Game Day is approaching! I’m a little bummed that my banged up Patriots won’t be making a Super Bowl appearance, but such is life. I’m a huge football fan and I love food, so making lots of snacks is pretty much a no-brainer. The problem was that I would make all this food and then be completely unable to eat it because I got so anxious about my team. I was pretty proud of myself the other weekend when I made nachos and cookies while watching the Pats lose. That is serious progress people!
Despite the fact that my team isn’t going to the Super Bowl, I’m planning on drowning my football sorrows with these amazing pretzel dogs. It’s perfect for game day or any day, really. They are a copy cat of the Auntie Annie’s pretzel dogs, which I’ve never had mainly because I can’t turn down an original pretzel. Seriously, it might be my favorite part of going to the mall–in fact, Rishi and I just shared one today!
These are a little tedious at first, but once you get into a groove, it’s pretty manageable. I also find that a kitchen scale is really helpful in making sure your dough pieces are about the same size. You can make them with a full hot dog, but even miniaturized, these are pretty filling, so I always go the smaller route. Finally, if I have extra pretzel dough, I cut them into small bites that are equally delicious dipped in mustard or whatever condiment suits your fancy. Oh and don’t forget to find people to share with, though I’m sure you will want to eat them all yourself!
Vegetarian Mini Pretzel Dogs
adapted from Joy the Baker
I’ve only made these with veggie sausage, but the original recipe calls for ‘real’ hot dogs. I’ve used a bunch of different brands of fake meat, but my fave by far is Field Roast. I’ve used both the Italian and Mexican sausages with great success, but the last time I made them, I bought their Frankfurters. Game. Over. They were so good, you really can’t tell that they’re fake. And even if you did, you probably wouldn’t care because they are that tasty. And it should be said, these are my own unsolicited opinions–Field Roast has no idea who I am.
1 ½ cups warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 package vegetarian hot dogs (I used Field Roast Frankfurters, which contained 6 hot dogs)
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 large egg, beaten, with a splash of water
salt and pepper for topping
If using a stand mixer, fit with the dough hook. Combine warm water with the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast over and let sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture should become frothy–if it doesn’t, discard and start with a new package of yeast.
Once the yeast mixture is frothy, add the flour, salt and melted butter all at once. Mix on low speed, with the dough hook, until the ingredients have just combined. At that point increase the speed to medium until a ball of dough has formed around the hook. Once the dough ball has formed, knead for 4 minutes on medium speed. Alternatively, you can mix the ingredients by hand until combined, then dump onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a smooth ball has formed. This should take longer than the 4 minutes it takes to knead the dough using the stand mixer. Once you’re done, the dough should be soft, pliable and a little sticky.
Scrape out anything that’s left in the bowl and drizzle some vegetable oil into the bowl. Turn to coat the ball of dough with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for until doubled in size, about an hour.
Once the dough is done rising, preheat your oven to 425 °F. Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line your baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment. If using parchment, brush the parchment with oil so that your dogs don’t stick!
Fill a large pot with water and baking soda and bring to a boil.
Divide your dough into either 8 pieces, if doing full-sized dogs, or 16 pieces if making the mini size. Roll out the dough into a long rope measuring about 24 or 12 inches depending on which size you’re making. Take the long piece and wrap around the hot dog. Make sure you pinch the ends to seal them, or else they will come undone when you boil the dogs.
Repeat until you run out of hot dog. If you have leftover pretzel dough, cut into small bites.
Once the water is boiling, gently place a couple dogs into the water, boiling them for 30 seconds each before removing with a slotted spoon or spatula. Place on your prepared baking sheet. Keep working until you have boiled all the pretzel dogs and bites, if you have them.
Brush the dogs with the egg and water mix (called an egg wash) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake until a nice golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to let them cool a bit before serving.
These are definitely best the day you make them. If you need to store for any longer, allow them to cool completely and double wrap with plastic wrap and freeze. When you want to eat them, just reheat in a 350°F oven for about 12 minutes, or until heated through. You can also leave them in an airtight container and wrap with foil and heat them in an oven until warm.
Serve with condiments of your choice–I recommend mustard and ketchup!