Hold up. Before we get started here, make yourself a margarita.
Ok, chip time. If you’re starting with store-bought corn tortillas, skip the next few steps and scroll down to the baking part of the process.
To make sixteen 6-inch tortillas, you’ll need:
2 cups masa harina (fine-ground corn flour, available at Mexican groceries)
1 1/4 to 2 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix the masa and salt in a bowl, then add water.
Start by adding 1 1/4 cup hot water to the masa harina, and stirring with a large spoon. Continue to mix the dough with your hands and knead it in the bowl for about 2 minutes until you can form a smooth ball that is not sticky or crumbly.
If the dough is dry or gritty and not holding together, add more water and knead until smooth.
When the dough is just right, it will have a texture similar to Play-Doh. It will feel slightly cool, smooth, and clammy to the touch and should not feel wet or sticky. If the dough is wet, add more masa.
The dough should look like this.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and let rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours — as long as you can wait.
This lets the flour hydrate, so the tortillas won’t crack and break when you press them.
Now, divide your dough.
Section in half, and then in half again, and again a third time — until you have 16 similarly sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
Get some parchment paper ready: Tear off two 10×10-inch pieces of parchment paper, plus sixteen 7×7-inch squares. It’s fine to eyeball this; you’ll use the larger squares for rolling out and the smaller squares to keep the tortillas from sticking together when you stack them up.
There’s no need for a real tortilla press here (though if you have one, you’re winning) — just use a flat plate, a dish that’s larger than 6 inches, or a rolling pin.
Place one ball between the 2 larger sheets of parchment and, holding the plate, use your body weight to flatten the dough.
You want the dough about 6 inches in diameter and less than 1/8 inch thick.
If you can’t flatten it enough with the plate, finish rolling out with a rolling pin.
If you want perfectly round edges, trim with a bowl or other circular object about 6 inches in diameter.
If you don’t care, neither do we. Carefully peel dough off the large piece of parchment and place on one of your smaller sheets. Continue this process and keep stacking the tortillas with the small sheets of parchment so they don’t stick together.
Now heat a dry cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat.
Place tortillas on the hot pan one at a time and cook for about 1 minute per side, then flip, and cook about 1 more minute. The tortilla should slightly char and puff up as it cooks on the second side.
Now it’s time to make your chips.
Here’s what you’ll need to turn those tortillas into glorious, crispy-crunchy chips:
16 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons safflower, sunflower, or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more, to taste
+ 2 limes, juiced (if you want to make them Hint Of Lime!)
First, snip ’em up.
Cut each cooked tortilla into 4 segments and brush each side very lightly with oil. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Spread out the triangles on two baking sheets in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, and bake.
Give them about 8 to 11 minutes at 400 degrees, or until golden brown and crispy.
Optional: DIY Hint Of Lime
Juice two limes into a small bowl and then use your fingertips to lightly sprinkle the chips with lime juice as they come out of the oven. The chips will crisp up even more as they cool.
Look, Ma, CHIPS!
Make sure to serve with vast quantities of salsa and guacamole and another round of margaritas.