I think this may officially go down as the very best kid food item I have ever made. I have always loved corn dogs, and my kids love them too. I love the idea of making them at home, but I don't have a deep fryer, and I have no intention of getting one. So when I came across this idea of making corn dog muffins I just knew we had to have it. It's super easy - basically just good homemade cornbread with a piece of hot dog. Cooking in the oven as muffins means no mess from frying, and I loved that I could make different size options using different size muffin pans and cutting the hot dogs. I have a great corn bread recipe that I love - it's adapted from this recipe, with a few changes to make it the way I like it (I changed the oil to butter and reduced the sugar). It's just right - buttery, and just a little sweet. The touch of sweetness worked perfectly with the salty hot dogs.
Ingredients for the corn bread:
1 1/2 cups medium or coarse ground cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter, (cooled slightly so it doesn't cook your eggs)
And you'll need a package or two of good quality hot dogs. I only buy the Applegate brand.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for at least 5 minutes (longer is better).
Grease your pans with your preferred oil. I have a coconut oil spray that I like, butter would be great too. Or use muffin papers or silicon cups and then greasing won't be necessary.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar (if you use honey, mix that with the wet ingredients instead. Mix the eggs and butter in with the milk and cornmeal, and then combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Spoon it into your prepared muffin cups to about 3/4 full.
Cut your hot dogs to the size you want and stick them in the center of each muffin cup.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 - 30 minutes until golden brown (depending on size of muffin - 15-20 for minis, 25-30 for big ones, just watch and make sure they don't get too brown), or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.
Medium or coarse ground cornmeal is a must in this recipe. I tried it once with a finer grind and it was too heavy and dense. I usually buy Bob's Red Mill medium grind.
Soaking the cornmeal in the milk also makes a huge difference, the recipe calls for 5 minutes, I think longer is even better.
The original recipe for cornbread made one 9x13 inch casserole pan. I think this ends up with about 2 dozen standard size muffins, or more/less depending on size.
This recipe works great with gluten free flour!
I have not tried this with whole wheat flour. I think it would be pretty dense. But I am curious to try. Although I'm a big believer in everything in moderation, so I don't mind a little white flour in some cornbread occasionally.
I think you could easily substitute honey for the sugar, maybe just reduce the milk by a little.
Let them cool a little and pop them out of the pans, and serve with some good organic ketchup and/or yellow mustard. I of course had to make a double recipe because we love leftovers - and these things are so good that there would have been no leftover if I hadn't made lots extra. I've packed them in school lunches, and I've put a bunch in the freezer for another day.
And - next time you're making a big pot of soup or chili or stew, make up a batch of this cornbread without the hot dogs - it comes together pretty quick for a weeknight side.
Let me know what you think!