When we were planning our wedding, Shane was pretty content to let me make most of the decisions. There were really only 2 things he had strong opinions about: the music and pigs in a blanket. I remember as we searched for a venue, one of the few times he'd speak up was to verify that the chef would be able to include pigs in a blanket among the hor d'oeuvres. It all worked out, and they were served at our wedding, so he was a happy guy :) These days, it's actually pretty rare that we eat pigs in a blanket. Occasionally, I buy the frozen ones from Trader Joe's as a treat and a few times we've had them at a get-together with friends, but that's about the extent of it.
Until a few weeks ago anyway. Yudith of Blissfully Delicious shared make-ahead pigs in a blanket and I immediately knew I had to make them for Shane. As luck would have it, I already had the magazine with the recipe, but just hadn't had a chance to read it yet (happens all too often...). In the past, when we've had this treat with friends it's been using the refrigerated crescent roll dough, and though no one's ever complained, I just thought it'd be fun to attempt a homemade version at least once. This recipe uses a cream biscuit dough to encase the hot dogs and it's pretty quick and easy to whip up. Best of all, as the title suggests, you can make these ahead of time, pop them in your freezer, and just bake off a few at a time as you need them.
When I made them, I baked some of the pigs in a blanket almost immediately (I only froze them for 30 minutes), and I saved the others to test the make-ahead theory. Happily, the ones I baked a week later were just as good as the first batch :) The biscuits surrounding the hot dogs are fluffy with a golden brown crust, they're perfect finger food. I added some cheddar cheese to the biscuit dough for fun, and though the flavor wound up being pretty subtle, I liked it. The recipe received rave reviews from the resident expert. I enjoyed them too - in fact, this is pretty much the only way you'll get me to eat hot dogs.
Make-Ahead Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket
from The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2012
2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
6 hot dogs
Add 2 cups of the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse just to combine. Add the shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and fold in the cheese until evenly distributed. Add the cream, stirring to bring the dough into a rough ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 8-10 times, or until smooth.
Roll the dough into a rectangle measuring about 15x10-inches (you can add a little more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking). Brush the dough all over with the beaten egg (this helps keep the dough and hot dog together). Cut the rectangle into six 5-inch squares (cut in thirds the long way, and half on the short side). Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to a shallow dish. Pat the hot dogs dry with paper towels then dredge them in the flour, shaking off any excess. Working with one hot dog at a time, place it in the center of one of the squares, then roll the dough around the hot dog, pinching at the seam to close. Cut each dough-covered hot dog into 4 pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with all hot dogs until you've used all the dough.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the pigs in a blanket get firm - this will take about 30 minutes. At this point, you can either proceed to bake them (see below) or transfer them to a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
To bake: preheat oven to 425 F. Bake the pigs in a blanket for 20-25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown and fairly firm to the touch. Let cool slightly before serving.
Makes 24 pigs in a blanket