Once in a while I will try to eat a little healthier and make my own breaded and baked chicken fingers using chicken tender loins and seasoned breadcrumbs.
The problem has always been that the chicken cooks, but the breaded coating still looks like it wasn't cooked. It never seems to get brown and toasty, like you get from fried chicken. I've even tried spraying them with cooking spray, and it didn't seem to make much of a difference.
I'm not sure why it never occurred to me to do this before, but today I decided to toast the breadcrumbs in a pan for a bit *before* breading the chicken with them, and it worked out perfectly.
I added about a cup of seasoned breadcrumbs and a teaspoon of olive oil to a 12" pan over a low heat, and kept stirring them constantly with a spatula. Yes, the breadcrumbs initially "clump up" a bit when the oil is added, but if you keep stirring, it eventually gets dispersed throughout all the breadcrumbs and they all become crumbly again. Just be careful, they go from tan to burnt really quick, keep an eye on them the whole time and keep stirring.
After that, it was just dipping the chicken in some egg, then the toasted breadcrumbs, and on to a wire rack in a baking sheet.