Monday, January 22, 2007

SHF: Chocolate Frito pie

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I seldom order desserts when dining out, and when as kids we'd ride our bikes to 7-11, while the others would spend their allowances on confections, I’d always opt for a bag of Fritos.

I love Fritos. This humble little Texan chip is snack perfection for me. Its delicate curve, its strong yet light crunch, its toasted, sweet corn flavor brought out by its salty coating—all glorious! I’ve been known to just pop a Frito in my mouth and suck on it like candy, drawing out all of its corn goodness until the chip finally dissolves into a pile of mush. OK, that probably sounds odd, but trust me, it’s fun! And when you eat Fritos, you can pretend they’re good for you, as the ingredients are just corn, oil and salt—nothing artificial about these babies, they’re practically a whole food.

One of the best Frito dishes is something called Frito pie. It’s a bag of Fritos topped with chili, cheese and diced onions found at county fairs and football games all over Texas. But we’ll discuss that another day. Right now, I’m here to talk about a crazy concoction I created for Sugar High Friday hosted this month by David Lebovitz.

I’ve been doing lots of cooking with Mexican chocolate lately, and I have in my possession a large inventory of Chocolate Mayordomo, an unsweetened mix of cacao beans and almonds made in Oaxaca. It’s Mexican baking chocolate and not only have I used it for hot, frothy beverages but I've also used it in my chili and my mole. While I'm not prone to making sweets, after reading about a fancy-pants Manhattan chocolatier selling chocolate-covered tortilla chips for $20, I said to myself, I can do that! So with a bag of Fritos and a block of Mexican chocolate on hand, I decided to come up with a recipe for chocolate-dipped Fritos.

I melted the Mexican chocolate in a double boiler and added some sugar, some ancho powder, some cinnamon, some vanilla and a big handful of Whole Foods chocolate chips. After it melted, I tried to coat a Frito with the sauce, but it wouldn’t stay—it just clumped. Now I’m not a baker, and it was probably foolish of me to try and go about this sans recipe. But, the chocolate sauce tasted so delicious I just couldn’t bear to let it go to waste. So I threw the bag of Fritos in the pot of chocolate, stirred it up and voila—chocolate Frito pie!

Now I don’t know if everyone would like this dessert, but I found the first couple of bites tasty. The interplay between the chocolate, Fritos and ancho powder was balanced: not too sweet, not too salty and not too spicy. And the Fritos provided a sturdy, crunchy backdrop to the fudgy, nutty chocolate. If you’ve ever enjoyed chocolate tamales or chocolate-covered corn nuts, you know how well these flavors play together.

So I won't leave you with a recipe, because I'm not sure what exactly I did. But if you have any ideas on how to make chocolate-dipped corn chips, let me know!

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39 comments:

Eric said...

I've enjoyed reading your site, and being a Texan by proxy (marriage), I have a great appreciation for all things from the state and visit regularly. This post made me think about another use for Fritos, which could take the whole dish a little more lowbrow. Possibly a sweet version of the "walking taco"? The "walking taco" is traditionally a single-serve bag of Fritos, opened, and topped with some chili, cheese and onions and served with a fork. Mexican chocolate instead? Sounds good to me. Thanks!

matt said...

Oh my goodness. Oh my my my my goodness.

Shall I call it serendipity? I made a quick frito pie this past weekend and was about to repost an old frito pie entry from the ole blog to the new site when I did my daily click on Homesick Texan.

Now my jaws are salivating and I can taste it. Salty corn goodness, nutty chocolate, some salt and spice, it really honestly sounds heavenly to me. Does that make me crazy? Gosh, I hope not.

Adam's friend made his chocolate covered potato chips for Christmas, which we quickly devoured. This just sounds better and I can't wait to give it a try.

Thank you!

Homesick Texan said...

Eric--Thanks! I've never heard Frito pie called a walking taco, but it makes sense to me.

Matt--You're very welcome, and I can't WAIT to read your Frito pie post!

