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What to do for a day dedicated to cheesy corn snacks? How about a drag race and some pyrotechnics? Then some culinary adventuring and a virtual trip to NYC? Sound good?
I’ve never eaten a Cheese Doodle. I think they’re an East Coast thing. But I am no stranger to cheese flavoured corn snacks. In fact, I blame them for motivating my current exercise regimen. See, I discovered these baked ones at Shopper’s Drug Mart (Nativa brand). I got hooked, and soon found myself buying regular ones in lieu of the “healthy” ones when I couldn’t get to a Shopper’s.
Anyway, I’m not going to get into some kind of taste test business, because that’s much too subjective. Instead I’ve prepared you a once-in-a-lifetime event. That’s right, a good old fashioned cheezy drag race. May the best snack win!
Today’s contestants (L-R) were Cheetos Puffs, Cheetos Crunchy and the all-Canadian preservative free Hawkins Cheezies.
And the Crunchy takes it! Okay, so that wasn’t very empirical. I promise the next challenge will be less arbitrary.
Well, there’s more to a cheezie than speed. I’ve also heard they make excellent firestarters. So which will burn the best?
So far it’s a tight showing…
… but the Crunchy takes it again! And this was a significant victory. It burned much longer and more violently than the others. The “all-natural” Hawkins Cheezie didn’t burn well at all. Don’t put it in your survival kit.
Well, what’s a cheezie blog without an attempt at homemade cheezies? My deep-frying skills were warmed up from taco chip day, so why not?
Real cheese puffs get their puff from steam. The cornmeal/water blend is heated to a high temperature and kept under high-pressure. When it gets piped out into air the hot water content expands into steam, puffing the batter. That wasn’t an option for me, so I tried an alternative method.
I blended 1/3 C each of regular corn flour (not Masa Harina) and corn meal. I added 1 Tbsp. of sharp cheddar cheese powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp. salt, and blended well. To this I added about 3 Tbsp. of club soda and mixed it into a thick paste. I tried to pipe it but my piping bag wasn’t up to the challenge, so I shaped small sticks and dropped them into the oil. Once fried I tossed them with more cheese powder.
They were good! I’d probably try white cheddar powder next time and maybe fry them a little longer. They were crisp on the outside and still slightly tender inside, but the smaller crumbs that I pulled out of the oil had a very similar texture to commercial crunchy cheezies. The main difference was the slightly grainy texture of my cornmeal – I suspect they use a finer grind, or cook and soften theirs more.
Finally I will leave you with the haute couture of Cheezie Cuisine. It’s true, alongside Lobster Salad and Porcini Ravioli with Gorgonzola Cream, some posh restaurant in NYC has created a popular side dish of broccoli with a creamy cheese sauce and cheezie topping. I will refer you to the recipe on the New York Magazine website.
Well that’s it from Cheezie land for today! Happy snacking!