Healthier Baked Corn Dogs

1 Sep

My kids fell in love with corn dogs this summer.

*sigh*

I am not a corn dog girl. I am not, for that matter, a hot dog girl. But a few weeks back,we went to a restaurant for lunch that had nearly nothing on its menu for picky vacation-exhausted children, except corn dogs. Which left me shelling out $5 for a fried hot-dog-on-a-stick that I am absolutely certain came out of the freezer case of the grocery store up the street. And ever since, my kids have been begging for more.

I was pretty sure I could come up with a corn dog that was less repulsive than the fried/frozen monstrosity from vacation. It’s a hot dog baked in a corn muffin, right? I just needed some crunch to make up for the lack of frying, and something more dough-ey than batter-ey, so it would stick to the dog in the oven.

The answer was simple: first, I used a coarse cornmeal. You want to find something labeled as “polenta” for this–I used Bob’s Red Mill brand. The larger cut on the corn means more crunch, which is perfect when you’re substituting an oven for a pot of oil. And second, I just used less liquid than I would for muffins.

The result wasn’t pretty. I’ll give you that. But this was a first try; they’ll be nicer-looking next time. And the corn dog demons wolfed them down at dinner. They raved. I can’t vouch for them personally, not being a corn dog kind of girl.

The one thing I’d change about this going forward is the stick. I used lollipop sticks because this was a spur-of-the-moment experiment and that’s what I had in the house. But the poor things didn’t hold up to meat-on-a-stick-eating. Next time, I’ll use wood popsicle sticks, which you can find in the grocery store or craft store (run them through the dishwasher before you use them).

This made three corn dogs. I don’t think leftovers would be very good, so double and save at your whim. It took about five minutes of hands-on work, and 20 minutes in the oven. Which is not a big deal, as healthier kid food goes.

To make healthier baked corn dogs, you’ll need:

1/2 cup coarse corn meal (Polenta style)

1/2 cup flour (I used white-wheat)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar (you could use honey)

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

3 hot dogs (mine were bun-length; you could probably make four regular dogs with this recipe)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment (the dough is super sticky–don’t skip this).

Using a mixer or whisk, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, egg, and milk until it comes together in a dry-ish dough. Don’t go too far or you’ll toughen the flour.

Dry your hot dogs with a paper towel (so the dough will stick to them) and insert sticks into one end.

Wet your hands with water (to keep the dough from sticking to you), scoop out a third of the dough and flatten it into something of a disc. Wrap that around a hot dog, pressing gently to mold it around the meat. Don’t overwork it. When the dog is mostly coated, lay it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of your hot dogs.

Bake about 20 minutes or until the corn coating is hard to the touch. Let cool at least 10 minutes before giving to a child.

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3 Responses to “Healthier Baked Corn Dogs”

  1. Meredith Mcgee Kelly September 1, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    (Im giggling…) I feel the same way about corn dogs. They were a “go to” meal for neighbors of ours in Alabama. I’ve been tempted but never bought them b/c they gross me out. But secretly I’m afraid if I try ’em I’ll like ’em. Thanks for sharing a “healthier” version. Can’t wait to try this version on my peeps. (I’m still giggling.)

  2. Beth September 1, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    I wonder if they would fit in those old fashioned corn muffin tins that are shaped like ears of corn?

  3. Mary m September 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Having gone to the state fair twice this week already, the kids are on corn dog heaven…but these look pretty easy to make, and I bet the texture is not too far off from the hand dipped ones the kids got…

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