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Picked up a peck of powdered peppers

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Doing a chorizo crawl through local Mexican markets I’ve been buying lots of little packets of powdered peppers like chile molido and chile California.

What really prompted this pepper post was the crushed chipotle pepper flakes.

They are just amazing with a deep smoky aroma and flavor and tear-inducing heat. Every time I open the spice jar I take some time to enjoy the fragrance.

The questions I have are:
- what are some good and creative ways to use these spices?
- what other types of powdered or crushed peppers are good?

The store that had the great chipotle flakes is also selling a powdered green pepper. Not sure what type it is, but thought it would be cool to have around for Christmas to sprinkle along with the red pepper.

So far I’ve added chile to
- scrambled eggs
- canned soup
- peanut butter
- quesadillas
- oatmeal (not so much)
- pineapple and peach jello
- fresh cut fruit like pineapple, mango and melon with a squirt of lime (not the chipotle though)

You would think fresh (not boxed) pineapple jello would work since it works on fresh pineapple. Nope. It sinks to the bottom and takes over the flavor ... hot pepper jello ... NOT a good thing.

Unfortunately the chipotle flakes didn’t work too well in the scrambled eggs because they the texture was too crunchy.

The chipotle was a nice addition to the quesadilla and turned a can of lentil soup into something amazing to eat.

Also, I’m not so crazy about chile California which is a mild powder. It seems to do nothing but add color ... and grittieness. The chile molido is the standard hot Mexican chile.

The chile molido was really good in peanut butter that also had some honey in it. That was the only pepper I tried in peanut butter.

I know corn on the cob can be sprinkled with chile, but I buy really top quality corn and for me the corn's flavor is enough. I don't even butter it.

After the jello incident, it seemed time to seek professional help ... from Chowhounds.

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  1. First of all, it's always better to buy dried chilis in their whole state. Once they're ground, the clock starts ticking. If you bought them in a Mexican market, you might have gotten a fresher product, but it's still a good idea to find them whole, if possible.

    It also helps... and this is probably going a bit far... to buy freshly harvested dried chilis. I'm not sure how the growing season works or any particulars, but I get freshly picked/dried chilis in October that are mind blowing, to say the least.

    The powdered green pepper is powdered jalapenos.

    If the texture of the chipolte flakes offputs you, toss them in a spice grinder. I don't know how creative this is, but chipolte powder is phenomenal in BBQ sauce. Just make sure you skip the liquid smoke if your recipe includes it.

    I love chilis and chocolate, but I'm not sure about smoke and chocolate (other than notes in wine), so I wouldn't recommend chipolte and chocolate. Smoke does marry well with peanut butter (love pb bacon cookies), so I'd give a shot at a chipolte peanut butter- just make sure you grind it well first.

    Hot pepper jellies are hugely popular, btw. I wouldn't give up hope on hot pepper jello. It could be a problem with the artifical pineapple flavoring. I would probably make a homemade lime jello with lots of zest a little fresh juice (not too much as the acid will hamper the gelling ability) and add some finely powdered chili to that (or steep it for a while and strain it). I might even add some spices like cumin to the mix and maybe even some smooth peanut butter. A chili lime peanut jello- how's that for creative? :)

    If your powdered chilis have been ground finely and yet still add grittiness... I hate to tell you... but there's a good chance they weren't cleaned that carefully before grinding. I get that with the powdered ancho's I used to buy from Penzeys. I'm not sure how it happens, but dried chilis can get a layer of dirt on them that's difficult to get out of the cracks. If they're not cleaned well, you end up with a gritty end product.

    2 Replies
    1. re: scott123

      Thanks for the recs. I've been eyeing the whole dried chiles next.

      No, the jello us home made with pineapple juice, pineapple chunks and unflavored Knox. I threw some chile powder into one of the cups of jello, but not so great. There's that whole thing where your mind is going for the refreshing taste of jello and then gets turned around with the chile blast. It is just ... wrong.

      Hmmm ... I like that chile/chocolate suggestion. I'm going to have to think about that.

      Thanks for the hint on when to buy dried chiles and using a spice grinder for the chipotle flakes. I'm crazy about the flavor and that would be great for things that don't take well to the flakes.

      Actually both the powder and the flakes were gret mixed with hot buttered mixed nuts.

      I don't know, chile California ... it has to be just for color. I don't see the point.

      1. re: rworange

        Try hot chiles with chocolate ice cream. I made a batch of chocolate ice cream and added some cayenne - turned it into something special. The heat comes at the end so be careful about how much you add. I also added mint to half of the chile/chocolate batch and this was just fabulous. Somehow the kick of chile and bite of mint blended with the smoothness of the chocolate to deliver seriously good ice cream.

    2. Scott123, I read with interest your post on powdered chilis, since I love them. But then I came to the parenthetical about peanut butter and bacon cookies. Now you may have meant sandwiches, but if you actually meant cookies, please post a recipe or something. Even a description. The concept is making my brain go crazy.

      1. Take your favorite pb cookie recipe and swap out the butter with bacon fat and add some bacon bits. Voila!

        Peanut butter is wonderful with pork. I even enjoy eating slices of pepperoni with a schmear of pb on them.