Perfect for a school lunchbox or for an afternoon snack, these "mini dogs" are bite-size franks cleverly folded into their own cornbread "bun," then baked to produce crispy-tender crusts without the added fat and calories of frying.
Cocktail franks are ideal here, or you can simply cut regular hot dogs in half lengthwise, and then in half again crosswise to make 4 smaller pieces. Look for organic cocktail franks or hot dogs, which are made without synthetic ingredients or preservatives.
There are lots of opportunities to harness enthusiastic kid power in this recipe. Measuring and stirring ingredients teach good kitchen skills to younger kids — and older ones will love folding the cornbread dough over the mini dogs.
For a bit of spice, serve the mini dogs with our Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce (below), or other favorite condiments such as relish, salsa, mustard or ketchup.
Place the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the pieces of butter; using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Beat the milk and egg together until smooth and add to the flour-butter mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough until smooth, about 1 minute. The dough will be soft but it shouldn't be wet. Add more flour sparingly if needed.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Roll the dough out into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Using a 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 24 rounds. As you cut, it may be necessary to patch the scraps together to make enough rounds; gently pat them together in a single layer and lightly roll them until smooth, then continue cutting.
Place a cocktail frank (or hot dog, cut into thirds, if using) in the center of each pastry round. Bring the edges of the dough up over the middle of the frank and pinch the edges to seal tightly. The ends of the franks should still be peeking out from the dough.
Place the mini dogs on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
While the mini dogs are cooking, make the Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. Combine the mustard, honey and molasses in a small bowl and stir to blend.
Serve the mini dogs warm or at room temperature with the Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce or other favorite condiments on the side.