If you’re a reader and follower, you know that with the whole pregnancy/selling a house/trying to buy a house thing, I have been avoiding my kitchen like the plague. Actually, that’s not true. I’m comfort-eating my way from A to Z. But as far as actually making dinners? Give me a box, a microwave, or a fast-food window. Making something with hot dogs doesn’t quite count as a culinary masterpiece, but baby steps, people. BABY STEPS. Plus, these cheesy pretzel dogs DO involve making homemade bread in the form of pretzels. Homemade soft pretzel + sharp cheddar + hot dog = cheesy pretzel dog deliciousness. And because the only part you have to actually make is the pretzel dough, it’s a fairly simple semi-homemade recipe. (For other semi-homemade recipes, check out my recipes for Cake Cookies or these not-so-semi-homemade but still delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.)
Pair this with fruit and veggies or a salad and you’ve got a full meal. My kids got cucumbers cut out with stars and a cutie orange with my signature monster face added. I like to send these in their lunches. They’re more likely to eat oranges that have a face.
My pretzel recipe was adapted from this one on Sugarlaws, which I’ve been using for years. Her tip to dip them in hot water with baking soda dissolved in it makes all the difference. That’s what gives the pretzels their nice, brown color. Even though hot dogs and cheddar both have sodium, you can’t have pretzels without big salt. (“Big grains of salt!” –Any Office Space fans out there??) I used sea salt, but kosher works great for this as well.
While your dough is rising, cut slits most of the way through the hot dog and shove a chunk of cheese in there. I went light on the cheese, thinking it would melt everywhere, but I should have gone heavier. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE HEALING POWER OF THE CHEESE. I should know that rule.
It’s not hard to make pretzels, but these are even simpler. I often botch the shape and they end up looking like deformed lumpy masses. In this case, you roll them out (and any parent familiar with play dough snakes has got this down) and then wrap them around. The pretzel recipe will cover enough for six dogs, with maybe an extra bit for small soft pretzels.
Once you have them on a cookie sheet, brush them with the hot water/baking soda mixture and sprinkle with salt. I went lighter than I would with just pretzels since the hot dogs are already salty, but you def don’t want to skip this step for the authentic pretzel in your cheesy pretzel dog.
Grease your cookie sheet (and cover in aluminum foil first if you don’t feel like washing the pan after) and cook at 425 for 8 minutes. Make sure you cover the whole of the dough with the baking soda/water mixture or you’ll have some lighter areas on the pretzels. Since I never do things perfectly, you can see this clearly in my photos. See?
It helps get that nice, crisp outer shell as well that brings to mind hot pretzels from a street vendor. Mmm…. I could live on pretzels. Really, I could. You will never take the bread out of this girl.
I like how my kids don’t eat normally from one end to the other. No—it’s right through the middle for them. Sawyer didn’t even sit down before he started in on his dog. Each boy ate one and Rob had two. I didn’t mean to, but I had one as well with a large salad on the side. And a bonus pretzel I made just for me.
- 1 package hot dogs
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
- ~1/2 cup warm water
- 1 T sugar
- 1 T coconut oil
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup hot water
- kosher or large-grain sea salt
- Dissolve the package of yeast in a little of the 1/2 cup warm water, reserving the rest. Sprinkle in a pinch of sugar and mix. Cover in a warm area for about 10 minutes until it's foamy and light brown. Add this to the flour, then add the tablespoon of sugar and begin to add the remaining 1/2 cup water. I added the coconut oil in the middle of this process and poured the water over it as I added, since coconut oil is a solid, but will quickly liquify in the presence of heat. (Or just heat for 10 seconds in the microwave before you add the oil.) Another oil (like vegetable oil) will do, but I've got a thing going with coconut oil. Stir until incorporated into a dough-like ball, then lay out on a floured surface and knead five minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise for about an hour in a warm place.
- While the dough is rising, take out your hot dogs and slice them lengthwise. Fill the slit with cheese, being careful not to rip the dogs fully in half. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425.
- After the dough has risen, knead again on the floured surface for a few minutes, then begin to pinch off a small ball and roll out into a snake. You'll have enough for probably 6-8 of these. Once you have all your snakes, wrap the hot dog in them and place on a greased cookie sheet. I found there is no need to try to seal the edges or secure them. As they bake, they will bake securely around the dog.
- Using one very hot cup of water, dissolve the teaspoons of baking soda, stirring well. brush each of the pretzels fully with the water mixture, then immediately sprinkle with salt to taste. Don't go overboard because of the saltiness of the hot dog and the cheese.
- Bake for 8 minutes or until a nice golden brown color. Eat while still warm!
- *I didn't have time to let the dough rise for an hour tonight and they will still work if you only have about 20 minutes or so. You'll probably get a nice, less dense dough if you wait the full hour, but they will work in a pinch after 20-30 minutes of rising.
This is a great meal if you don’t consider yourself particularly chef-y since it’s not totally homemade. Or you can skip the hot dogs and just make pretzels as a snack. We did that recently and the boys loved rolling their own shapes. They looked just about as good as mine did, which tells you something about my pretzel folding skills. You might have all the ingredients to make these in your house already, and I found packages of hot dogs on clearance for 25 cents this week, so I stocked up on something we normally try to space out and not each very often. We will definitely be having cheesy pretzel dogs again!
Next time I’ll make sure to have mustard. Not for me, because mustard ranks almost up there with pickles, but the boys were longing for something to dip these in. Maybe honey mustard? Or ketchup? If you try them at home, let me know what your family likes for a dip!
Linking up with Life of the Party and All Things Pretty!