Winger's Amazing Sauce



Normally I blog about sweet dishes, but today's topic is a savory treat.  Almost weekly my husband laments about the closing of his favorite chicken finger restaurant, Winger's here in KY.  The nearest location is over 1,000 miles away, so it's not something we can get anymore.  I was looking online and found that you can order the sauce.  I was going to surprise him with ordering some, but then I decided to look around online for a possible copycat recipe.

I searched on Pinterest and found a recipe for the Winger's Amazing sauce!  The sauce recipe is found on the website Favorite Family Recipes.  My husband was very excited that I found it, but I think a tiny bit skeptical. The sauce seemed almost too easy and simple to make.

I tried it out tonight, though, and according to my husband it is spot on! I never ate at Winger's to compare it, but love the sauce! It is a great mix of sweet and spicy.  We tried it on crispy chicken strips, but it could easily be incorporated on wings as well.  Try this simple recipe and you may find a new favorite chicken sauce that will impress your friends and family!

Here's the quick and easy recipe -

Ingredients:
1/3 cup Frank's Original Red Hot sauce
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbs water

Yes that's all that's needed!

Directions:

1. Heat the ingredients until all the brown sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. I let it simmer, but
    not come to a rolling boil.
2. Take the sauce off the heat and let it sit until it gets to room temperature, stirring frequently.
3. Cook the chicken while the sauce cools.  I just baked Tyson breaded chicken strips, but frying
   chicken strips in oil would give it the truest Winger's flavor.
4. Cover the strips with the sauce

We actually just dipped the chicken in the sauce instead of covering since we didn't know how well we would like the sauce.  We LOVED it though. We had quite a bit left, only making it for two people.  But we are gladly saving it and can't wait to use it again!




Banana Split Birthday Cupcakes


This weekend was my dad's birthday.  He's more of a pie fan than cake fan, but I decided to try out a new cupcake recipe for his birthday dinner.  He's a big fan of banana splits, so I thought that sounded like a good idea.  After looking around online, I found a great recipe on Paula Deen's website.  The recipe is taken from one of my favorite blogs, Cupcake Project.  The blog has so many great and unique cupcake ideas!

The cupcakes tasted very similar to a banana bread with the additional taste of chocolate.  The pineapple and strawberry tastes were pretty subtle, but helped add depth to the cupcake.  The only change I made was leaving the walnuts out of the cupcake and garnishing.  

Cupcake Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup strawberry yogurt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
½ cup macerated strawberries
½ cup dried pineapple, loosely chopped
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts, loosely chopped

Cupcake Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in eggs, yogurt, flour, and baking soda.
  4. Stir in bananas, strawberries, pineapple, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
  5. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.
  6. Bake for twenty-five minutes or until the tops bounce back when lightly touched.
Here's a picture of the cupcakes once baked:



The cupcakes tasted well on their own, but a banana whipped topping is used to create a sweeter treat.  Then the cupcakes can be garnished with chocolate syrup, walnuts, fresh banana slices, and a cherry. 

Banana Whipped Topping and Garnishing Ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 over-ripe banana, mashed*
Chocolate syrup, to taste
½ cup walnuts, loosely chopped
½ cup bananas, thinly sliced
18 cherries, pitted

Topping directions:
  1. Whip cream and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Fold in bananas

I let everyone choose what garnishes for the top of the cupcakes, so I finished decorating as I gave them out and forgot to snap pictures!  Here's one I got though, as my mom started eating hers.  




If you noticed Spiderman in the plate above, yes we did have a Spiderman themed party for my dad.  A few days before the party my niece begged that we throw my dad a Spiderman party.  I'm not sure she has seen any of the Spiderman cartoons or movies, but she is going through a phase of liking him.  :)  I was wanting to make some more kid friendly vanilla cupcakes, so I decided to add a little spider flair to them.  This was the best I could come up with in short notice.  :)


A Taste of NYC


I can't believe it's already been a week and a half since our wedding! It was a wonderful, special day we will always cherish!

