HOMEMADE CHICK-N-MINIS

As requested by @celestestelle 💛 [Edited to add/clear up a few things and correct a few typos.]
  1. Before I get to the recipe, I'd just like to stress that I'm not saying these taste exactly like the Chick-n-minis we all know. What I am saying, though, is that they're a pretty decent substitute for those cravings that hit after breakfast hours have ended. And with that out of the way, what do you say we dive right in.
  2. The chicken soak cast:
    1/2 cup of pickle juice, 2 cups milk, 1 tbsp each of garlic salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika
  3. All of those things from above? Yeah, you're going to take them and dump them into a big bowl together.
    Feel free to do your best Emeril impersonation by yelling "Bam!" as you add each ingredient.
  4. .
    I feel like I should also add that some people choose to use an egg in their mixture. I mean I don't because it's just more goop/slime to deal with later but you can if that's your heart's truest desire.
  5. After I get my soaking liquid together, I move onto cleaning up and breaking down my boneless, skinless chicken breast.
    I know what you're thinking— what's to clean up if they're already boneless, skinless chicken breasts? Well, let's just say that the place where I buy my chicken doesn't always do the most thorough job of making sure they've gotten rid of everything. 😬
  6. Since I don't like having to see it even when I'm the one doing it, I didn't bother taking any pictures of the chicken prep step other than the one below to give a bit of an idea on the size of the nuggets I was making:
    Call me crazy but I prefer mine to be nugget > roll.
  7. After you've broken your chicken down into nugget size, you're going to add it to the pool o' spice and fun that you created earlier....
  8. ...give it some privacy so that it can work it's delicious powers and stick it back in the fridge.*
    *— "How long should we leave it in the fridge?" At the very, very least, it needs to hangout in there for thirty minutes but it's better if you can give it anywhere from a couple of hours to overnight in order for it to work its magic.
  9. With the chicken taken of for the time being, what do you say we turn our attention to the rolls?
  10. So the secret with the rolls is that... there's really no secret at all. They're just mini yeast rolls that have been brushed with a honey butter.
  11. Yay for simplicity, am I right?
  12. Now I know some people are kind of wary about using yeast but there's really nothing to be scared of. In fact, two of the biggest things you need to remember when working with yeast is 1) it needs to be fresh* and 2) HOT/high temps are its kryptonite.
    *—a lot of people know that it should be stored in the refrigerator after opening but many don't realize that storing it in the freezer can actually prolong its life/usefulness.
  13. .
  14. The cast of this yeast roll recipe:
    1 egg (beaten), 2 tbsp of melted butter, 1 tsp of salt, 3 tbsp of honey, 1 cup warm water, 1 tbsp/packet of yeast, 3-4 cups of flour
  15. In a small (preferably glass) bowl, add the yeast to the cup of warm water and allow it to bloom* for five to ten minutes.
    *— blooming essentially means that it foams and bubbles. It's also one of the best indicators of whether or not your yeast is still fresh/active.
  16. Add the egg, honey, and yeast mixture to a large bowl/bowl of a stand mixer (with dough hook attachment) and mix until just combined.
    The mixing should literally take you only a few seconds.
  17. Once you've done that, add the salt and 3 cups of flour to the mixture and mix until well combined.
  18. Now if you're using a stand mixer, this is where you would turn it up to medium and let it knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is soft, smooth, and no longer sticky. I, however, don't have a stand mixer (😫) so I had to get my exercise for the day by turning my dough out onto a floured surface and kneading it by hand.
  19. Now since I'm the one writing this, you would think that I would have everything under control and would forget steps. Right?
  20. Well, you would be wrong because I totally forgot to do my first rise/proof. 🤦🏻‍♀️
  21. Is it a recipe-breaker?
  22. No. In fact, some recipes only call for one rise/proof period. However, every time I've tried to cut time by doing only one proof/rise, my rolls have come out resembling a hockey puck (as you'll see below. 😬)
  23. So with that in mind, what you'll (probably) want to do is loosely cover your bowl with cling wrap and put it in a warm place* for about an hour.
    *— I turn my oven to its lowest setting for 2-3 minutes before turning it back off and putting my glass/oven-safe bowl with my dough in.
  24. While my dough's busy rising, I usually try to wash up the dirty dishes and straighten back up the kitchen because.....
  25. ...when I try to convince Mo to do it, she acts like she can't hear/see me. 😐
  26. Once the first rise is finished, you can either flip the dough out onto a floured surface, roll it out, and cut out your rolls with a pizza cutter/cookie cutter or you can be lazy like me and just pinch off dough balls.
  27. Whatever you decide to do, though, you're going to place your rolls on a greased 9x13in pan (and not an 11x13in pan like I used) and loosely cover them with plastic wrap before returning them to their warm spot to rise again/double in size.
  28. Once the second rise/proof is finished, you're going to brush your rolls with melted butter and place them in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are a nice golden brown.
    Don't worry— I'm sure your rolls will be **much** smaller and prettier than mine.
  29. Upon removing them from the oven, brush them with a mixture* of butter and honey.
    I melt three tbsp of butter and mix it with a tbsp of honey.
  30. While the rolls are in the oven, it's time to turn back to the chicken.
  31. The breading for my nuggets is made up of:
    2 cups of flour, 3 tbsp of powdered/confectioners sugar, a tbsp each of salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika, and half a tbsp of red pepper/cayenne* (*— basically whatever I happen to have on hand at the time)
  32. All of those ingredients? Yeah, I throw them into a gallon size plastic bag which— in my opinion—makes it easier to bread my chicken while also cutting down on my mess.
    Again, feel free to do your best Emeril and yell "Bam!" while adding each ingredient to the bag.
  33. Working in small batches, remove your nuggets from the liquid (I like to use a slotted spoon for this)....
  34. ....add it to your flour mix and give it a good shake/coating before fishing it out and...
  35. ...dropping it into peanut oil* that's been heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
    *— I use canola oil when I'm out of peanut oil. Also, please excuse my oil. I forgot to strain it before I heated it. 🤦🏻‍♀️
  36. Removing the nuggets from the oil, place them on paper towels/paper bags to help drain the excess oil away before moving them to their final (roll) home and enjoying.
  37. P.S. I'm including this picture to show what they look like when, you know, you don't leave out steps (😬):
  38. P.P.S. If you have extra rolls or what to double the recipe for them so you can freeze some for later, you can! All you have do to is let them cool completely after baking them and them into a storage container/freezer bag and place them in the freezer where they can hangout for up to a month.
    Some sources say they can be left in there for up to two months but I find that frozen breads/doughs that use milk and/or eggs have sort of an odd/sour taste if they go longer than a month in the freezer. But you do you Glen Coco.
  39. And what do you do when you're ready to eat them? Just take them out of the freezer and allow them to defrost before taking them out of their storage vessel and placing them on a baking sheet and sliding them into a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 5-10 minutes.
    To quote my young cousin— easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.
  40. .
    I'll also tell you that they dough can be used to make a pretty decent cinnamon roll but that's a list recipe for a different day. 🤓