Cheating Cheetos

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Picture of Cheating Cheetos
Ever wonder how those crunchy snacks are made? Strange ingredients, strange techniques? Well, kind of. A recipe for crunchy cheese puffs dropped into my inbox one morning by way of a food blog, The Splendid Table. There was a beautiful photo of what appeared to be Cheetos. Of course they couldn't call it that. The folks at Frito-Lay wouldn't be too pleased. It was a recipe from a book called Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk, by Lara Ferroni.  I just had to try it. As you can see, mine didn't turn out quite as true to the cat I was trying to copy, but I also had to mix up the recipe. Because...that's just the way I am. But alas....I did create a tasty and somewhat addictive snack. It has a crunchy exterior and a bit of a chew in the center. The groundwork is laid. So many possibilities to alter the flavors with different cheeses and herbs and spices. 
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Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
The ingredient list is short, but the technique is somewhat long. This a quite a project, for not a lot of snacking. I felt a tad like a mad scientist. But...just had to do it. I've had this recipe tucked in my back pocket for several months. 

1/2 cup tapioca starch (Bob's Red Mill)
2 tablespoons fine corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce hard cheese, finely grated (Parmesan)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup water
2 cups peanut oil
salt, to taste
pinch chipotle chili powder
finely grated Parmesan for garnish

cookery (author) 1 year ago
I agree. If we could only eat snacks we made, it would be a far healthier world. Not only for pure ingredients, but for the time element, as well.
Brilliant. I think that this is the only way people should eat Cheetos. It would slow down the "impulsive cheeto binge." I wonder if there is a way to really whip up the air content and then extrude them.... maybe via a pastry icing bag? Anyway the time made:time eaten sounds perfect to me.