This may be the first of its kind

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From the outside, Okie Dokie Donuts’ latest offering looks like something standard, even plain. Crack open the South Philadelphia bakeshop’s newest creation and you’ll find anything but.

Tucked inside the corn cake shell masquerading as an old-fashioned pastry is an entire Sabrett hot dog. The meat is totally encased in the batter, hidden from sight until you bite in for a juicy, sweet-and-salty mouthful.

It’s a corn dog donut — and it’s Okie Dokie owner Carol Ha’s gift to herself.

“It’s my birthday,” the well-traveled pastry chef wrote on Instagram. “So to celebrate I combined my two favorite things: hotdogs and donuts!”

Served with a side of deli mustard for dipping, the mashup is only available for walk-up ordering on Friday. This is just the start, Ha confirmed to excited commenters swooning over her social media post. If things go well, customers can expect more corn dog donuts in the shop’s near future.

Bonus for sensitive eaters: the treat is entirely soy, gluten and nut free.

Okie Dokie started on that premise. Ha launched the venture as a side project in 2012, doing Instagram flash sales that sold out quickly. She started collaborating on pop-ups at various events and restaurants — she made a series of booze-infused mini donuts for a Billy Penn whiskey tasting at Manatawny Still Works on East Passyunk — and her fame grew.

In 2019, Ha and partner Bill Kelly opened their petite storefront at 1439 Snyder Ave., where catering operations are based and the walk-up window just below West Passyunk does brisk business.

Pre-orders are available online, and special additions to the monthly-changing menu are still announced regularly on Instagram. Donuts go for $3 apiece or $30 per dozen. Flavors are often innovative, like peach matcha, “Kentucky butter” (a buttermilk-vanilla deal), mango sticky rice (with coconut and toasted sesame) — and corn dog.

The battered and fried combo is not novel. Usually served on a stick, the carnival staple has been around since at least the 1930s. Its origins in the U.S. are debated, but it was likely made popular by an Oregon couple who dubbed them “Pronto Pups.” And they’re still popular: In Philadelphia, Fox & Son Fair Foods opened at Reading Terminal Market in 2017 with corn dogs as their main menu item.

Has anyone made them into donuts before? Probably not, and definitely not with as much style.

The internet holds several recipes for corn donuts studded with chopped up hot dogs, but not with the meat wrapped neatly inside the torus. There’s an NYC mini chain called Ugly Donuts & Hot Dogs, but the products seem to be sold separately, not combined into one.

Getting a hot dog to form a circle is obviously key to Okie Dokie’s special creation. It’s unclear how Ha fashioned them; she didn’t elaborate when a commenter asked. South Jersey meat purveyor Rastelli’s made a huge splash last year when it introduced a “round hot dog,” but those were just flattened into a shape like a hamburger patty, not a loop with a hole in the middle.

The only hint Ha dropped so far about her process is that the corn cake exterior does contain dairy (hence these are not kosher).

If you’re planning to be near Okie Dokie on July 1, you can try them for yourself. Otherwise, stay abreast of the bakery’s Instagram to find out when they’ll be available next. Because one thing is certain: this creation will be back.

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation, including the membership program. She is a former food and...