Cheesy Corn Dog Muffins

When I was a kid, my mom used to buy us corn dogs from the Schwans truck every summer.  Hot, crunchy, slightly greasy outside, soft inside, salty hot dog...I loved them.  And meat on a stick?  What kid doesn't think that's a good idea?  I haven't had a corn dog in many many years, so when I came across this recipe, I first thought of those Schwans corn dogs, then of how my kids would enjoy these.

As with every recipe I make, I do try to incorporate some healthier ingredients without changing the overall idea of the recipe.  So instead of regular hot dogs (which I avoid feeding the kids as much as I can), I used the venison hot dogs my father-in-law had made from one of the deer he shot this past hunting season.  They are really good, and really lean, as deer are not a highly fatty animal.

When these muffins came out of the oven, my 2-year-old son took one look at them and said, " dog!" (which in his words came out "hot dawg")  He inhaled his once it was just barely cool enough to eat, and even my picky daughter gave it her approval.

They really do taste like a corn dog!

1 1/2 c flour (I used white whole wheat)
3 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 c cornmeal
2 eggs
1 c buttermilk*
1/4 c butter, melted
4 hot dogs, sliced in half lengthwise and cut small
1 c shredded cheese (I used colby jack)

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly spray 12-muffin tin (or 24 mini muffin, which is what I used).

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.  Add cornmeal, mix well.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then stir in the buttermilk* and melted butter.  Stir liquid mixture into the dry mixture, stirring just until blended.  Add cheese and hot dogs.  Mix well.

Using a large ice cream scoop, evenly fill the cups.  They will expand!

Bake 18-20 minutes (or 15 minutes for minis) or until lightly browned.  Serve hot.

*If you do not have buttermilk, you can do this:  Place 1 Tbsp vinegar into a measuring cup.  Add just enough milk to reach the 1 cup mark.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Voila.  Buttermilk substitution.


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