Shake Up The Way You Eat Corn Dogs With Just A Muffin Tin

When you want something that's sweet, savory, and reminiscent of the American state fair, you grab a corn dog. With a history that includes four supposed inventors over four different time periods through the 20th-century, this cornmeal batter-dipped hot dog has been a fan favorite of anyone who enjoys carnival food, cornbread, and/or hot dogs. In 2014, Globe Newswire published the findings of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council's survey on regional hot dog styles, revealing that an incredible 46% of those polled claimed the corn dog was their favorite type of frank– a testament to the corn dog's popularity among Americans. 

Now the "traditional," or the most common way, to eat a corn dog is on a stick, as if it's some kind of meaty lollipop. While one can't deny that there's a certain appeal that comes with walking around with a hot dog-on-a-stick, this isn't to say that other methods of preparing a corn dog at home don't exist. For instance, you can bake them, fry them, or substitute the cornmeal batter for pancake batter. So long as it involves the time-honored method of dunking a hot dog in batter and turning it golden-brown, a corn dog is still a corn dog no matter how you make it.

But, by simply using an ordinary, run-of-the-mill muffin tin, you can create delicious "corn dog nuggets" that gets rid of the stick and turns the state fair snack into something that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or just as an appetizer.

Muffin tins make mini corn dog muffins

Miniature hot dogs are a common party food. Whether they're wrapped in bacon and brown sugar or rolled up in crescent dough to make pigs in a blanket, there's more than a few things you can serve up using these tiny sausages. It may surprise you to learn that mini corn dogs– or corn dog muffins– can be made very easily using a muffin tin.

A very basic recipe for mini corn dog muffins includes preparing your cornmeal batter. You're free to make your cornmeal batter or use a store-brand corn muffin mix, but the key ingredient you should be focusing on is the hot dog itself. While mini hot dogs would work just fine in this recipe, you can also use regular-sized hot dogs by chopping them into 1-inch long pieces. Once your hot dogs and batter are ready, pour the batter into your muffin tin and then press each hot dog directly into the center of each tin. Put the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees until the muffins are golden-brown.

Once you get the hang of preparing mini corn dog muffins, you can add anything you want to them. If you like spicy cornbread, you could add sliced jalapeño peppers to the batter. If you want a sweeter cornbread, you can add honey or molasses. You could even use little breakfast sausages to substitute the mini hot dogs for a breakfast flair.

You can also make a corn dog casserole

Eating a corn dog right off the stick is no doubt very satisfying (as is eating anything that comes on a stick) and mini corn dog muffins may make for some pretty good snacks for any occasion. But let's say that a few little corn dog muffins aren't going to be enough to satisfy you or the hungry crowd of people you're serving. What you need is something that combines the meaty sweetness of a corn dog with the serving ability of, say, a casserole. You need a corn dog casserole.

Preparing a corn dog casserole isn't as hard as you imagine. The recipe for it simply has you take your choice of cornbread batter and pour it into a baking dish of about 7 inches by 9 inches (though you're free to adjust the size of the dish as needed). From there, you then fold it chopped hot dogs alongside your choice of add-ins, such as grated cheese, chives, green onions, or bacon. Bake the cornbread as you usually would, until the exterior is fully golden and the interior is set. You can then cut the casserole in the same way you would any other casserole, or a cake of cornbread and hot dogs — a cake nonetheless. If you really want to make it feel more like a corn dog, you could also serve portions of the casserole on a stick, if at least for novelty.