Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How-To Tuesday: How to Bundle Up Pigs & Dogs

I seem to always forget about this recipe until the beginning of February when everyone is in Superbowl mode, but as this is my favorite "bundled up" recipe, I thought it would be a good time to shed some light on this overlooked delicious treat.  Pigs in a blanket!

All it takes is a package of refrigerated crescent rolls and some "little smokies" and you'll be the crowned "Queen of the Kitchen." 
Cut dough to size. 
Place on greased baking sheet seam side down. 

And follow directions on the package of how long to bake.  (My rolls said 12-15 min at 350 degrees.) 

But, if pigs in a blanket are too small to be satisfying for you, let me please present you with the highly sophisticated, more grown-up version.  We have an Amish market about 45 minutes away from us in Williamstown, NJ.  It has amazing spices, produce, baked goods, candy, meat, cheeses, and ice cream....but the best thing they have (which we never leave without one or two in tow) is The Pretzel Dog.

I remember having a conversation with my friend, Jen, about wanting to learn how to make them.  She said to me, "I think that is both a good....and very bad idea."  Good because they are delicious.  Bad because they are SO delicious.

I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive when I read the recipe and it said to get out my dough hook attachment to my mixer.  (Do I even have one of those?? *dig*dig*dig* Oh, hey, I do!)  Today, my friends, I am going to conquer my fear of the hook for the very worthy cause of pretzel dough.  Care to join me on my adventure?

Arg!  Time for some scurvy baking!  (sorry...a little pirate humor.)

This recipe is adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker, whose original recipe was adapted from Alton Brown.

Yield: 8 pretzel dogs
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 to 14 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


1½ cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
4½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
4 slices American cheese
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt, for sprinkling


1. Combine the water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
water, sugar, salt, and yeast sprinkled on top
After 5 minutes, the mixture will foam

2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
what the dough will look like before it pulls away from the bowl

After an hour of rising.  The microwave seemed like a good "warm place"

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

4. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart pot.

5. In the meantime, cut American cheese into strips and place on top of hot dogs. Turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a rope that's about 18-inches long. Starting at one end, wrap the dough around the hot dog, pinching each end together so that it's sealed. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan and repeat with the remaining dough and hot dogs.

The recipe said to roll, I just stretched it and it worked just fine. 

I had a little extra, so I made a few plain pretzel twists. 

6. Place the pretzel dogs into the boiling water two at a time and boil for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat slotted spatula. Return the boiled pretzel dogs to the half sheet pan, brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with the coarse kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Boil for 30 seconds

Brush with butter

Sprinkle with salt

Hello, beauties!!!  (I baked mine for 12 minutes...I probably could have done another minute.  

In the end, my dough to meat ratio could have been a little less, and my kosher salt could have been courser, but all in all, I was happy with how they came out.  It was totally worth digging out and conquering my fear of the dough hook.  I'll definitely be making these again, maybe some different versions of soft pretzels would be fun to try....like cheese, or cinnamon sugar maybe? 

And yes, Jen...you were right.  This was both a very good, and very bad idea.  

In the comments...what other foods would be good try to "bundle up" in crescent rolls or pretzel dough?  My husband and I were brainstorming at dinner last night.  We'd love to hear your thoughts!     


  1. Megan, these look so good! I can't wait to try them! What about a cheese stick and pepperoni wrapped in a pretzel (reminiscent of Delanco's pretzel rolls with pepperoni and cheese)? YUM!!

    1. mmmmm....that sounds yummy. It wouldn't feel quite right without the humungous tin foil ball, but that would be tasty- especially with some tomato sauce for dipping maybe?

  2. I'm a pretty big fan of the Pampered Chef taco ring myself. (I can't figure out how to post a tidy link in the comments section, but a google search will lead you in the right direction.)

    1. LOVE the taco ring! Although mine always ends up being more of a "taco log" instead of in a circle. But oh so delicious!

  3. Justin suggested some different sausages to try in the pretzel dough (like chicken and feta, or maybe a spicy sausage dipped in spicy mustard.)

    Personally, I think anything wrapped up in crescent roll is better than without one. Left over pot roast cut up with veggies and dipped in gravy, chicken and rice with broccoli and cheese, maybe some peanut butter and chocolate chips rolled up into a crescent roll....I think I should always have a package of dough on hand. How could that be a bad plan?

  4. What no ground beef....you didn't even mention ground beef!!