Chocolate isn’t just for dessert anymore. Chocolate can add depth of flavor, a hint of bitterness, and an extra somethin’-somethin’ to any savory dish when applied correctly. So why not combine two of the most extraordinary foods into one? This, ladies and gentlemen, is a match made in Heaven. Say “hello” to Chocolate and Fried Chicken’s baby, and don’t plan on saying “bye” anytime soon!
This Chocolate Fried Chicken is extremely easy, but does take a lot of prep time. First of all, you have to brine the chicken tenders. This ensures extremely tender and juicy chicken as well as giving time for the spices to permeate the meat. Just whisk together all of the ingredients for the chocolate buttermilk brine in a large baking dish or any other container of your choice and let the chicken sit in the mixture for 12-48 hours in the refrigerator. Since my brother is allergic to dairy, I made this Chocolate Fried Chicken dairy free by substituting the buttermilk with low-fat coconut milk (full-fat coconut milk has too strong of a coconut flavor) and added vinegar until it had that buttermilk-tang (you can also use lemon juice).
Every fried chicken needs a good breading that crisps right up in the fryer. This breading is a dry batter that includes cocoa powder, giving a bitterness and chocolate flavor to the chicken (this also makes the chicken’s breading a chocolate brown color).
Once all of the chicken tenders are coated, off to the fryer!
I don’t have a deep fryer, so I used a large pot and guestimated the temperature of the oil. I would recommend doing one test chicken tender to figure out how long each chicken piece will cook and what temperature ensures a perfectly cooked inside and a perfectly crispy outside. When frying, make sure not to overcrowd the pot. I fried 5 chicken tenders at a time.
The tabasco honey is a must with these Chocolate Fried Chicken Tenders. Since the cocoa powder leaves a bitter aftertaste, the honey perfectly balances it, yielding sweetness and spiciness from the tabasco. Yum!
Chocolate Fried Chicken
Adapted from PopSugar Food
Makes 21 chicken tenders
For chocolate buttermilk brine:
- 1 quart buttermilk or low-fat coconut milk with a couple dashes of vinegar
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1-2 tsp garlic, minced
- 21 chicken tenders
For dry batter:
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. cornstarch
- 1/2 c. cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Neutral oil, such as canola, for frying
For Tabasco honey:
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1 tsp tabasco sauce
- Make the brine: In a large bowl or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, mix together the buttermilk, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic.
- Add chicken tenders, and make sure they are submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, up to 48 hours.
- Make the dry batter: In another large bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.
- Fry the chicken: Remove the chicken from the brine, and dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven or electric deep fryer to 350°F. Add chicken to the oil in batches, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally, until the tenders are cooked through. Drain off excess oil by laying chocolate fried chicken on a paper-towel-lined plate.
- Make the Tabasco honey: Mix together honey and tabasco, until combined. Serve with warm chocolate fried chicken.