Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas & My Love of Fall

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas. When I want churros and there are none, I reach for these chips and I am satisfied | ibakeheshoots.com

I’m in love with Fall. I love its crunchy leaves underfoot and crisp evening breezes. I love its earthy autumn colors and promise of new beginnings. It makes me feel all warm and gooey inside, which is weird because I love the cool weather it brings. Sorry Summer. I know you’re the popular kid but I’m just not feeling you.

Fall has stolen my heart…and stomach with pie…glorious sweet potato pie. But there’s no pie. It’s not time yet. I still have about a month to go and I’m not good at waiting.

So, while I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for Fall, I’ve soothed myself with these fried cinnamon sugar tortilla chips in the shape of Fall leaves. And when I write ‘soothed’ I mean power-snacked two handfuls but pretended it was only one. How could I not? Did you read the title? They’re fried cinnamon sugar tortilla chips!

And just in case you were wondering…fried tortillas + cinnamon sugar = double-win, y’all.

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas. When I want churros and there are none, I reach for these chips and I am satisfied | ibakeheshoots.com

At the dman’s request I prepared some daisy-like shapes, as well. They were harder to cut out and didn’t mesh with my ‘love of Fall’ vibe, but I did it anyway. Of course, they photographed beautifully.

Ugh, I hate it when the dman is right.

But maybe I was wrong. I’m not-too shabby at the waiting game. In fact, I should be given a ‘waiting’ award-all fans should. We just waited one year for the last eight episodes of Breaking Bad!

Now, then…I’ve got a big bowl of  fried chips and eight hours of Breaking Bad in my queue. Sounds like a perfect way to wait for the arrival of Fall.

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas Photo Notes

by David

I wish all photo shoots were this easy.  I captured both of these images with less than 10 shots and called it a day.

Gameplan

I’ve been getting sloppy, so this shoot was about good technique and good lighting.  A picture made with lousy technique may look decent on the web, but it looks like junk on a print…… and guess what? Real photographers print.

Technique

I locked the camera on the tripod and left it there.  I also turned on the mirror delay mode and used a remote shutter release.  When the composition looked off, I didn’t take the camera off the tripod and hope for a miracle.  Instead, I recomposed the items on the table until I got it right. This is pretty simple stuff, but even in a studio with strobes, sharp images require good technique.

Lighting

I tried something different and now have my new favorite lighting setup.  For the main light, I bounced a strobe off the back wall of the studio.  This lighting is stupid simple and simulates a large window.  For the fill, I got on the David Hobby bandwagon and put a large 60″ soft-silver umbrella on-axis.  This created a very even fill across the scene and cut down on the contrast.  For the shot with the bowl, I also added a small white bounce card on the right side of the chips.  This setup may be a 99 cent store solution, but it creates beautiful results.  Here is a picture from behind the scenes:

fried cinnamon sugar tortillas lighting setup

 

Tech Notes

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Strobes: White Lightning x1600
Tripod: Manfrotto
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 48mm
Shutter: 125
Aperture: f/10

 

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas Recipe

Recipe slightly adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 package of large tortillas (I used a package of 8)
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ T cinnamon
  • 2 c. vegetable oil for frying
  • Medium-sized cookie cutter
Instructions
  1. Cut as many shapes as the tortilla’s will allow.
  2. Mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Heat oil in pan set to medium heat.
  4. Once the oil is hot, fry the tortillas on both sides until the edges are browned. Be careful! They cook fast!
  5. Cool fried chips on a wire rack.
  6. Gently toss the fried chips in the sugar-mixture.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips & the Truth About Me

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips: an easy sweet and salty snack by ibakeheshoots.com.

The truth about me is…I’m a hot mess.

It’s true…and I’m well aware. Check out my stats:

  • my gas tank is perpetually on E
  • I lose my keys on the daily
  • quite frequently I say  “We have to go back, I left the _____.”
  • my car looks like he hasn’t been washed since the ’90s
  • …and I don’t even know where my phone is, right now!

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips: an easy sweet and salty snack by ibakeheshoots.com.

I could go on but I’ll spare you. The d-man says it’s part of my charm but most of the time, it’s just annoying. Needless to say, my hot-messiness and I are at odds. It’s a constant battle, but I claimed victory the day I made these chocolate covered potato chips. These chips say  “I’ve got this!” And they were right.

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips: an easy sweet and salty snack by ibakeheshoots.com.

Chocolate and potato chips was all I needed. Two ingredients and I had temporarily slayed the Hot Mess Beast. Head held high, I took these little beauties to a dinner party and watched my friends’ eyes alight with anticipation. They were  incredibly impressed but had no idea that for some reason, my credit cards were in the trunk of my car.

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips: an easy sweet and salty snack by ibakeheshoots.com.

I have to give it up for the d-man. I mean…the chips looked good when the chocolate cooled, but they looked nothing like this. This photography is some next-level *ish*.

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Photo Notes

by David

“You still got that white acrylic thing?”

“Yeah.”

…and so it began.

Mondo called it, and I shot it.  I did a few test shots in the baking pan, set up the white acrylic, and got conceptual with it.

From a lighting standpoint, these things were a challenge. On a single chip, I had to light a textured and reflective surface. I wasn’t worried about the texture, but the reflective surface of the chocolate could be a problem.  It would look completely flat unless I gave it shape with a bright highlight and a deep shadow.

To create this highlight and shadow, I pulled out my secret weapon: the Hacob light panel. This DIY light panel looks like junk, but it produces beautiful light with very soft transfer edges. Made by my former instructor Hacob, it’s a simple wooden picture frame filled with 400 Leelux.

Set shot:

Choc Potato Chip Setup

Ideally, this should have been shot on an infinity light table, but I did it with a piece of white acrylic propped up by a C-Stand. I placed a piece of white construction paper under the acrylic.

The lights:

1) The light in the back is adjusted one stop over my shooting aperature to create a pure white background.  The modifier is a 60″ Photek Softlighter.  It’s difficult to tell by the set shot, but the Softlighter is pointed upward to avoid refraction on the front lens element.

2) On the left, I have a simple white board to fill in the shadow area.

3) Lastly, on the right, I’m using the Hacob light panel to create a specular light on the side of the potato chips.

The funny thing is that after setting up the light panel to create beautiful highlights and shadows on the chocolate, I realized the back light was already doing the job. I changed gears and ended up using the light panel as an edge light.

Finally, to provide a better idea of how reflective surfaces work (like chocolate), here is a technical breakdown from the first shot of this post (back light turned off):

Choc Potato Chip panelChoc Potato Chip surfaceTech Notes:

Lighting: White Lightning X1600 monolight bounced through Leelux400 and Photek Softlighter 60″ for back-light
Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Tripod: Manfrotto with trigger grip
Aperture: f/14 – f/18
Shutter: 1/160
Focal Length: 50mm

 

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Recipe

Recipe slightly adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (any chocolate will do. I used 60% cacao Ghirardelli)
  • 1 (9.5 oz) bag ridge-cut potato chips
Instructions
  1. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and melt for 30sec at a time. Mine took about 90sec.
  2. Stir chocolate until smooth and begin dipping the chips, about ½ way.
  3. Shake off any excess chocolate and place chips onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  4. Allow chocolate covered chips to dry completely before serving(about 2 hrs or you can refrigerate to speed up the process)
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week