Introduction: Sweet and Savory Texas Toothpicks

Picture of Sweet and Savory Texas Toothpicks


Deep fried, tempura breaded jalapeno spears are lovingly referred to as Texas toothpicks. Though they may not clean between your teeth, they will certainly burn through your sinuses and leave you coming back for more.

Traditionally done savory style, I decided to mix some sweet flavors into the breading and dipping sauce for one amazing sweet-hot combination. Some were skeptical of dipping a breaded jalapeno in something Nutella flavored, but let me tell you their minds soon changed- I ran out of the sweet styled ones faster than the savory ones! Give this recipe a try and let me know what other flavor combinations work for you.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need
In addition to ~1 lb of jalapenos and a quantity of oil for frying, you'll need the following ingredients for a sweet or savory batter- feel free to adjust the spices to your liking, these are only guidelines that worked for me.

Tempura Batter Base:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cold beer or seltzer
Savory Batter:
  • Teaspoon chili powder
  • Teaspoon salt
  • Teaspoon black pepper
  • Teaspoon garlic powder
Sweet Batter:
  • Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Teaspoon sugar
  • Teaspoon cocoa powder
  • Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom (as desired) 
Dip (Savory or Sweet)
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro or Nutella

Step 2: Prepare the Jalapenos

Picture of Prepare the Jalapenos


Choose your Jalapenos wisely- the more striations they have and the redder they are, the spicier they will be. If you wear contacts, I highly suggest a pair of exam gloves or something similar for this! You do NOT want to touch your eyes or any sensitive areas with jalapeno juice covered fingers.
 

  • Wash and dry thoroughly
  • Cut off stems
  • Remove seeds and membranes
  • Julianne (slice into small skewers lengthwise)

Step 3: Prepare the Batter- Sweet or Savory

Picture of Prepare the Batter- Sweet or Savory

Prepare the batter mixture first without the beer or seltzer. Combine 1 cup flour with two eggs and the assorted spices you are using for either a sweet or savory breading- take some room to be creative here, what I have below is just what worked for me. When all the ingredients are combined, slowly add the seltzer/beer and mix thoroughly but slowly. Make sure not to mix it so much that you get all the carbonation out of the batter. The key to a fluffy batter is keeping some of that carbonation- you should see bubbles in your batter if you did it right. If not, don't worry about it, it won't ruin your batter.

Tempura Batter Base:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cold beer or seltzer

Savory Batter:

  • Teaspoon chili powder
  • Teaspoon salt
  • Teaspoon black pepper
  • Teaspoon garlic powder

Sweet Batter:

  • Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Teaspoon sugar
  • Teaspoon cocoa powder
  • Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom (as desired)

Step 4: Frying Time

Picture of Frying Time

Time to fry these spears up!
  • Pre-heat your oil to ~365 degrees F
  • Batter your jalapeno spears and place them in your oil (avoid splashing!)
  • Fry them in small batches to avoid cooling the oil too much
  • Remove when golden grown
  • Let cool and drain on paper towel or drying rack
Try to remove any bits of batter that come off of the spears from your oil to avoid burning and smoking.

Step 5: Prepare the Dip- Sweet or Savory

Picture of Prepare the Dip- Sweet or Savory

Although these Texas toothpicks are delicious on their own, they're the perfect vehicles for dip! These are the two dips I tried, feel free to go with any combination that would work well with sweet and savory. Bear in mind the higher the fat content of your dip base (sour cream, yoghurt, etc.) the more it'll cool down the jalapeno burn. The ratio I used between sour cream and Nutella or cilantro was 3:1 tablespoons. Note that the Nutella seizes up a bit when it comes it contact with the sour cream due to temperature differences. It'll take some mixing in order to integrate the two if they are not the same temperature.

Dip (Sweet or Savory)

  • 3 TB---Sour cream
  • 1 TB---Chopped cilantro or Nutella

Step 6: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!


Serve these in a shot-glass or something similar and enjoy while you can! They go faster than you can fry them!

Comments

DavidG199 (author)2017-09-29

Did you know? The spots are "corking" and the more corking, the hotter the pepper.

Honeybunch420 (author)2016-11-17

These are amazing! I first tried these in a small restaurant in my hometown in Kansas about 2 months ago and they are just fantastic???

lamarwds (author)2011-07-11

Those do look good indeed.

ilpug (author)2011-07-05

I'm not much of a spicy-food eater, but these look amazing. must try them, even if it means oral immolation. this is a great Instructable with great presentation.

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