Buffalo Rumblings regulars know the drill. But for the new Buffalo Bills fans circling the wagons with us, we’re about more than just football here. Need something exciting for this week’s game day chow line? Wingin’ It brings you a themed recipe for every regular-season and postseason Bills game. Like this one...
During the annual brainstorming article for Wingin’ It, a lot of great ideas were thrown my way. I had a couple options selected for this week’s possibility, including chipas from WilliamShatnersPants. On a whim, I elected to try these out over my other direction for the week and I’m glad I did. A South American item, the closest equivalent in my opinion is a cheese biscuit. Trust me, while you’ll recognize the “neighborhood” of food chipas fall into, one key ingredient difference between this and an actual biscuit make for a fantastic change-up. Often paired with a dipping sauce, I make a sticky wing sauce mashing up some Argentinian-inspired ingredients.
Buffalo Dippin’ Chipas
Serves: 6-8 (about 20 chipas)
Active Time: 40 min
Total Time: 1 hour
3 1⁄4 cups tapioca flour
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1⁄2 cup milk
9 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature (one stick plus 1 Tbsp)
4 oz provolone cheese
4 oz cheddar cheese
1⁄2 cup hot sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp caramel sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
You’ll need: A large mixing bowl, baking sheet, medium sauce pan, butter or alternative to grease baking sheet
- Preheat oven to 375ºF; combine tapioca flour and salt in large mixing bowl.
- Blend eggs and milk in a separate bowl or measuring cup.
- Add milk/egg mixture to flour; immediately combine (see tips below).
- Cube butter into smaller chunks; thoroughly mix into flour/milk/egg mixture. The end result should not be sticky or crumbly (see tips below).
- Slice cheese into small chunks or pieces and mix into dough.
- Roll dough into small balls; place on well-greased baking sheet with at least one inch between dough balls (more is better).
- Bake on center rack for about 20 min — chipas should be light gold with evidence of cheese starting to crisp.
- Make sauce while chipas are baking: Combine all sauce ingredients except butter in sauce pan on MED. Stir until well blended.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in butter until melted.
- Serve chipas and sauce while warm.
Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery
First and foremost I want to assure anyone looking to try this one that this is an easy recipe and it will turn out. If you’re like me and have never used tapioca flour before in your life though, the tips here are your support network to get you through some possible panic points. I will go on record to say that at one point I turned to my wife and said “I’m glad we have the bye week because if these are **** I have time to do something else.”
Narrator: “They were fantastic.”
Let’s get the straightforward tips out of the way. My first picture gives an idea on how to chunk/slice the cheese. On the left is provolone, which you’ll likely have the best time finding at the deli counter. Cheddar is on the right and you can play that one in a wider variety of ways. The second picture is the spacing and approximate look of each chipa.
Now let’s work through the skepticism and reassure you so you don’t have the same panic moments I did. Right out of the gate you will notice that tapioca flour does not remotely smell like wheat flour. You may worry how this translates to flavor. You will be able to tell the difference. That said, while it’s concerning during the mixing stage, it’s an obvious but pleasurable difference when it comes to the final product.
Tapioca flour does not behave like wheat flour either — with two notable differences. One will be obvious while working it, the other you may not have thought of, but if you did I’ll reassure the overthinkers like me.
If you’ve ever worked with confectioners’ sugar you know that a little bit of liquid left in the sugar will lead to crystallization. This can create issues when trying to blend it later. Tapioca flour apparently can have this crystallization effect as well. However, it’s more forgiving than sugar, by far. I delayed mixing in my egg/milk mixture by a minute or so and had a ton of crystallization. It still blended fine without much effort, I just broke the clumps with my finger tips as I came across them. Mixing immediately should reduce the issue, but if you run across crystals/clumps, don’t sweat it.
For the overthinkers like me, here’s your final reassurance. I scour a ton of recipes and try to mentally work through the variations and chemistry before I come up with my own. For chipas, many recipes blend wheat flour with cassava or tapioca flour. Some recipes prefer cassava, some tapioca. A few recipes used only cassava or tapioca. I elected to use a cassava-only recipe as my starting line. I went with tapioca flour instead due to price/availability and tweaked all the ingredients based on what I was experiencing. If you’re thinking this is someone else’s recipe with my name on it, know that I used higher fat and liquid content and went a good deal cheesier than my starting line recipe.
Here’s that reassurance. All of the recipes that included wheat flour also included rising agents. My starting line recipe I leaned on for inspiration did not. I will let you know I was quite concerned that I would end up with anything remotely resembling bread. My starting line recipe claimed their chipas were fluffy. My dough balls were leaden and smooth like a certain brand of children’s playable dough. I put them in the oven already plotting a make-up recipe and never whispering the word “chipa” to the Buffalo Rumblings audience.
If you’re reading this all the way through, you don’t need to worry like I did. Remember the picture of the chipas on the pan with all that space between my leaden little dough balls? They expanded to the point that many ended up baking into each other. “Fluffy” was not a bad adjective either, as it turned out. My recipe’s increased cheese does lead to a higher interior density I suspect, but I would still call them fluffy. The exterior was smooth and crispy. Almost like an egg-washed bread, though I promise no type of finishing wash was done here.
The experience was unique, but tapioca flour’s chemistry has me plotting more uses rather than a make-up recipe.