Yesterday evening our 14 year old Great Dane, a sweet girl named Athena, passed on to that great big dog-park in the sky. If today’s post is a little more somber in tone, please forgive me, though I’ll try to laugh as much now as I did two days ago – Athena made us laugh a lot.
In honor of her, I’d like to rename one of my recipes and share it with all of you. Fat Hubby and I love corndogs (who doesn’t, honestly?), though every time I try to make corndogs at home, it’s an epic fail. Like EPIC. I’ve had the batter refuse to stick to the dogs, I’ve had the batter look like it’s sticking to the dogs only to float off in the fryer, I’ve even once had the sticks catch on fire. Really.
Then I noticed that I only seemed to have this problem with full-sized corn dogs on sticks (to be fair, I haven’t really attempted any fried-thing-on-a-stick since then). Maybe it’s because I’m very used to frying bite-sized things, or maybe I have a magic touch with ‘Lil Smokies; as may be, mini-corn dogs and I rock together. I used to call them Corn Puppies – you know, like Corn Dogs and Hush Puppies all squished together, and they're small dogs, so clearly puppies. I’d like to rechristen them as Good Puppies, not only because they are good, but also because Athena was a good puppy.
- 1 package of your favorite corn bread mix, plus the stuff to make it (usually at least some milk or water)
- 1 egg, if your mix does NOT already call for one (egg in the batter helps to make it extra sticky)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (this makes the batter's sweetness really pop)
- ½ cup of corn starch
- 1 lb of cocktail wienies, patted dry with a paper towel or something
- Large heavy pot half-full of oil and a fry thermometer OR a deep fryer (cheater)
- Place the egg in a medium-sized bowl and beat lightly with a fork, like you’re making scrambled eggs, until the yolk is totally integrated into the white and the whole thing becomes a uniform pale-yellow color.
- Sprinkle in the corn bread mix and stir until thoroughly combined. It will be thick, like, oh-crap-the-fork’s-gonna-get-stuck thick, but that’s ok.
- Add the extract and pour a little (a few tablespoons, but no more than a third) of the milk/water into the bowl. Stir and stir and stir until all the liquid is integrated. The batter should be thick and sticky, but if it is still very lumpy or not batter-y enough, you may need to add a few more splashes of liquid. The batter is the right consistency when you stick a finger in and it coats your finger about ¼” all around.
- Bring the oil to 375*F – this is standard ‘deep frying’ temp. Don’t start the oil heating before the batter is ready, because oil (especially hot oil) is dangerous and deserves your full attention. Got it? Good.
- Place a few cocktail wienies in the cornstarch and toss to coat them with your primary hand. Once they are completely coated, tap them lightly against the side of the cornstarch bowl and then place them in the batter.
- With your OFF hand (if you are right-handed, your left hand is your off hand, and vice versa), dip your fingers in the corn batter to coat THEM, THEN dunk the wienie to coat IT, then drop it slowly into the hot oil.
I have no idea why the formating insists on starting from 1 again, so by the following 1-2-3, I really mean 7-8-9.
- Place 3-4 battered wienies in the oil and watch them until they are golden brown all over. Be careful not to overload your oil, as that will make the temp drop too much. Cold oil makes food greasy and gross; properly hot oil fries those things you get that aren’t greasy at all. Make sure the oil never gets below 365* (grease-city) and never goes over 385* (which results in either perfect-on-the-outside-raw-in-the-middle OR cooked-thru-but-burned-on-the-outside puppies).
- When they are golden brown and delicious, use your corn-starchy hand to use some tongs to fish them out onto the draining rig of your choice.
- Wait just long enough for them to not burn you, then devour. Sharing is totally optional; technically, this is a recipe for one.
Fat Hubby suggests dipping sauces: honey mustard makes the sweet in the cornbread stand out even more, ketchup or Ranch dressing are traditional kiddo favorites ::Fat Girl says 'Ewww'::, a honey-bbq sauce makes for a really interesting picnic-flavored addition, and if you're feeling very daring, a pineapple-coconut sauce (like for coconut shrimp) is DIVINE!
Not sure what else you can do with this batter? While I don’t recommend deep-frying oreos with it (I don’t like the cornbread-oreo combo myself), the cornbread batter does play well with: