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Ammonites in a Blanket

Stephen F. Greb, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky

This recipe uses a variation of the old pigs-'n-a-blanket theme in order to make edible ammonites. Ammonites were squid-like animals that lived in coiled shells in the deep sea, similar to the modern chambered Nautilus. They were very common in Mesozoic-era seas, during the age of the dinosaurs. They would probably have tasted like calamari (a fancy name for squid to trick people into eating it), but what are your chances of getting a child to eat squid?

You'll need:


1. If using regular-sized hot dogs, cut each hot dog in half lengthwise, and then cut both halves into thirds. If you are using appetizer-sized dogs, there is no need to cut them.

2. To prepare the tentacles of the squid-like ammonite animal, make two or three slices in the end of each piece of hot dog. Don't cut pieces off, just cut into the end of the hot dogs or thirds of hot dogs, along their length.

For appetizer dogs, make two slices, ½ to ¾ inches deep. For regular-sized dogs make three cuts, each 1 to 1 ½ inches deep. The hot dog will curl back from these cuts during cooking to form the "tentacles."

3. Now unroll the precut lengths of bread-stick dough. The dough will form the "shell" of each hot dog/ammonite. Place the hot dogs into the end of each length of dough, so that the cut part of each (the tentacles) sticks out from the dough. There are several ways to do this.

The first method is to place the hot dog, or third-of-a-hot-dog piece flat on the baking pan, and then to wrap the dough over the top of the hot dog. Some of the hot dogs will fall out of the dough "shell" after baking, but you can still arrange them in the baked dough to look nice.

The second method is to make an indentation with your thumb into the dough stick, and then to lay the hot dog flat on the indentation. The dough will rise and partly wrap around the hot dog during baking. Some of the hot dogs may pop off from the dough "shell" after baking, but can be reattached for presentation.

The third method is to use two of the bread-dough sticks and encase the end of the hot dog between the sticks, like a sandwich. Pinch the sides of the dough together to make a solid wrap. This method insures that the hot dog stays in the dough "shell" but uses much more dough, and makes a "thick" bread shell.

4. After wrapping the end of the hot dog, shape the remaining dough, which should be sticking out from the end of the hot dog, into a coiled shape by twisting the length of the dough, as in a rope, and then making a spiral shape with the dough, like an ammonite's shell.

5. Bake in the oven according to the directions on the batter roll, usually until the dough is slightly golden.

6. Remove from the oven. If the "tentacles" haven't opened, open them up with a knife.

7. You can use your imagination for putting eyes on the ammonites. The easiest way to do this is to place a drop of mustard on the side of the ammonite first, and then put a dab of ketchup on a toothpick or the end of a fork, so as to place a smaller spot of red ketchup within the larger yellow circle of mustard. For regular sized hot dogs, place the eye on the hot dog between the "tentacles" and the bread-stick shell. For appetizer dogs there isn't enough room for the eye on the hot dog, so just put it on the bread-stick shell. You can also slice an olive and pimento and attach with a dab of ketchup.

8. Eat and enjoy!