Ever since I encountered the Fairway's Pigs in Blankets (the Fairway is a chain of grocery stores in the Northeast) I have been thinking about concocting them at home. My daughter and I used to buy Pigs in Blankets with coffee for me and hot chocolate for her. After we checked out, we would sit on a bench in the parking lot, overlooking the Hudson River, and enjoy our treats. Hers was without mustard, mine was with. The dogs were wrapped in a yeasted dough. This is my version. I am using a pretzel dough recipe that I found on Host the Toast Blog at http:://blog.hostthetoast.com/mini-pretzel-dogs/, which worked great. —luvcookbooks
Heat the beer in a saucepan over low heat until blood warm (meaning it feels warm when you dip your finger in, but does not burn your finger, about body temperature). Combine beer with sugar and salt. Sprinkle over yeast, and let stand until yeast foams so you know that the yeast is active.
Mix yeast mixture, flour and butter. Butter should be warm but not hot. Too much heat can kill the yeast. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is a smooth ball. This will only take a few minutes and is very relaxing. Let rise, covered with saran wrap, for an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450. Take a palm sized piece of dough (my hands are small, adjust as needed) and roll out into a long thin rectangle. Brush the rectangle with mustard and sprinkle with grated cheddar. Fold in each side to form a three layered thin rectangle and roll again. This time you want a very thin rectangle to wrap the brats.
Cook the sliced red onions in olive oil, salt and pepper while the dough is rising. You want them to be a soft, dry tangle, not crispy and not at all watery.
Slit the brats lengthwise and stuff them with mustard and ketchup and sliced onions. This keeps the dough from getting soggy.
Insert one end of your dough strip into the bratwurst slit. Wrap around the brat, keeping the slit up so the filling doesn't come out.
Mix hot water with baking soda until baking soda dissolves. Dip each completed bratwurst into the hot water/baking soda mixture briefly, then drain on a kitchen towel.
Use a double baking sheet topped with parchment paper to bake the brats. They need space because the dough will rise in the oven. Brush the tops with egg yolk beaten with the tablespoon of water and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. You can also top with extra onions and cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. The dough will be golden and the bottoms will be more faintly golden. Let them cool for ten minutes before you eat them so the dough isn't gooey. Serve beer or home made ginger ale on the side. Play "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" while eating.