Basically – a real food makeover of your favorite recipes.
I received dozens of e-mails, but very surprisingly, only a small handful of recipes, as many of the same recipes were requested several times over. Evidently there are a few convenience and snack foods that are beloved by many. 🙂
Oreos (which currently exist in my book but I'm working on making that recipe even better) and Pigs in a Blanket were the two most-requested recipes.
Of course my kiddos were very willing guinea pigs for both experiments 🙂 and what follows is our favorite version of Pigs in a Blanket.
How to Make Real Food Pigs in a Blanket
The only difficulty in developing a real food pigs in a blanket recipe that would please everyone is that some people use a biscuit dough for the breading, while others use a flaky dough, almost like a croissant.
I myself prefer the latter and also, since it's fairly easy to make a homemade biscuit but it's not as common to find recipes for quick pastry doughs (like the crescent-dough that pops out of a can), I decided to figure out a dough that had the flakiness of the pastry dough with the quickness of the biscuit dough. It's a good happy-medium. 🙂
At first, I really wanted to make a quick croissant dough like Beatrice Ojakangas shows on Baking with Julia (I never tire of watching Julia Child!):
But then I realized that by that recipe's definition, “quick” croissant dough merely meant you could make it in approximately 24 hours, rather than the traditional 3-day process.
Absolutely lovely, but not quite quick enough for our my-kids-are-hungry-NOW purposes.
So, after a few rounds of experimentation, this is what I settled on. I'm happy with this recipe for three reasons:
1. They're quick to prep. A batch typically takes just 10-15 minutes to pull together (before baking).
2. They freeze beautifully. Thus, definitely consider making a double or triple batch and then just pulling them out as needed.
3. They're an easy recipe for kids to help make. Kids can definitely help mix and tuck the piggies in their blankets. Any excuse to get kids in the kitchen is welcome in my book!
An Important Note about All-Purpose Flour
One note: You may notice that this recipe uses all-purpose flour (you may substitute whole wheat or spelt, though you may have to adjust ratios). I decided to use all-purpose merely because it replicates the store-bought version most closely. We're not soaking or souring it, though, so we're going against the “rules” for properly treating grains. However, it's still a far-cry more nourishing than the store-bought variety, so I decided to use it as is.
That said, I am working on a flaky sourdough version, but I haven't quite hit a home-run on that one yet, so I'm sharing this one by itself….. 🙂
And lastly, I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine does! I'll just say that I had to carefully set aside a few piggies for the photo and for freezing, as the rest of my family scarfed down whatever was still on the baking sheet as soon as they were cool enough to touch.
- 2 cups unbleached & unbromated all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 8 grass-fed beef hot dogs (1 package), each cut in half - I highly highly recommend this brand
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, then rub the butter pieces into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and the lumps are still about the size of peas. You don't want to overwork this (which I'm often tempted to do!), as these small lumps of butter are what will create any semblance of flakiness in the dough.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Stir well, then cover with a tea towel and place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to chill slightly.
- When the dough is chilled, scrape it from the bowl, sprinkle with flour, then turn out onto a well-floured surface.
- With floured hands, pat the dough into a 15 by 7 inch rectangle, trimming the sides if necessary to get a true rectangle. I find a pizza cutter works fabulously for this - otherwise a very sharp paring knife or small chef's knife can work well too.
- Divide the rectangle into nine smaller rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally into two thin triangles.
- One at a time, wrap the hot dog halves in their little triangle blankets. Place the piggies on the cookie sheet so that the ends are tucked under at the bottom.
- Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on the sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
- Serve with your favorite dips, such as honey mustard, yellow mustard, ketchup, and sauerkraut.
- And if having cheese on your pigs in a blanket is essential, try our homemade squeeze cheese or homemade Velveeta. Surprisingly scrumptious!
- To freeze, bake as directed and pull them out just as they're beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes. Cool completely, then freeze them on a baking sheet. Once they're frozen, place them in a freezer-safe storage container and store them for up to three months in a kitchen freezer or up to six months in a deep freeze.
- To reheat, just bake for 12-15 minutes at 350°F until they're fully heated through.