Okay, okay. So I just started this blog and all I can write about is sports. I can’t help it! Anything that is edible and associated with sports is my kind of food. With my favorite team on a losing streak, the only thing left to do is direct my attention towards creating something tasty.
Hot dogs are delicious. Pretzels are delicious too. Bacon, well, that is nature’s greatest miracle. Don’t forget your nacho cheese sauce. You know, the kind they serve with chips. Mine is better…
The good news is that they are bite-sized, so you don’t have to feel guilty eating one. The bad news is that they are bite-sized, which makes it difficult to eat just one.
Here’s what you need:
¾ cup, plus another 1 cup of all-purpose flour
½ package of active dry yeast (I measured about 1 ¾ teaspoons)
1/8 cup of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
3 ½ tablespoons of baking soda
¾ cups of milk
1 bottle of beer
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
about 1 tablespoon of butter
For Hot Dogs:
hot dogs (duh)
bacon (about 1 strip per hot dog)
For Nacho Cheese Sauce:
¼ lb of sharp orange cheddar cheese, shredded (makes about 1 1/3 cups of shredded cheese)
½ cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of flour
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or just a dash if you are not into spice)
a dash of chili pepper (optional)
First, you want to start with your pretzel dough.
Combine the ¾ cup of flour with dry active yeast.
Now grab your milk, salt, sugar, and oil.
Combine in saucepan and heat over the stove.
Once it has dissolved and cooked, pour it into your dry mix.
Beat on low until it is all combined. Then beat on high for about 4 minutes. Or you can be a total lunatic like me and try to beat it with a whisk. I figured it would be good exercise for my arms, especially since I suddenly have these jiggle bags attached to them. They just won’t stop jiggling (30’s here I come)!
Well, beating dough by hand is what I envision as part of my daily routine if I were to end up in Hell. I’ll skip the gun show if it means having to do that again.
Now try to add as much of the 1 cup (or more, if necessary) of flour as you can. I used my hands.
It should become a stiff ball of dough.
Knead it until it feels tough, with a little elasticity to it.
Take a small bowl and grease it.
Place your pretzel dough inside.
Turn the dough over once so that both sides are coated in oil.
Cover in Saran Wrap and store in a warm place.
Somewhere warm? Bahahahahahaha! I live in New England. There is no warm until June. I turned the heat up in my home and placed the bowl on top of the heater. Ideally, you want it to be very warm but I had to settle.
Set your timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
It may need more or less time depending on temperature and humidity. You basically want it to double in size, if possible. I left mine for a little longer.
While your pretzel dough rises, prepare your hotdogs. Do yourself a favor. Go to the deli section of your grocery store, and ask for all beef kosher hot dogs. Or just ask the people behind the counter what they think tastes best. They handle meat all day so they probably have a good idea. I am fully expecting to hear several perverted responses to what I just said.
Slice them in half so they look like two smaller dogs. Then carefully make a slit with your knife across the top. You don’t want to cut all the way through the dog so be careful. We are simply opening up some space to squish in our fixings.
Take your bacon and slice it down the center. Now you have two very thin slices.
I also made them shorter, so that they will wrap around the hotdog perfectly.
Start at one end of the hot dog and wrap it around in a spiral. I tried to make sure that the bacon did not cover the slit.
I then used toothpicks to hold the bacon in place on one side, while I cooked the other side in a pan.
Use something to coat the pan or the bacon will stick.
Take out the toothpicks and roll them onto each side to cook all of the bacon.
Once the bacon is cooked, remove dogs and place on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Now you need your fillings. The vegetables add a wonderful hint of freshness to this salty dish. You can pick out whatever vegetables you like, if you’re not a tomato type of guy (or gal).
Whatever vegetables you choose, chop them up into very tiny pieces.
You don’t need to cut a lot. A little will go a long way.
Don’t forget the nacho cheese sauce. My goal was to create a sauce that was tasty and fun to eat, just like the ballpark cheese. My other goal was to create a sauce that didn’t use processed imitation cheese. Ewe.
You need cream, butter, flour, cheese, cayenne pepper, and chili powder.
See how there is an extra ingredient in the photo? That’s salt. I felt it was unnecessary to add, so don’t use it. Nothing to see here folks, move along.
Melt your butter in a sauce pan over low heat.
Add the flour and stir until totally mixed in.
Add the cream and stir until the sauce thickens.
Now add the cheese.
Stir constantly until the cheese melts. If you do not stir, you risk burning the cheese. How dare you waste that cheese.
Finally, add the cayenne pepper and chili powder. It should be thick, creamy, with a little hint of spice.
Now you can either turn the pot on the lowest heat possible and stir every couple of minutes while finishing the dogs, or you can take off of the heat and rewarm it on low right before serving.
It’s time to make the pretzels. Take the dough out of the bowl and roll it out until it is about a ½ inch thick. Use a knife to make thin slices.
Roll the slices in between your palms to make the strips more round.
Then wrap it around the hot dog in a spiral, making sure not to cover the slit in the top of the hot dog.
I pinched the loose ends of the dough to make them hold better.
Don’t worry how it looks, since the ends are hidden underneath.
Preheat oven to 325°
Pick out your favorite beer. If you do not have beer, then water works just fine.
I happened to have this in the fridge:
Add beer to a saucepan and set on medium high to boil.
Add 3 ½ tablespoons of baking soda.
Once boiling, place dogs into the “beer bath” with a wooden spoon. Again, if you want to use water instead of beer that works. Seriously, though, hot dogs and beer go hand in hand people!
Let the dogs sit for about 40 seconds (I know 40 seconds is random). Then remove from bath and lay down on a paper towel to soak up excess moisture.
Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Grease parchment paper with cooking spray (or butter, if you like).
Prepare your melted butter and salt.
Just pop the butter into the microwave for about 15 seconds to melt it. I used a tablespoon here.
Notice something strange about my salt? I ran out of Kosher! Try to use the Kosher salt if you can. It is a larger grain, and easier to handle so you won’t risk oversalting. The finer grain salt just doesn’t work as well. It took a lot of effort to sprinkle it on without dousing the entire hot dog in salt.
Brush pretzels with butter and then sprinkle with salt.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Mine were good after 13.
Now add those veggies you chopped up into the little slivers. If you need to, carefully make a deeper incision in order to for them to fit. Pour your nacho cheese dip into a bowl and serve.
Dip it in.
Mmmmmm. Cheese dip.
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