Shawnda said...

Chocolate frito pie?! I'm intrigued. WAY intrigued.

I have fritos and chocolate downstairs. I might take a wee bit of a long lunch and make a wee bit of a mess in the kitchen :) I also have chili, so if the chocolate doesn't work out...

Melting Wok said...

Greetings from So Cal :) Frito chips is the 2nd best munchies here next to nachos ,wholly moley, fritomoley, very creative indeed :)

Kristen said...

Frito pie has always intrigued me — although I admit, I've never so much as been in the same room with one. Is there a recipe you recommend? Or is it just a matter of Fritos + chili + cheese + onions, all in the same... bowl? pie pan? something else?

Chicken Fried Gourmet said...

You know what this woulg go well with ? Ancho Chile sweetened whip cream

Homesick Texan said...

Shawnda--It's always fun to make a mess in the kitchen!

Melting Wok--Oh yes, I love my nachos!

Kristen--Yep, that's all it is. Traditionally, you'd find Frito pie made in the Frito bag. But you can also do it in a bowl and it's also served in those red-checked paper boats. Try it--it's a real treat!

CFG--Oh yes, that's brilliant! Next time....

Judith in Umbria said...

This is stunning, and all those excessive ideas are fabulous too.
Of course I would have to fly to America to get Fritos, but I have enough fond memories to "get" this recipe in my head.
Good work, Tex.

Freya said...

Yum! I love chocolate combined with salty things. My favourite snack for ages was a packet of salted potato chips with a bar of Kit Kat or dipping French Fries into Chocolate Milkshake. So wrong that it's right! This Frito Pie looks delicious!
Freya

veron said...

I'm one who dipped my salty chips in cheesecake! So I'm sure I'll love this chocolate with frito chips.

melissa mcgee said...

well you & matt are on the same wavelength!

there must be something in the air about texans being away from home and missing frito pie. i'm here IN texas and hadn't thought of it since the last time matt blogged about it. personally, i prefer frito pie right out of the bag. if i have to eat it from a bowl i feel a bit gypped, even though it's still delectable.
there's just nuthin' better in the whole wide world than a frito pie.

Bookwormom said...

OT~

I found you googling 'authentic texas red'. :) Your blog reminds of better days when we lived in San Antonio & fantastic food was readily at hand. The other day a neighbor asked me where to find good Tex Mex locally & I told him Texas.(I live in DC BTW) He wasn't amused, but it's true.

I too enjoy the Frito bag full of chili & cheese, but haven't had or served one in ages. Good stuff.

Homesick Texan said...

Judith--Why thank you!

Freya--Chocolate with salty things is indeed a delish combination. Never tried potato chips with a Kit Kat, though--perhaps I'll have that for my afternoon snack today.

Veron--Salty chips in cheesecake? Oh my!

Melissa--As Matt said, so serendipitious! I read somewhere they people don't make it in the bag as often as they used to b/c Frito-Lay changed the foil wrapping and the new stuff is too thin and light to handle the heaviness of the chili. But yep, it should always be in the bag, that's part of its brilliance!

Bookwormom--Welcome! And yes, it's so hard to find decent Tex-Mex anywhere else. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's always something that's not quite right.

Luisa said...

In Germany, you can find milk chocolate-covered potato chips called and they are - oddly, oddly, delicious.

Melissa said...

Lisa, one of my favorite, favorite things ever is a snack from Norway called 'Smash!'. It's basically these little salty corn cones dipped in milk chocolate... Oh my god, they are so good! I think Fritos dipped in chocolate is probably about as close as it gets. Brilliant!

Vanessa said...

Lisa - this is acutally reminding me of one of my childhood pig-out sweets: Puppy Chow. Do you know this one? It's bascially chex cereal coated with a melted-chocolate-peanut-butter mix and then dusted with powdered sugar (you shake it up in a huge ziploc bag.) I'm thinking that fritos prepared this way with a spicy sugar coating would be to die for.

