Search This Blog

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken - French Fridays with Dorie

This is one of the most peculiar recipes I've ever looked at. At first I thought the cookies would be turned into crumbs to coat the chicken, which was weird enough. Then, when I figured out that cookie pieces and crumbs were mixed into creme fraiche to become a sauce, I was mystified. I had just read somewhere that all French cooking comes from Escoffier, but did Escoffier put packaged cookies in creme fraiche? I don't think so.

But I'd already passed on a few recipes because they sounded odd, so I figured it was time for me to woman up and crumble some cookies. Of course, I couldn't find either recommended brand, so I picked up a package of Jovial brand ginger spice cookies. (The cookies' ingredient list shows more cinnamon than sugar, but I added a little more cinnamon anyway).

Granted, these cookies look nothing like Speculoos, which I affectionately refer to as Speculum Cookies, and they're not a perfect taste match either, but they are spiced with cinnamon and ginger.

Once they're mooshed into the creme fraiche, who's to know the difference? But I'm going to keep an eye out for the correct cookies for the next time I make this.

Because despite my initial resistance, I am going to make this again. Jim, who was taking pictures while listening to me grumble about how this was going to be a lousy dinner, took a bite and said, "This is really good!" in utter surprise. I took a bite and said, "Hmm, it is, isn't it?" Maybe even Escoffier would have thought it was good.

I served it with couscous steamed with chicken broth, quickly sauteed summer squash with oregano, and a few fresh figs with strips of Manchego cheese. The whole meal took about 20 minutes to put together, was as easy as crunching cookies, and tasted delightful. It's hard to complain about that.


  1. Speculum cookies... that's clever (and puzzling!). I couldn't find creme fraiche or the suggested cookies so I baked a batch of speculoos from the book. They are really good! Your meal looks delightful - all the components!

  2. I had this with couscous too, and it was delightful! Now if only we can get fresh figs over here, it would've been perfect. Love your cookie substitution!

  3. I am jealous of those fresh figs...
    This was a mystifying dish, for sure.

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it! It sounds like you made a good cookie substitution choice.

  5. OOOOHHHHH!! yellow squash!! I haven't had that in AGES! It is SO hard to find here! Your food looks delicious! and Manchego cheese is my fave! I make my own little crackers with them... check my blog and search "cheesy bunnies"... they are worth it!

  6. Adriana,
    I wish I would have made the homemade speculoos--it's one of the 20 or so recipes from AMFT that I'm behind on. If I'd made the cookies, I could have killed two birds ....

    This is the first time I remember seeing fresh figs in a Minnesota grocery store. I saw them when I walked into Whole Foods, and immediately snapped them up.

    Peculiar, but pretty good.

    The Jovial cookies did work well--and how can you not like a cookie that's "Jovial"?

    Those cheesy bunnies look amazing!

  7. I'm so glad there were a few others who liked this dish as much as I did! It's so quick and easy (if you ignore the time it takes to search for the ingredients!). And you just called the dish 'peculiar' - that is a perfect description and a disappointingly underused word. This dish will hereafter be labeled in my household the Peculiar Chicken. Thanks!!

  8. Stacy,
    I would rather be complimented on word choice than anything else--thank you!

  9. Its good to hear some folks liked this one - I liked the flavors that it hinted at, just not the actual ingredients. And your figs and manchego look wonderful. I keep passing up the figs in the store as I'm the only one who eats them, might have to make an exception.

  10. I like Stacy's name of Peculiar Chicken. We're undecided about this recipe at my house. Jealous of your figs!

  11. I love the sides you served with it - summer squash and figs sound perfect (and your figs look perfect, too!). I'll have to try this some time. There were so many mixed reviews. I'm curious to know if I'll like it.