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Recipes: Honey-Brined Fried Chicken Breasts

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Why would anyone choose to cook with honey as opposed to pouring it over a hot biscuit, pancake or the like – or use it to sweeten their coffee or hot tea in lieu of sugar?

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As it turns out, there are at least seven benefits to using honey when you cook. Honey:

  1. is great for glazing roasted and baked foods to promote surface browning and enhances crispness;
  2. enhances flavors – it is welcomed as a natural sweetener for hot teas and cold beverages, particularly when there is a large variety of honey flavors available;
  3. is a great addition in pastry- and cake-making as it provides texture and feel;
  4. prolongs shelf life, which makes it a natural preservative for pickles and sauces;
  5. is an essential ingredient in providing moisture in rich cakes and prolonging the retention of that moisture;
  6. is binding due to its viscosity, making it a brilliant ingredient that aids the shaping of desserts such as pastries, puddings and cakes; and
  7. contributes a delightful golden hue to sauces, dressings, jellies and frozen desserts.

Find out which of these benefits arise when you make this recipe for honey-brine fried chicken breasts.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cold water
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion salt
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Mix cold water, kosher salt, and honey in a large bowl; stir until salt dissolves.
  2. Add chicken breasts, and weigh them down with a plate to keep them completely submerged. Cover entire bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove bowl from refrigerator; drain and dry chicken.
  4. Pour buttermilk over chicken in a large bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  5. Combine flour, black pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
  6. Coat each chicken breast in flour mixture until well covered on all sides; place flour-coated chicken breasts on a cooling rack to dry for 15 minutes.
  7. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet to 350° F. Cook chicken breasts until browned and no longer pink in the center, about 10 to 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165° F.
  8. Transfer chicken to a cooling rack; allow to cool for 5 minutes.
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