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2 pounds trimmed boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups buttermilk
6 whole eggs
1/2 cup cream or milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 8 1/2-ounce bags of Cheetos® Crunchy, (plain or flamin’ hot, your choice)
Canola oil, for frying
Blue cheese dressing, to serve on the side
Celery sticks, to serve on the side
Cut the breasts into thick strips (any size) and place in a medium bowl.
Pour over the buttermilk and let soak at room temperature for two hours.
While the chicken is soaking, prepare the breading station.
In a medium bowl beat eggs and cream and set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk flour, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and white pepper. Set aside.
Place two bags of Cheetos into food processor and grind to a fine powder. (May need to do it in two batches as I did). Place into a medium bowl and set aside.
Place a wok or heavy pot on the stove and fill about 3-4 inches of canola oil. Do not heat yet.
After two hours, remove a few pieces of chicken from the buttermilk letting the buttermilk drip off a bit and place in the Cheetos crumbs and coat. Remove those pieces to a sheet tray and continue until all the pieces have been coated with the Cheetos. Discard buttermilk and ground Cheetos.
Dip the Cheetos-covered pieces one at a time into the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, pressing the flour onto the pieces. Remove from that bowl, shake excess and place back on the sheet pan. Discard egg mixture but do not discard flour mixture yet.
As the chicken pieces sit on the sheet pan, they will become moist. Take the remaining flour and place into a sifter and sift over the sheet pan of chicken so each piece is thoroughly coated on both sides with no wet showing.
Heat the oil and keep the temperature between 325 degrees F and 350 degrees F. Do not go higher than 350 degrees F or lower than 325 degrees F.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F to keep each batch warm if you wish.
Using tongs, carefully drop 4-5 pieces into the hot oil. Cook in four or five batches for about 4-5 minutes per batches.
To test, insert a probe thermometer into one end of one piece. The cooked temperature should be 160 degrees F. Also, the chicken pieces will float once fully cooked. If you cut your strips small, check internal temperature around the 2-3 minutes mark. If you are not sure, just pull one out with tongs and cut one in half to check.
Use a strainer or spider and remove to a paper towel covered sheet pan. Keep warm in the preheated oven in between batches.
Serve hot with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks or your favorite dipping sauce.
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