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Since I care for my grandsons on a regular basis, I always bring the three-year-old a bento box for his lunch. Actually, I started doing this months ago as a way to combat his incessant indecisiveness when he wanted a snack from the pantry.  Bringing the bento box (actually a plastic box designed for bento-type lunches) put an end to this. He now eats what's in the bento box and when those foods are gone, he can have something from the pantry. 

The contents of the bento box changed dramatically a couple of months ago when he was diagnosed with a gluten problem. He has few favorite foods one being corn dogs, I knew I needed to recreate these in gluten-free form.

Using a gluten-free cornbread box, gluten-free hotdogs, brownie silicone molds, I was able to recreate his favorite. I held my breath the first time he tried them as three-years-olds can be notoriously  picky, he liked them! 

Here's how to create gluten-free corn dogs for your picky eater:

For 16 corn dogs
1/2 package 20 ounce gluten-free cornbread mix (I used Bob's Red Mill) 
1 egg
3/4 milk
approximately 2 1/2 Tablespoons oil or butter (half of 1/3 cup)
package of gluten-free hot dogs (I used Oscar Mayer Turkey Dogs for this batch)
gluten-free cooking spray (not all of them are)

Prep and cooking equipment that is used only for gluten-free cooking or meticulously cleaned hard surface equipment such as metal saucepans. (I know those that cook gluten-free on a regular basis know this, but I'm new to this kind of cooking and other may be new as well, and may not know to keep gluten and gluten-free kitchen items separate.)

silicone brownie pan (I'm still looking for the perfect pan, but this shape works well)
cutting board/knife
mixing bowl, spatula, whisk, measuring cup
small saucepan

Step 1:
Cook hotdogs as directed on the package. I have experimented with scoring the hotdogs to give them a little more surface for the cornmeal to adhere. The cooked coating has a tendency to slide off a hotdog that is totally smooth. I have had some success with this. Cool and dry hotdogs on paper towels. Cut into thirds (you will have a couple of hotdogs left over).

Step 2:
Follow the mixing directions on your cornbread mix, halving the ingredients. 

Step 3:
Using a spoon or small scoop, equally fill the individual molds with cornmeal mix. Gently press a hotdog into the center of the mix. Using your fingers, roughly cover the top of the hotdog, as well as you can, with the mix.

Step 4:
Bake at the temperature stated on your mix. I usually cook for 20 mins, check and cook for another 5 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the mix comes out clean.

Corn dogs can be served with or without a stick pushed into the pointy end. I used sticks designed for candy apples so I cut off the very sharp point with kitchen shears before using. I like to eat mine with a little yellow mustard, but the three-year-old likes them plain. Word of warning, these are very crumbly or "crummy" as my grandson points out.


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