Another Take on Candy Apple Chicken Wings

06bAppleButterWingsPlatebfLOI’ve long been interested in recreating KFC’s long-gone, lamented, Candy Apple Chicken Wings, but mebbe without the heavy breading and deep frying and stuff.

And I’ve come close, with these wings made with cinnamon candies and apple jelly. Nice.

Then, I tried replacing the cinnamon candy with cinnamon whisky. Also nice. Later, I tried ’em again, with different cinnamon candies and again they were good, but still they needed  a little sumpin’ sumpin’.


Cinnamon Whisky, yeh, but then, how about apple butter in place of the apple jelly?

Yeah, baby! This recipe is still a work in progress, but my, is it fine!

05SherryPeppersSauceLabelbfLONote: I’ve made this sauce with home made apple butter, my own hot sauce, and sherry peppers sauce; all of which are dead simple to toss together, but if you’d rather use stuff from the market, feel free. Apple butter and hot sauces are readily available, and my sherry peppers sauce is kindofa riff on Tiger Sauce, which can also be found in most supermarkets next to the hot sauces, or go for Outerbridge’s, which you may have to order. As for me, I kinda like the fact that I can spend around $10 total and a couple of hours in the kitchen and end up with three or four pints of stuff on my pantry shelves that could set me back anywhere from $4 to $6 for each ten ounce jar at the market.

01bSichuanSeaSaltbfLOBack to the wings. I buy the drumette cut, because they’re meatier and just a little bit easier to toss around, but regular wings will work as well.

•2 cups apple butter
•1 cup Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
•1 cup apple cider
•3 tbsp butter
•1 tbsp soy sauce
•1 tsp hot sauce
•1 tbsp sherry peppers sauce
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
•1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn mixture*

•3-1/2 lb wings (I used drumettes)
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp celery salt
•2 tsp sea salt
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•2 tsp vegetable oil

*Lightly crush one tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns with one teaspoon coarse sea salt with a mortar and pestle, save the rest for other, tasty, uses.

04aWingsReadyToBakebfLOMake the sauce by combining all of the ingredients together in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Heat your oven to 400°.

Line a large baking pan with foil (I use a half sheet pan with a fitted rack insert) and, if you have the rack insert, place it in the pan and lightly apply cooking spray.

Place the peppers, salts, and garlic powder in a gallon-size zipper bag, toss to combine.

04cWingsFirstBakebfLORinse the chicken pieces in water, then add to the bag with the veggie oil, close the bag, and shake and toss to more or less evenly coat all the pieces – I usually do this in two batches.

Arrange the chicken in your prepared baking pan and pop into the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the skin a bit crispity.

06aAppleButterWingsbfLORemove from the oven and toss the chicken with enough (I used about half of the batch I made) of the sauce  to coat each piece well. Save the unused sauce in a jar in the fridge for another batch.

Arrange the sauce-coated chicken on the rack and return to the oven for another ten minutes or so, until it is nicely glazed and mebbe just a wee, tiny bit burnt in spots.

Take that, KFC!

These wings are a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and a whole lotta good!

Next time, I may just double up on the hot sauce and/or the sherry peppers sauce, but I’m thinking these’ll be the default wings around about here for the foreseeable future.

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