Homesick Texan said...

Luisa--Chocolate and potato chips? That I have to try! I'm loving learning about all these wild combinations of chocolate and [insert something salty here].

Melissa--You got me to Google! I asked my Swedish friend if he'd tried Smash! but he'd never heard of them. They look like chocolate-covered Bugles--remember those? Next time I'm in Northern Europe I'll have to pick up a pack.

Vanessa--Never had Puppy Chow but it sounds good! Does anyone eat Chex cereal in a bowl with milk? We always had boxes on hand to make savory party mix.

Kristen said...

Frito pie made in the Frito bag! My admiration for this food has doubled.

Kristen said...

Frito pie made in the Frito bag! My fascination with this food just doubled.

Kristen said...

Aw, hell. I posted twice -- causing me to post a third time. Stupid broken interwebs.

Yvo said...

LOL I had just read about Frito pies over on Matt's site. I saw your title and I was like ooh.... As I said over there, Fritos are my hands down, fave snack because of the salt. I let them "melt" in my mouth sometimes too. That salt just hits the right spot for cravings. I used to be more of a sweet snack person but now, definitely give me the salty snacks. That sounds fantastic though- occasionally I ah, pig out with a bag of Fritos on one side, and something sweet like soft chocolate chip cookies on the other side of me. Then I interchange; I'll eat a few salty, one sweet thing, then go back to salty, and keep going back and forth. And I wonder why I've gained so much weight *shakes head and laughs*

Homesick Texan said...

Kristen--No worries, Blogger can be annoying sometimes. But yes! Try a Frito pie, it's excellent!

Yvo--Oh good, I'm glad I'm not alone in letting the Fritos melt in my mouth. Salt, glorious, salt! Even better with chocolate! And yes, I hear you on the weight front--food blogging sure does take its toll on the waistline!

christine (myplateoryours) said...

God, I can't believe their are other melt-in-your-mouth frito lovers out there. I don't run into fritos too often anymore, but I got a little bag of them on a NWA flight the other day and found myself doing that. Felt like I was 12 again (but in a good way.)

Jessica said...

Interesting. I like chocolate-covered olive oil potato chips. I think this could work.

Mona said...

Frito pie! I'm from the Midwest, and like one of the other posters noted, we call those "walking tacos" here. I remember in grade school, "walking taco" days were the best days to buy lunch. You got a bag of Fritos and then the lunch ladies set out a whole bunch of different toppings. Some kids would dump the whole thing out into a plate, but I always ate mine in the bag. It was more adventurous that way. ;)

Loved this entry (found your journal through a post over at Simply Recipes), I'm just itching to experiment with chocolate frito pie too!

P.S. The way you eat a Frito is how I eat it as well. I seriously think it may be the only "processed snack food" (in the arena of potato chips and the like) that you can savor every bite.

Homesick Texan said...

Christine--It's the only way to eat them!

Jessica--Ooooo, those sound delish!

Mona--Thanks for stopping by, and yes, it's always better to eat your Frito pie out of the bag. And hey! Another one who savors the Fritos.

Anna said...

I have a recipe I'm working on. If it works out, I'll send it to you. It's like that old "Cracker Candy" but uses Fritos and Pretzels. On paper, it looks pretty gross but my test batch was good. The problem right now is I need to test it with actual Fritos. I did the test batch with Bugles.

Anonymous said...

In college at the university of Texas i had a friend that introduced me to what he called the "seventy-five cent meal".

It is very easy to make:

Step 1: Purchase bag of fritos (maybe more than 75cents these days, but no mater.

Step 2: Open bag

Step 3: Apply "free chili" intended for use on the rotating hotdogs. Add onions if also available.

Step 4: Enjoy frito pie on the go!

Sometimes clerks would try to argue that it was an inappropriate use of the "free chili"...but the funniest response was an older man that said "They didn't know the beast they was unleashing, when they thought up that there free chili"

sarah said...

to make the chocolate un-clumpy start the whole thing by melting some butter or heating some cream with your spices. then add the chocolate. the fat will help to give the chocolate a less lumpy gloppy. that's how i make chocolate covered pretzels... good luck! this sounds delicious.

