Then there is the whole homemade pretzel dog thing. I made these for Superbowl Sunday. Please know that I'm a lifelong fan of the NY Giants. And that having pretzel dogs as the fuel to get me through that nail-biter was perfection!
You take half a hot dog, sandwich it in homemade soft pretzel dough, and cook up a delicious and simple treat.
Just look at those delicious pigs in their cozy, pretzel blanket.
When these little beauties bake up, they're golden and warm and perfect. Such a low-key item to serve, but they're still a little off the beaten path, you know?
And just my own personal suggestion — I recommend splurging for the "premium" dogs...all beef, no nitrates or preservatives, etc.
While the pretzel dogs are best enjoyed the day they are made, we reheated leftovers in the microwave the next day, and they were surprisingly tasty!
Homemade Pretzel Dogs (makes 16 pieces)
1 1/2 cups warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
1 tbsp. sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
1 cup baking soda
8 hot dogs (I say splurge for the all-beef, preservative/nitrate-free dogs)
1 large egg, beaten with a splash of water
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine warm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture will begin to foam/froth (if it doesn’t, throw the mixture away and start again with a new packet of yeast). Add the flour, salt, and melted butter, and mix on low speed until well combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it's smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, creating a ball of dough around the dough hook. Continue to knead on medium speed for approximately 4 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl. It should be soft, pliable, and just a little sticky. Scrape any residue out of the bowl and coat the bowl with a bit of vegetable oil. Place the dough back in the bowl, sprinkle with a little flour, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and store in a warm place to rise. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size — about 1 hour.
Place baking racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (note: wax paper is not the same thing!) and lightly brush the parchment with oil — this is very important to keep the pretzels from sticking!
In a large pot, combine 14 cups of water with the baking soda and bring to a boil. While you're waiting for the water to boil, turn the pretzel dough out onto a clean, slightly oiled work surface (I used my silpat). Divide the dough into 16 even pieces. Remove the hot dogs from their package and halve so you have 16 shorter half-dogs. Using a paper towel, dry the hot dogs slightly so they're no longer wet.
Take each piece of dough and use your fingers to gently roll into long ropes, moving your hands outward as you roll. Roll the dough along the oiled surface until you have a 12-15" piece of rope. I'm the type that prefers less bread/dough for my dogs, so next time I intend to roll out skinnier pieces of dough — keep in mind that the dough will continue to puff up and rise! Wrap the rope of dough around each dog half, making sure to pinch the ends so they're sealed well.
Gently lower a few pretzel dogs into the boiling water mixture and boil for about 30 seconds. Remove carefully, using a flat, slotted spoon/strainer. Place each dog on the prepared baking sheet until you've boiled them all. Then brush the boiled pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Bake until deeply golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve warm with your favorite ketchup and/or mustard.