We are now back at work and it seems odd not having something to be planning. As we are getting settled in the house, though, I am excited about having some more time for baking again. I am really enjoying having more counter space in our kitchen than in my apartment.

For our honeymoon, we went to my favorite city, New York City. This was my fourth time to NYC, but my husband's first. We did quite a few tours that I hadn't done before. It was also exciting to see Tyler experience the major tourist places I had already been to. We went to see the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July, a great way to celebrate!

I had done well dieting before the wedding, but I definitely slacked off on the trip. We went on a wonderful Food on Foot tour where we had some of the best pizza I've ever had. Being huge Food Network fans, we had to try Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and Candace Nelson's Sprinkles cupcakes. Neither one disappointed! They were both as good as I was hoping and expected! We also tried Justin Timberlake's restaurant, Southern Hospitality. Our tour guide recommended it. Tyler was excited about the restaurant, but I'm pretty sure it had more to do with the Memphis style ribs and sweet tea rather than Justin Timberlake. :)

One of the things I was most excited about eating, though, was a cannoli. I had my first cannoli on my first trip to NYC and loved it! Every time I've gone, I've tried cannolis at different places and have never been disappointed. There aren't many cannolis around our home, so I was pretty excited to get one. It took us until our last few hours in NYC before we found one though! We had struck out all week, but my husband was determined to find one before leaving for the airport. We finally found that there was a Cake Boss cafe in Times Square near our hotel. We hurried to get there when it opened, but no cannolis. Tyler asked the guy at the counter though, and they made some for us. They were definitely worth the wait! :)

Yesterday we were craving one of those cannolis, so I decided to try to bring this flavor to some cupcakes. I was surprised at how many cannoli cupcake recipes I found online! I searched around not sure which one to use. Finally I decided to combine a couple different recipes. I'm using the cake and frosting from one site, and the cannoli filling from another. The cannoli filling recipe for the cupcakes was pretty different than most traditional cannoli recipes. So I decided to go with a more traditional cannoli filling. I ended up with a lot more filling than I needed, but I'm not complaining! It tastes pretty good on graham crackers. :) You could definitely half this though.

First, I started with the cannoli cream filling. One thing I overlooked was to buy some cheesecloth to drain the Ricotta cheese. Thankfully the tub we got wasn't too runny. But as it sat, it definitely separated. I would drain it with cheesecloth, even if it doesn't seem real runny.

Cannoli filling ingredients:
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, optional

Cannoli filling directions:

1. Drain ricotta cheese over cheesecloth.
2. Mix ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until combined.
3. For a lighter filling, whip 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to form stiff peaks, and fold into filling mixture.
4. Chill until cupcakes are cooled. I found that chilling it longer than the recommended 30 minutes helped with the taste.

Next I worked on the cupcake batter.

Cupcake ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Cupcake directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl than what you will be using.
3. Using a mixer, cream the sugar and butter (room temperature) on medium speed until light and fluffy.
4. Slowly add the eggs one at a time to the sugar/butter mixture. Mix well after each egg.
5. Add the vanilla.
6. On low speed, gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mix until smooth.
7. When the mixture is smooth, divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. I highly reccomended foil wrappers such as Reynolds Foil Baking cups.
8. Bake until lightly browned and fully cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

While the cupcakes were baking, I began working on the topping.

Whipped Cream topping ingredients:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup mini semisweet morsels, for garnishing

Whipped Cream directions:

To make the frosting, put the cream and the sugar into bowl and beat on high speed until the cream is whipped.
Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Once the cupcakes are out and have completely cooled, cut a hole in the center. I used a Wilton icing spatula to create a cone shaped hole in the cupcake. Just make sure you don't go too far in, you want cake below the cannoli cream. To make it clean and easy, I filled a piping bag with the cream and used a large tip. Here's a picture of the filled cupcakes.



Finally, put the whipped topping into a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes. I sprinkled additional chocolate chips on top as a garnish.

Here's the final product.


Hope you enjoy a taste of cannoli!