Is there really anything fatter than a nugget of liquid cheese encased in a vessel of deep-fried dough? Not really, which is why TwoFatKids decided to see if we could recreate them at home without all of the leaving-the-house and unnecessary exercising and whatnot.
We decided to play with two different kinds of shells - a standard breadcrumb base and a beer batter. We also upped the ante from regular over-the-counter mozzarella sticks by wrapping the little buggers in thinly sliced prosciutto, which was a rousing success, and we highly recommend it for your own at-home cheese stickery. Next time, we may even add fresh basil, but you know how we feel about green things in our food.
For those nervous about taking the fat into your own hands and frying in your very own kitchen, don’t be. With a little careful preparedness and common sense, you can totally avoiding exploding the whole neighborhood. We used a couple pints of canola oil at about 375 degrees for our cheesy friends, gently laying them into the oil with long metal tongs to avoid splashback and transferring them to paper towels to avoid excess grease. (I know, I know - but we can only be SO fat.)
Round 1: The breadcrumb batch
For a little extra crunch, we used pre-packaged Japanese panko breadcrumbs flavored with Italian seasoning, dried oregano, freshly grated Romano cheese, salt, pepper, and some garlic and onion powder. They were adorable and delicious, but the main problem was that the crumb coverage wasn’t substantial enough to keep the rapidly melting cheese in the frying stick to keep from splooging out the sides like Deepwater Horizon (too soon?). Even still, they had a lovely crunch and light flavor, though they probably could have used more salt, even with the prosciutto.
Round 2: The beer batter batch
Next up, we used a pretty standard beer batter recipe - we chose a can of Porkslap Pale Ale that has been in our fridge since a beach trip back in July (TwoFatKids on the beach - shudder), and we amped up the flavoring with a healthy application of cayenne and fresh black peppers. These guys bloated up like jalapeno poppers as soon as they hit the oil, which was hilarious, especially when some of them started coming out looking like deep-fried mice. The batter on these, while tasty with just the right hint of heat, absorbed a lot more oil than the previous variety, leaving them with a bit more of a greasy feel that wasn’t entirely pleasant (don’t worry, we still ate them).
Round 3: THE HYBRID
As we surveyed the mountain of mozzarella sticks before us, we asked ourselves a very important question: “How can we make these even fatter?” The answer: Double-dip the little bastards using both batters! And a star is born.
With a beer batter base followed by roll in the panko breadcrumb mixture, what hailed forth was a king among appetizers. About the diameter of a Ho Ho, these beasts were perfect because the cheese held steady inside the beer batter shell and the crumbs gave us the less greasy, more crunchy bite we were looking for.
In all, the hybrids were the instant favorites, followed closely by the breadcrumb batch. Lagging behind in a distant third was the beer batter type - we loved the spicy flavor, but the oily mouthfeel was too much.
I’d say without hesitation that the first TwoFatKids foray into the kitchen was a big success - nothing caught fire and we didn’t have to call Poison Control. We’re not quite sure what we’ll fat it up with next, so feel free to come forth with suggestions.