Corn Dog Poppers (or Cornbread)

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Corn Dog Poppers (or cornbread) - A bite-size twist on a perennial favorite that's a little more cornbread than hot dog and a crowd-pleasing accompaniment to soups, stews and salads

A bite-size twist on a perennial favorite that’s a little more cornbread than hot dog and provides a delightful accompaniment to soups, stews and salads. (With standard muffin and square pan option, too!)

 

 

 

Somehow I got through my entire childhood and much of adulthood without ever eating a corn dog!

For anyone who may be similarly in the dark, a corn dog (also spelled corndog) is defined as a sausage (usually a hot dog) on a stick that has been coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter and deep fried.

Corn Dog Poppers (or cornbread) - A bite-size twist on a perennial favorite that's a little more cornbread than hot dog and a crowd-pleasing accompaniment to soups, stews and salads

My moment finally arrived when a good friend began hosting an annual Halloween party when our kids were younger. Every year, alongside her husband’s fabulous chili, was a platter of corn dogs.

The kid-friendly menu item disappeared fast - and they were every bit as popular with the adults as they were the kids.

Like bobbing for apples, jack-o’-lanterns (don’t forget to roast the pumpkin seeds!) and other fall favorites, I’ve since come to associate corn dogs with Halloween. But thanks to Cindy, a former co-worker of my husband who thoughtfully sends interesting recipe magazines my way from time to time, I hit upon a twist on this old favorite that’s a little more cornbread than hot dog and offers a tasty accompaniment to soups, stews and salads any time of year.

Corn Dog Poppers or Bread - A bite-size twist on a perennial favorite that's a little more cornbread than hot dog and a crowd-pleasing accompaniment to soups, stews and salads

I’ve adapted the original recipe over time and, in addition to mini muffins, have made the recipe as standard-size muffins and in a square pan.  (Muffins are fun; a square pan is easy!)

Corn Dog Poppers (or cornbread) - A bite-size twist on a perennial favorite that's a little more cornbread than hot dog and a crowd-pleasing accompaniment to soups, stews and salads

Beyond the fall holiday connection, I often include these kid-friendly bites as a fun extra when making a meal for a new mom or friend in need. They complement a hearty soup or stew so nicely, can be made ahead and travel well.

Keep this adaptable recipe in mind for kids’ parties and game day spreads, too.

Corn Dog Poppers (or Cornbread)
Yield: 24 mini muffins (or one 8-inch square pan)
A bite-size twist on a perennial favorite that's a little more cornbread than hot dog and a crowd-pleasing accompaniment to soups, stews and salads.
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons (36g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (120ml) buttermilk*
  • ½ cup (75g) cornmeal
  • ½ cup (63g) all-purpose flour (may substitute cup-for-cup gluten-free blend)
  • ¼ teaspoon EACH baking soda and kosher salt
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar, pepper jack, or Mexican blend cheese
  • 4-5 all-beef hot dogs, cut into 1″ bites (I get 5 pieces per hot dog)
  • Optional: 1-2 jalapeño peppers, cut into thin slivers
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉, and spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. (See notes for 8-inch square pan and standard muffin options.)
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl, whisking to combine.  (You can do this with a dinner fork.) Whisk in the egg, followed by the buttermilk.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt; stir to combine. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and then fold in the cheese.
  4. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the batter into each mini muffin cup. Push one hot dog bite into the middle of each cup. If using, place a sliver or two of jalapeño to the side of the hot dog (which will not be submerged in the batter).
  5. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the cornbread is just cooked through, taking care not to over bake, as this will dry out the muffins. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container or well wrapped in the refrigerator.
Notes

*As a substitute for the buttermilk, add ½ tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup, and then add enough milk (I prefer 2% or whole milk but have used non-fat) to equal ½ cup. I have used this trick with non-dairy milk in other cornbread recipes, so if you have almond milk, for example, on hand, I feel pretty confident that the recipe will work.

As an option to mini muffins, I have baked this recipe in an 8-inch square pan. In this case, I dice 3 hot dogs and mix them into the batter with the cheese. Then I top with thin slices of one jalapeño and usually an extra ⅓ to ½ cup of cheese. Baking time is 20 minutes in my oven, but check early and add a few minutes, if needed, as all ovens vary.

Standard muffin cups may also be used. In this case you may use either hot dog option (rough chop mixed into batter or one “bite” per muffin) and will ned to add a few minutes to the mini-muffin bake time.  When using the 1-inch piece of hot dog, the batter will bake up around it, unlike the mini muffins where it peeks out.

Tips:
To refresh day (or two) old cornbread, wet a paper towel and then squeeze out the excess water. Lightly wrap the damp paper towel around the muffins, and then warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

The jalapeños could be minced and mixed into the batter, but when used as a topping, those who may not care for spicy ingredients can easily pick them off.

Bigger pieces of hot dog could pose a choking hazard to young children, so I recommend cutting the muffins in half before serving little ones.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Thanks again to Cindy for sending me the Crave magazine that spurred this fun twist on the classic corn dog. For those who may have forgotten, Cindy is the genius behind these utterly delectable Chocolate Peanut Clusters with Sea Salt ⇩⇩, which can be made in a slow cooker.

(Slow Cooker) Chocolate Peanut Clusters with Sea Salt

 

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