Anna said...

Well, thanks for the inspiration. Here's another sweet Frito treat ;). I tested this on lots of people -- the manager of our grocery store, ladies at a bunko party and my doctor's office. Everyone liked it.

Here's the link to the recipe if you want to give it a try.

http://www.cookiemadness.net/2007/02/sweet_salty_trashy_candy_stuff.html

JoyBugaloo said...

Hi! My name is Gina, and I just found your site. It's great! I wanted to give two big thumbs up to what I like to call Anna's "Trashy Toffee," the Frito-based treat. It is truly addictive!

And I also wanted to ask what kind of camera you use for your pics? They look fabulous! Please drop me a reply at JoyBugaloo(at)aol(dot)com if you get a chance. Thanks!

Keep up the great blogging!
--Gina (lindseysluscious.blogspot.com)

Anonymous said...

so many good ideas, thanks. ya'll should try a FRITO variation of my old Funyuns and a Mars bar. they are the perfect mix of sweet n salty. also try a variation on my Dorito (or Cheeto) with creamy chocolate ice cream. just a few fun ideas for a boring day...i may have to run out tomorrow and get a few things so i can have a sandwich with them, a la Frito commercial from when i as a kid... ever since that commercial, i REALLY CANT have a bologny sandwich without Fritos!!! (the small ones of course) and hasn't everyone tried the melt in your mouth thing at least once in their life? ;)

Homesick Houstonian said...

I am a whiz with chocolate. Someone above mentioned making a ganache, that will work, but it'll be thicker and softer. My guess is, your chocolate didn't work because of the Mexican Chocolate. Mexican chocolate is nibs and sugar pressed into a cake, it isn't conched, so its not going to coat. Give it a try sans the mexican chocolate, keep all your spices and add a bit of cinnamon. To get the chocolate to harden, use a piece of marble to place the finished chips on or stick it in the fridge for a few minutes.

I love the frito pie idea though. You should shave some white chocolate to throw on for the onions.

Jo Beth said...

I had to search a bit but wow, this one is worthy of praise. Very original recipe here. I'm impressed.

Texican412 said...

Hi...my name is Rene and I am also an expat Texan. I am originally from the Rio Grande Valley, but I later moved to the Greater Houston Area (Brazoria County) I'm currently living in Oregon working on my Bachelor's degree.

I really enjoyed reading your Frito pie story. It brought back a lot of memories. I bought my first one at the same little hole-in-the-wall that my dad used to frequent in his teen years. I can still see the lady snipping the bag open and then ladling a steaming helping of home-made chili over the top and then sprinkling on the cheese. No onions back then...I didn't like them. Still, it was fantastic and I was hooked.

I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog. I'll try to make it by more often. :)

The Canadian Carrabine's said...

I know these posts are old, but I've just discovered your blog. You inspired me to make kolaches (sausage and cheese), iced tea, chicken fried steak, potatoes, and gravy....all today! Soon I will be making tortillas.

But, have you had the recipe with Frito's, peanut butter, corn syrup, and chocolate chips melted on top and cut into bars. I'd have to look up the exact recipe, but oh my goodness! Just don't eat too much because you may never want it again.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Texas all my life and one of my favorite things to eat since I was a little kid is Fritos dipped in chocolate pudding. The big Frito Scoops work well for this but don't seem to taste as good as the regular Fritos. Though it does take forever to eat a bowl of pudding one Frito at a time.

QuicksilverFox85 said...

The consession stand at my high school volleyball games had Frito Pies and were, despite being sans onion and in the little red and white boats, fantastic. I got at least one every game, a fact which was mentioned at the post-season dinner my senior year!

Anyway, I'm rambling. I'll definitely be trying this desert version of it at my earliest convenience.

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