I’m sorry to say that I’ve never had a fried Snickers bar. Among the many inconveniences that come with my peanut allergy, I think the inability to eat something so uniformly described as “AWESOME” pretty much tops the list. That, and the awkwardness that ensues whenever I realize food someone has just given me is peanut-laden only after getting it in my mouth. There just isn’t much you can do to make spitting something out in your napkin look graceful or well-mannered. Nor does the subsequent surreptitious wiping of one’s tongue with the same napkin ever achieve a quality you might associate with good upbringing.
So I can’t eat a fried Snickers bar. Still, I’m tickled by the idea. The increasing prevalence of Fry Daddies and the like isn’t helping anyone’s waistline, but it has fostered a hilarious environment wherein every eureka-like declaration of WE SHOULD FRY THIS is met with a hearty YEP!
I don’t own a Fry Daddy – I figure anything I do to make it more convenient to deep fry my food is probably a bad thing. That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally fill a Dutch oven with oil and bang out some onion rings, but it’s just enough hassle this way to keep my love of fried bits in line.
Skillet frying is less cumbersome and less dangerous than full-throttle deep frying, but it’s still an absolute mess, both for your kitchen and for your insides. Fried chicken, the best-known hero of the skillet frying world, is one of those favorites that I find myself making less and less frequently as I get, um, older. If you had told 22-year-old Bria that she would find herself looking for baked alternatives to her favorite fried foods within the decade, she would have laughed and turned back to her experiments with fried cookie dough (verdict: not as good as it sounds like it should be). And yet, here I am, giving you my recipe for totally fake fried chicken.
It has all the same elements on the front end – dry layer, wet layer, dry layer. The cornflakes are so crunchtastically heroic that they don’t need any help from hot oil in creating a satisfying, crisp exterior. The oil is kept to an absolute minimum – just what you need to keep things from sticking to the baking dish. Plus, you don’t have to stand over the stove, babysitting a sputtering skillet. There’s no need to turn the pieces or check in as they cook; just pop the dish in the oven and go about cleaning up the kitchen or readying the rest of dinner.
You should be able to have the chicken nearly ready in the time it takes the oven to heat up, making this a handy entree with the requisite speed for weeknight dining prep. Pick up a few packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts whenever you find them on sale and wrap them individually in plastic for easy freezing/defrosting. As noted, this recipe can be easily multiplied to suit your needs, though I would always err on the side of having more crushed cornflakes than you need so you don’t end up with extra milk-dredged chicken pieces. Leftovers will reheat better in the oven than the microwave.