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Cooking with Caroline: Dress up your Fourth of July brats and hot dogs

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MADISON (WKOW) -- In this month's edition of Cooking with Caroline, Kevin Appleton, the food and beverage program director for Madison College Continuing Education, whipped up some Fourth of July Brats that will make your mouth water and your neighbors jealous.  

Appleton's favorite recipe, the bacon, apple, cheddar brat is posted for you below.  Check out the attached video for a visual of the step by step instructions as well as an idea of how to make Appleton's Reuben with Polish sausage, pastrami, swiss and kraut and his bacon, mac and cheese hot dog.

To join Appleton for cooking classes you can check out Madison College's website.  

Bacon, Apple, Cheddar Brats

4 bratwurst, precooked
4 French rolls (or firmer more substantial hot dog buns that don't fall apart easily)
8 strips bacon
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
1 large apple
1 large onion, sliced and grilled
2 Tbsp. brown or Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1. Slice the cheese into approximately ¼" by ½" lengths with enough to fill each brat. Grate leftover cheese to use as garnish.
2. Slice the apples thinly into half moons that will fit easily on the roll or bun.
3. Use a paring knife to create a pocket (for the cheese) the length of the brat, without cutting through the bottom or the sides and then stuff with the cheese.
4. Wrap the brat with bacon so it is uniformly covered with no place for the cheese to ooze out when cooking. Secure the ends with a toothpick, if needed (not necessary If you do a superior job wrapping).
5. Broil, grill or saute the stuffed wrapped brats, turning as necessary until the bacon is crisp and the brat is cooked through and hot. If you haven't already cooked the onions, now would be a great time.
6. If grilling or sauteing, start with the slit side down while the cheese is firmer, and finish with it slit side up. For grilling use indirect heat and a drip pan to catch the bacon drippings avoiding flare-ups.
7. Toast the buns, lightly spread with mayonnaise & mustard and arrange the apple slices on each side of the bun.
8. Place the brats in the buns. Remove any toothpicks. Garnish with grated cheese as desired and enjoy.

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