MINI CORN DOGS and Cheese-On-A-Stick

Crispy golden, feel-like-a-kid-again, deliciousness.  On a stick!

 Corn-dogs-cooked2Unmistakable aromas.  The promise of fun thick in the air.  That glorious place when all caution is thrown to the wind.  When childlike abandon happily and completely takes over.

You know what I'm talking about.  The Carnival.  The Annual Exhibition. The County Fair.  The State Fair.

Or in my case, The Calgary Stampede.  Growing up in Calgary, back in the 1960's meant there was not only one 'most wonderful time of the year', but two.  And not only did we count down the days 'til school was out and summer holidays were here, but we excitely, anxiously, counted down the days until it was Stampede time!

Those were the glory days of my childhood memories. Yip, yip, yip, yahoooooo. 

New jeans and sky blue western shirt laid out, big, pink peony cut from Dad's garden, waiting to be placed just so in the leather band on my coveted, snow-white stetson.  Tomorrow was the day of days.  Time to kick off The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Giddy with excitement, parade day meant getting up before the sun, doning cowgirl garb that made me feel crazily happy, and heading downtown to find the perfect spot on the curb, near the corner of 3rd Street and 7th Avenue.  We had to get there before anybody else nabbed the spot we had come to believe was the best place to watch the passing of one of the world's most renowned parades.

After that it was time to hit the Stampede Grounds.  And the Midway.  Stampede Nirvana!  Crowds of laughing, smiling, anticipation-filled, c'boy hatted families.  Buzzingly delightful sensory overload of sounds, sights and smells.  Music everywhere, demanding voices of sideshow barkers, beckoning carnies promising that it's easy as pie to hit the target and walk away with that big orange teddy bear, nickel diggers with their cellophane wrapped prizes, the spinning whir of The Calypso ride, the clanging, banging, of the Wild Mouse double-dog-dare-you roller coaster and (maybe best of all) the unmistakable aromas. 

Corn-dog-biteAromas of the most fun foods to be had.  Anywhere.  Wafting everywhere.  Taunting, summoning. 

Sweet, salty, savory. Hot buttered popcorn; sugary mini donuts; soft pastel clouds of cotton candy; crunchy, sweet, valentine-red candy apples; creamy smooth pineapple whips and big, messy cheeseburgers jam-packed with fried onions and all the trimmings. But perhaps the super duperest fair food that we came craving each year, were the corn dogs. 

Crunchy, tender, happiness on a stick.  Crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, hot from the fryer, corn dogs.  With squiggles of mustard and ketchup. 

That was then.  This is now.........

The other day, I brought all these fun food cravings (and memories) home.  To my kitchen.  Kids and grandkids gathered.  And fun it was.  Totally.  

Corn-cheddarI scooted about online to find the perfect batter, and came across Tes At Home food blog, who made mini corn dogs instead of the usual size.  Irresistably cute.  I'm in.

A little more food blog jumping and my batter recipe was starting to come together.  Then I had the thought to check one of my all time fave food blogs to make sure I wasn't missing anything that The Pioneer Woman had to offer about corn dogs.  Sure enough, Ree did it again.

 Not only was there a post on Corn Dogs, but in true Pioneer Woman style Ree took it a step further and did Cheese-On-A-Stick along with her corn dogs. 

The eagle has landed.  I was poised to make delicious fun.  And so I did.

**Big hearty thanks to 'Tes at Home' and once again, to Ree, our one and only Pioneer Woman, 'Thank-you ma'am, I'm much obliged'!**


1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea, kosher or other salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 1/4 cups buttermilk

500 gram package Cocktail Smokies or mini wieners or frankfurters (I used President's Choice Cocktail Smokies)
Cheddar, Havarti, Mozzarella or other cheese cut into 1/2-inch x 3-inch sticks
Wooden skewers
Canola or peanut oil, for frying
Assorted mustards and ketchup for dipping

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Add eggs, melted butter and buttermilk.  Whisk, whisk, whisk to make a slightly thick batter.

 Insert skewers into cocktail smokies.


Insert skewers into cheese sticks.


Heat oil in a wok or deep fryer, over medium high heat.  Drop a tiny bit of batter into the oil to test to see if it's hot enough to start frying.  Batter should sizzle immediately, but not brown immediately.  Once you start frying you may have to adjust the heat a bit to keep the oil at the perfect frying temperature.

Dip the mini dogs into the batter and allow any excess to drip off, back into the bowl.  Carefully place in the oil, skewer and all, and use tongs to turn.  Don't crowd your pan, so that you can fiddle a bit turning, browning and cooking evenly. Remove after 3-4 minutes, when batter is a deep golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with mustards and ketchup.

Repeat with the cheese sticks, keeping in mind they are a tich trickier to fry.  You walk a fine line between not frying it long enough (and the cheese not fully melting) and frying it too long (the outside gets too brown or the cheese bursts through the batter and starts the oil spattering).  It might take a couple of pieces to get it just right.  Forest Grump did the frying for me, and he had the cheese frying perfected, after 2 sticks.  And seriously, having to fiddle a bit is so worth it!    

As River boy says, "Oh Em Gee, these are sooooo good!"  


Yip, yip, yip yahoooooo!

**And don't forget you can always use any leftover batter for pancakes the next morning.**