From the first episode, I knew OITNB would use food creatively. They roast a whole pig on her last night before prison! I knew I was definitely not wrong when Piper got a tampon breakfast sandwich on her first day (I think??) in jail. I've been wanting to make something from the show for a while, and have a lot of options, but I'm behind and a friend of mine suggested I make Flamin' Hot Cheetos based on a story arc from the current season. You don't have to worry about spoilers because I need to catch up and only know what I've read for context that the governor sent a goodwill gift that included the spicy snack in a shipment. This is yet another experiment in making store-bought things homemade and I'm not sure if it's worth the effort, but they were tasty and the coating would definitely work as a versatile seasoning for a lot of snacks (it was originally intended for popcorn).
Baked Hot "Cheetos"
inspired by Orange is the New Black, season 5, episode 6
makes a small zipper bag
for the Cheetos
- 4 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- .13 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp yellow cornmeal
- 4oz ounces Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded
for the coating
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 1/4 tsp cheddar cheese powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp + a pinch onion powder
- 1/4 tsp + a pinch garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder + more if you want to make it spicier
- 1/8 tsp + a pinch MSG (optional)
- 1/8 tsp + a pinch citric acid powder (optional, or add vinegar or lemon juice instead)
- 1 pinch chili powder
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, salt and garlic powder on medium-low for 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl and add flour, cornmeal and shredded cheese. Stir together on low until a firm dough forms.* Shape into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll between fingers to form lumpy, cheeto-like logs that are about two inches long and 1/4-1/2 inch wide. Place on baking sheets. They can be close together because they won't puff in the oven.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. They're done when the dough logs aren't shiny anymore and just beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
While the Cheetos are baking, combine all ingredients for the coating together in a small bowl. If you're using vinegar or lemon juice instead of citric acid powder, the mixture will be a little damper and will clump, so do this early on so the mixture can dry some and you can unclump it. If you like it spicy, I would wait to add extra cayenne until it's mixed according to the recipe and add pinch by pinch until you have your desired heat.
Once the Cheetos are cool, place them and the coating in a large zippered bag and close it securely. Toss it all around until they are evenly coated. Serve or save them in an airtight container for up to a week. Pour the extra coating that doesn't stick over them when you serve, or save it as a seasoning.
*When I got to this step, there was no way the mixture was going to form into a dough. It was just a powder. I added water to make it sticky and it worked, but I think it messed with the texture. It took much longer to crisp up in the oven (which could have also been because my apartment/kitchen were very hot and humid), and they didn't achieve the full crunchiness I intended. They still tasted good, though. If I make them again, I think I will add egg to make them stick. To me, it seemed like instead of doing something wrong (which would normally be the case, and which I would happily own up to), something might have been missing from the recipe that was copied onto the website I followed.
[made while watching GLOW.]