As kids, my mom did a great job of putting healthy meals on the table every single night and we ate as a family at the table just about every single night as well. It’s something that I highly value now and will continue to do when Kyle and I have kids of our own. For a period of time during my childhood, however, my dad was an over-the-road truck driver. There were lots of quiet weekends in our house during the times he was driving and to boost all of our spirits, once or twice a year, my mom declared a “pig out night.” We’d stock the house with food we’d never usually eat – chips and dip, mozzarella sticks, pizza fondue (homemade), pigs in blankets, and ingredients for ice cream sundaes. It was the pigs in blankets that were the highlight for me so you could imagine my excitement when I came across this grown-up version of pigs in blankets.
There really isn’t much to making these guys and although they’re not as simple as whipping out a can of refrigerated crescent roll dough, they are infinitely more satisfying – both in taste and in the fact that you’re making homemade pretzels! Don’t shy away from this recipe if you fear yeast – pretzel dough is SO much easier to make than bread or bagel dough! You’ll toss all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, let the mixer do the kneading for a few minutes, let the dough rise for about an hour, and then cut the dough and wrap the pieces around the hot dogs. As far as dough goes, it’s that simple! Next you’ll quickly boil the dough wrapped dogs, sprinkle with some salt, and bake. These pretzels dogs are such a treat! The pretzels are soft and chewy and are just perfect wrapped around your favorite hot dogs. I made them for our annual anti-Superbowl evening of movies and snacks (and ate probably more than we should have) but I could see them being perfect for kids’ birthday parties, game nights, game days, nights when you’ve got a sitter coming, or even a great snow day food.
For the pretzel dough and dogs:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package dry active yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
8 hot dogs, cut in half
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
To finish the pretzel dogs:
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt (or kosher salt), for topping
Combine the warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. If you use dry active yeast, let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy and begins to smell of yeast. If you use instant yeast, let the yeast mixture set for a couple minutes to dissolve the yeast then proceed to the next step – the mixture won’t be foamy.
Add the flour and butter to the yeast mixture. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and, on medium-low speed, combine the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and appears shiny, roughly 4 to 5 minutes.
Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray (or lightly grease with vegetable oil) and place dough in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm area and let dough rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Place the dough on a greased surface, and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, roughly 12 inches long. Carefully wrap each piece around a half hot dog. Pinch the ends together to seal the dough.
In a large pot, bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a roiling boil.
Boil the shaped pretzels and pretzel dogs, one at a time, in the baking soda water for 30-45 seconds each. Using a slotted spatula, remove each pretzel dog from the water and place it on a drying rack to allow any extra baking soda mixture to drip off.
Place the boiled pretzel dogs back on a parchment lined baking sheets. Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with pretzel or kosher salt. Bake until golden brown, roughly 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer pretzel dogs to a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving. Serve with a variety of mustards or ketchup if you’re a ketchup freak like I am. 🙂