It’s the most magical time of the year again! No, I’m not crazy and stuck in a winter wonderland, it’s baseball season folks.
Every baseball season my husband and I try to celebrate it with some of our favorite ballpark foods — veganized of course. One year we did chili cheese fries, the next chili cheese dogs, heck, we even ate peanuts out of the shell once (we’re dedicated, what can I say).
So this year it was kind of challenging trying to come up with something to top all our other favorites. Instead of focusing on just traditional ballpark fare, why not try to go a little more upscale on our first-pitch favorites. (Bet you’re wondering how many cliche baseball references I can squeeze into this one recipe, aren’t ya?)
Well, lucky for you, I’ve got plenty more under my ole’ cap, and this is actually going to be TWO recipes in ONE blog post.
I know, right?
OK, all kidding aside, if you’re a fan of America’s favorite past time, if you just like hot dogs rolled up in pretzels or hell, maybe you like eating food made of beer, I don’t know; you should really, really, really give this recipe a try. Total moment of honesty here: I’ve never made my own pretzels before, let alone shoved a hot dog in the middle of one.
But this was much easier than I ever dreamt it could be and the result was SO so SO so good. I was seriously leery of even attempting my own pretzel dough because, well, sometimes I don’t have the best luck with dough. Crazy, right? And when I started reading more about pretzel dough and how you achieve it’s pretzelness, I was seriously confused. But I promise you. Just follow these directions and you will be so happy you have these little bites a shot!
Partner them with the ever-sophisticated beer cheese dip and you’ve got yourself the perfect pair to take you out to the ball game (you can even have some Cracker Jack after because they’re accidentally vegan)!
Vegan pretzel dogs and beer cheese dip
Pretzel dog bites ingredients:
1 cup warm water
1/2 stick of vegan butter (we use Earth Balance)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS light brown sugar
2 tsps active dry yeast (or almost the entirety of one little package)
2 tsp salt
1 package vegan hot dogs (we used the Lightlife Smart dogs, the regular ones, with 8 in a package)
Oil to lightly coat bowl
Water to boil
1/2 cup baking soda
Coarse kosher salt to top pretzel dogs
Beer cheese ingredients:
1 bottle beer (I chose Eurotrash Pilz)
3 cups shredded vegan cheese (I used cheddar Daiya shreds)
8 ounces vegan cream cheese (we used the Trader Joes variety)
1 TBS garlic, minced
In a mixing bowl, stir together warm water, melted vegan butter, brown sugar and yeast. Mix in stand mixer or with hand mixer until fully combined (a couple of minutes usually). Add salt and flour (cup by cup), either stir by hand or on low with your stand mixer. Repeat until all the flour is added. Knead the dough until it pulls away slightly from the bowl. If the dough is too sticky and damp, add 1 TBS of flour until you achieve the stretchy, doughy consistency we want.
Set your dough aside in a ball-shape and lightly oil a clean bowl. (Just a thin coating). Place your dough ball in it, cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in a war spot for 45 minutes. The dough should double in size.
Once your dough is ready, boil a medium or large pot of water on high (I think I used around 8 cups of water). Stir in the baking soda until it’s dissolved.
While you’re waiting on your water to come to a boil, cut your hot dogs into thirds. Next, tear your dough ball into four different smaller dough balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll your dough into a large rope. You’ll cut this into six different pieces. Take one piece and wrap around a vegan hot dog third. Make sure to pinch the beginning and end of the pretzel dough together on the dog. Repeat with all the dough balls until all your hot dog bites are covered.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Next, drop your hot dog bites into the boiling water (I did about four at a time) and leave them in for about 30 seconds. You’ll notice they’ve puffed up some. Take them out and place on a greased baking sheet, sprinkling with coarse salt while they’re still damp. Bake them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they achieve the brown-doneness you like in your soft pretzel! Take out and let cool.
The beer cheese is ridiculously simple. In a medium saucepan, bring the bottle of beer to a simmer. (Note, a full bottle of beer in this recipe WILL leave a strong beer taste. If you don’t like that I suggest halving it and adding a couple tablespoons of butter to substitute.) Next, stir in the vegan cream cheese until smooth. Add in the shredded vegan cheese and mix until creamy and silky.
Share and impress all your friends or fight with your loved one over the last dog!
Regardless of what you do, this recipe is sure to be a home-run! (Hey I had to sneak one more in there!)
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