. 

BBQ Flavor Seasoning-

I try to reuse old spice containers as much as possible.  For this, I used one of those small containers from McCormick so that I could sprinkle on the seasoning and save the rest for next time.  In your container, mix together your ingredients and give it a good shake to make sure it's mixed all the way through.  I know not everyone can use stevia, so you can leave it out, you'll just have a less sweet BBQ flavor.  I wouldn't recommend any other types of sweeteners because I really don't know how they will behave in the microwave.  The stevia I use does not have fillers that will burn, so it's pretty versatile. 

To make the crisps-

Slice an ounce of either cheddar or colby jack cheese into 1/4 inch thick slices.  You can also use pre-sliced cheese cut into squares, but avoid pre-shredded cheese as they usually contain a lot of starches to stop the cheese from sticking together.

On a sheet of parchment paper, put your cheese squares in a pile and sprinkle on your BBQ seasoning.  Rub it on a little bit and slide it all around on the parchment to pick up as much of the seasoning as possible.  Be generous here.  I actually sprinkled a little more on mine after I took this picture:

Spread out your cheese squares in a circle, giving them lots of room to melt down, and microwave them on high anywhere between 1 minute 45 seconds to 2 minutes.  Keep an eye on them.  You want them to be nice and firm, just starting to brown slightly.  As soon as they come out and are still a little greasy, sprinkle them with just a little more seasoning.  I especially love doing this so there's that feeling like regular BBQ chips on your fingers and lips.  Allow them to cool, and that BBQ flavor will suddenly punch through.  I noticed when they're still hot it's not as pronounced.

Enjoy as they are, or with your favorite dip!

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