March Madness is something of a foreign concept to me, even after 15 years of living in the US. I believe it was in my first year of grad school at Arizona State that I even heard of this event that was so highly anticipated by many. My roommate, a rabid University of Arizona basketball fan, monopolized the television to watch many of the games, and was aghast that I had no idea what all the fuss was about.
Truth be told, basketball has never been high on my list of watchable sports, and the excitement over college teams will forever elude me. In Canada, we simply don’t make much fuss over our university sports teams. My alma mater, UBC, was such a large school that I’m quite sure we must have had a basketball team, but if we did, I certainly never heard about it. Football, sure. Hockey, naturally. And we weren’t called U-B-Ski for nothing! Basketball simply wasn’t on my radar at all.
My husband, however, is very keen on March Madness and understandably so. He’s exceptionally tall, so almost everywhere we go, someone has to ask him if he played basketball in college. He did indeed, for a small, Quaker liberal arts school, although from all accounts their team wasn’t very good. They even spent one season losing every single game. Still, it’s a sport he loves and he has a particular affection for college basketball, so March Madness is certainly on HIS radar. He’s not quite as serious about it as he used to be, but he always makes time to watch some of the first few rounds, and gets increasingly intense as it approaches the final four. A few years ago, he even scheduled a surgical procedure toward the end of March, just so he’d be laid up in bed recovering in time for the end of the playoffs.
Besides a love of basketball, my husband has a long-standing affection for pigs in the blanket. As a child, they were his favourite food, and he would ask for them for dinner whenever he had the chance. He even got proficient at making them himself as a young lad. His version, mind you, is made with canned crescent rolls. They are oh-so-delicious, but seriously bad for you, so naturally, my kids love them. Besides being full of gluten, I shudder to think what’s in that dough, but I don’t want to deny my kids and my husband a favourite food. So I wondered if I could come up with a comparable version with almond flour dough. I figured that the dough from my Brie and Bacon Tartlets might be just the thing.
Now that we have kids, it’s fun to involve them in our hobbies and interests. We had a little family Super Bowl party, replete with wings, veggies, dips, chips, and beer (no beer for the kids, mind you.) So perhaps we will do something similar for the final game of March Madness, which, by the way, ends in April this year. April Madness? April Insanity? In any event, it will give me an excuse to make this fun, kid-friendly treat again. The whole family loved them and ate without complaint, a rarity in my house.
They are great made ahead of time, because they warm up nicely in the oven. The only thing I would change is the size of the dogs. We were using some of the long, 10-inch hot dogs and I think they’d be cuter, and even more kid-friendly, if I used mini hot dogs or at least cut them down to size.
Pigs in the Blanket – Low Carb and Gluten-Free
- 12 regular hot dogs or 36 mini hot dogs
- 3 oz cheddar cheese cut into matchsticks
- 2 cups almond flour
- 3 tablespoon unflavored whey protein powder
- 2 tablespoon coconut flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- ¼ cup plus one tablespoon butter melted
- With a sharp knife, make a slit in each hot dog from end to end, without cutting all the way through.
- Fill slit with matchsticks of cheddar cheese.
- Preheat oven to 350F and lightly and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, whey protein, coconut flour, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and xanthan gum.
- Stir in eggs and ¼ cup butter until dough comes together. It will be quite sticky.
- Turn out dough onto a large piece of parchment, and then pat into a rough rectangle.
- Top with another piece of parchment and roll out to ¼ inch thickness (about 12 inches by 12 inches). Peel off top piece of parchment paper.
- Cut into 12 squares, if using regular hot dogs, or 26 small squares if using mini dogs (if your squares aren't perfectly even or have some ragged edges, that's okay...and you can gather up extra dough and re-roll as well).
- Place each hot dog in the middle of a square and roll dough tightly around it. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
- Brush dough with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake 20 minutes, until dough is light golden brown and cheese is melted.
- To reheat, just place in a 250F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
This post is part of BlogHer’s March Madness editorial series, made possible by Kettle Brand Chips.