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A Treat for the Whole Family – Baked Honey Barbecue Chicken Fingers

For many adults, just hearing the words “chicken fingers” is enough to make them cringe. They immediately think back to the days when the only things their young children would eat were chicken fingers, tenders, McNuggets or whatever else that happened to be called that are sold in the frozen food aisle of your grocery store, at the local fast food restaurant or any of the dozens of family style convenience restaurants around today. While you may not be thrilled with the notion of what you get in those frozen bags, there are plenty of alternatives out there that you can try making on your own that taste good so that everyone in the family will enjoy them. This particular recipe, that I picked up from Sally’s Baking Addiction, covers just that, giving you a tasty chicken fingers alternative that get away from the frying and offer you a baked alternative that tastes great.

Baked Honey Barbecue Chicken Fingers

3/4 cup barbecue sauce (whatever your favorite may be)

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (or more, if needed)

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders

Nonstick cooking spray

Combine the barbecue sauce and the honey in a large bowl. If you are using chicken breasts, pound the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness and cut the breasts into strips. If you are using chicken tenders, cut them in half lengthwise. Add the chicken strips to the bowl with the barbecue sauce and honey and stir so all of the chicken is evenly coated. Cover the bowl tightly and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours. The longer you marinade, the more flavorful the chicken will be.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat or coat the sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the flour. salt, pepper and the smoked paprika in a shallow dish. Pour the beaten eggs into another shallow dish. Pour the panko breadcrumbs into a third shallow dish. Coat each chicken strip with flour, shaking off any excess. Next. dip the floured chicken in the egg and allow any excess egg to drip off. Then roll the chicken strip in the panko breadcrumbs, coating completely before shaking off any excess. Place the chicken strips on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the process until all of the chicken has been coated. Spray each chicken strip with the nonstick cooking spray to help seal the breading to the chicken, preventing the breading from staying raw and allowing it to bake into the chicken strips.

Bake the chicken fingers in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Turn each piece over and continue baking until the outside of the chicken is crisp and the centers of the chicken pieces are cooked through, about another 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the chicken fingers with extra barbecue sauce for dipping.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can make a large batch and freeze any extras that you may have to use when you need a quick dinner for the kids or yourself or just want an easy snack. These are perfect for a meal any night with some homemade fries (I made some homemade baked sweet potato fries with ours) or you can use these for any type of buffet when you are having a party and you know kids may be around. They are also great snacks for watching the game or when you have a crowd over. You get good crunch from the breadcrumb mixture and underneath is great flavor from the barbecue sauce and the honey. This is definitely one to remember and you can experiment with this also, perhaps making the chicken fingers ranch flavored instead of barbecue with some spices, or maybe even adding some Parmesan to the breadcrumbs, eliminating the barbecue sauce and substituting tomato sauce to have an Italian-style chicken fingers. There’s lots of room to use your imagination with this one and the best part is you have control over the ingredients so you know what goes into each one, and they are baked, making them a better choice for you.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Sean’s Birthday Cake – Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Sean’s birthday was last week (he is officially a teenager now) and he invited a few of his friends over this past weekend to hang out and have some snacks and then have some cake. Since he did not want a traditional birthday cake while his buddies were here, he decided he would like some cupcakes instead. I went about trying to find something special when I came across this wonderful recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction for these peppermint mocha cupcakes. They were the perfect thing for some teenage boys looking for a tasty and sweet snack and it fits the holiday season as well.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1/2 cup butter

2 ounces semisweet baking chocolate

1 heaping tablespoon instant coffee

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

12 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

Peppermint Vanilla Frosting:

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Salt, to taste

Cupcake Decor:

4 ounce semisweet baking chocolate,melted

Crushed candy canes

For the cupcakes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set it aside.

Melt the butter and the chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each time. You may also melt the butter and chocolate over low heat on the stove top. Stir until the mixture is combined, then mix in the instant coffee. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, toss the  cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set this bowl aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and peppermint extract together until it is smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate and whisk it together until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. repeat until everything is added together. Stir until it is just combined; do not overmix. The batter will be very thick, like pudding.

Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake liners in the cupcake pan. Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow he cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: Beat the softened butter on kedium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until it is smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and peppermint extract with the mixer running. Increase the mixer to high-speed and beat for 3 full minutes. The longer you beat the mixture, the creamier the frosting will be. Add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin or more cream if the frosting is too thick. Add the salt if the frosting is too sweet (about 1/4 teaspoon).

Decorate the cupcakes: Frost the cooled cupcakes. There may be leftover frosting depending on how much you use on each cupcake. Drizzle the cupcakes with the melted chocolate and top with the crushed candy canes.

I really liked the flavor of the cupcakes. The hint of coffee with the peppermint may this cupcake delicious. This recipe does make a lot of frosting, so if you have something else you can use it for, go right ahead or make some extra cupcakes and you will be able to frost them. The frosting has a great mint flavor and adding the drizzled chocolate and the candy canes just topped everything off, literally. The boys really enjoyed them and each had at least one and we still had some leftover for the next day. i would make this again for sure. They are great for a party and would be perfect for a Christmas or holiday party as well.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for more recipes. I have a huge backlog of recipes I have made to post and not enough time to post them as I have been busy with work and Christmas stuff, but I will try my best to get everything on here. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Cakes, Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dessert, Holidays

 

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