Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why Are So Many Tortilla Chips Triangles?

These shapes force the eater to form a Wallace (of Wallace and Grommit) mouth shape for minimizing messiness when the chips have flavor powders, dip, queso, or nacho toppings. These chips can be (and have been) hazardous, especially if the toppings are hot, melted, or both. Ow!

Besides lots of tortilla chips, most Doritos are also triangles. Note, however, the niche line DINAMITA chip shape is rollup with various flavors. For the Jacked 3D product, the shape is triangular with thickness.

According to some commenters in an online discussion "How did Lays decide to make Doritos in the shape of a triangle?", Doritos and tortilla chips originated as wedges from round tortillas, or emulation of. At "Why are nacho chips triangular?", a commenter offers another explanation for the typical tortilla chip shape:
it represents the shape that creates the least amount of wastage and greatest amount of throughput, while still honoring the original wedge design (created from circular-shaped corn tortillas)
The YouTube video "How Tortilla Chips Are Made" shows the entire process. At the 2:20 time mark, the measurement for thinness displays 0.93 (assuming 1/32", by metric-to-inches conversion. A similar YouTube video with some different details is "How its made doritos Tortilla Chips", even though the product brand is actually Tom's.

In case you're confused about differentiating nachos, Doritos, and tortillas, "What is the difference between nachos, Doritos and tortillas?" succinctly explains, with pictures.

How about more info about Doritos? Visit "102 Doritos Flavors from Around the World". For a site that more emphasizes non-US Doritos, visit "35 Strange Doritos Flavors From Around The World (But Mostly Asia)". Note the Christmas tree shapes in #23 (Winter Cheese) and #30 (Roast Turkey). Another eye-catcher is the PIZZA-LA label.

Want to try making your own tortilla chips from tortillas? "HOMEMADE DORITOS STYLE CHIPS - Nicko's Kitchen" shows how. At the 1:20 time mark, Nicko mentions baking the oiled wedges at 170° C (338° F) for 7 to 10 minutes. He also suggests seasonings, one type being the flavorings from a mac 'n' cheese package.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Baking Cookies with Trader Joe Cake MIx

I was visiting a relative and wanted to bake some cookies using cake mix, eggs, and oil. She showed me her two boxes of cake mix, a Trader Joe's Golden Yellow cake mix, and a Duff's Zebra cake mix. I chose TJ's. This baking experiment produced results that differ from my standard cake mix cookies.

Standard cake mixes from Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and Pillsbury weigh 15.25 ounces each these days. (Grrr! They used to weigh 18.25 ounces apiece.) The Trader Joe mix was 28 ounces. Funny thing, though, is that the pan and well sizes all claim the same thing—2 8" or 9" round layers, 9" x 13" rectangle sheet, or 24 cupcakes.

Wasn't sure I wanted to double my usual added ingredients (2 eggs and 1/3 cup of oil) for making the cookies because TJ weighed nearly twice as much as DH, BC, or Pillsbury. So I hedged my bets. My relative had larger eggs on hand than I usually do, so I used three. For the oil, I upped the amount to 1/2 cup. I should have taken TJ's cake ingredient requirements to be added into account—3 eggs, 1 cup water, 1 cup oil. BC, DH, and Pillsbury each call for 3 eggs, 1 cup or so water, and 1/2 cup oil—half the oil that TJ calls for.

Forged ahead with making the cooky dough with the pastry blender, then shaping cookies onto pans and baking at 350° for about 12 minutes each pan. The yield was 56 cookies. They tasted ok for not having additional enhancements.

Post-Baking Thoughts
  • The cookies stuck to the pan, requiring scraping with a spatula. Would put in 2/3 cup total oil AND spray the pans with spray oil.
  • I was correct to use more oil and eggs than normal, and ignoring TJ's yield prediction of same amount as BC, DH, and Pillsbury. TJ's yield was 56, compared to the other brands of about mid- to high 30s.
  • Would put in maybe 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for extra zing.
  • Would add chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, or combinations for additional textures.
My Non-TJ Cake Mix Cooky Recipes (Try 'em!)
Want more recipes? Sweets recipes? Download my blog articles catalog, and look for yellow-highlighted entries. (As I didn't include full-blown, step-by-step instructions for this recipe experiment, I didn't highlight this blog entry in the catalog.)