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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.

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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.

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Pretzel Dogs
source: Fake Ginger, pretzel recipe from Alton Brown
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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

For boiling:
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. 🙂

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  • February 9, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Oh my…..I love these. Pigs in a blanket always tickle me…but the pretzel wrap around…irresistible.

  • February 9, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    I am dying for one of these!! Pretzel dogs are one of my favortie food groups 🙂

  • February 9, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Wow these look so delicious! I rarely buy hot dogs, but I think these would be worth it! Love the photos too. Do you think these would freeze well? And if so, at what point would you freeze them?

  • February 9, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Oh my gosh, Tara, these look wonderful. Such lovely photos, too! (As usual) I can’t wait to give this a go. Do you think I could use this dough recipe to just make a batch of soft pretzels by themselves? If so, would I boil and bake them for the same amount of time?

    • smellslikehome
      February 9, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      Hey Jacki!! Alton Brown wrote the dough recipe specifically to make soft pretzels so you can definitely do this. You would boil them first and I think bake them for the same time as is written – just click on the link to the Alton recipe and it will give you the details you’ll need.

  • February 9, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Thanks, I’m totally going to make them both!

  • February 9, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    These look so yummy!!!

  • February 9, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Oooh, I love the look of these! Just one little thing; how much yeast is in your packets? I live in the UK, so not sure if our packets of yeast are the same as yours.

    • smellslikehome
      February 9, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      Cath: 2 1/4 teaspoons per packet.

  • February 9, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    I love pretzels and I love hot dogs, so this is perfect! They look so tasty too. Thanks for the simple pretzel recipe!

  • February 9, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Love your memories of pig out night! FUN!

    My boys enjoy the crescent roll version, but I’ll have to make these pretzel dogs for them…I know they’ll love them 🙂

  • February 9, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    How fun that your mom had such a way to cheer all up. No excuses not to make pretzel dough!

  • February 9, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    My husband asked me why I never made Pigs in a Blanket – I had to confess that I didn’t know how to do it! We never ate hotdogs at home – always at school or at the ball park. These look soo yummy, Matt would love them!

  • February 9, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Two of my favorite things (literally) rolled into one!

  • Madie
    February 9, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    These look so fantastic! I love Noah’s bagel dogs, and would definitely want to try it out at home, but I don’t have a stand mixer. Do you think I can use a good hand mixer and have the results come out the same? Or would I have to knead it by hand? Thanks for any advice you can give!

    • smellslikehome
      February 10, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      Madie: Yes, you can knead the dough by hand – I’d say for 5 minutes or so, just until the dough is smooth and no longer tacky. I wouldn’t recommend using a hand mixer unless it has a dough hook attachment.

  • February 10, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Those look wonderful. I love pretzels and my daugther would love this take on a hot dog.

  • February 10, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    I love these! My mom used to make them for us when we were little … so yummy!

  • February 11, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    I love pretzel dogs! But with homemade pretzel dough is even better. I so have to make these! 🙂

  • beth
    February 13, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Do you think these can be made and then frozen to be reheated later? I’d love to make these for my boyfriend so he’d have an alternative when coming home late from work!

    • smellslikehome
      February 19, 2011 at 8:09 AM

      Beth: You’re the second person to ask me about freezing and to be honest, I’m not really sure. I know the pretzels by themselves would freeze well but I don’t know if the frozen hot dogs will cook through in the oven during the same amount of time the pretzels would need to bake up. Give it a try with a few of them and let me know how they turn out! 🙂

  • February 22, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    Comment by Charlotte — February 22, 2011 @ 12:01 am
    Oh wow, these look amazing! When we have badminton league matches, it’s the responsibility of the team hosting the match to provide a nice buffet for after the night’s games. I could think of hundreds of sweet things to make, but not one really makes savoury and I couldn’t for the life of me come up with something other than quiche! This is really brilliant; I think I may give it a go next time 😀

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