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!

May the best cheezie win!

Today’s contestants (L-R) were Cheetos Puffs, Cheetos Crunchy and the all-Canadian preservative free Hawkins Cheezies.

They're off!

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?

Firestarter!

So far it’s a tight showing…

Crunchy takes it!

… 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.

Home-made deliciousness!

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!
~Sage

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