July 9, 2012Posted in: Appetizer
I’m a sucker for soft pretzels. Whenever I’m in NYC I have to get one off a street cart. Last week there was a street fair in town and someone was selling soft pretzels; had to buy some. I love the doughy chew combined with the crunch of the large, coarse salt.
For the longest time our version of home made pretzels was baking some pre-made frozen soft pretzels and calling it a day. Then I tried making my own. They came out ok but were slightly off the mark both in flavor and that classic pretzel golden brown color.
The pretzels you are looking at here though are the real deal. And, FYI, super easy to make. Which, for us, is pretty key as we’re really going to have our arms full when Baby Boy becomes big brother in a few months.
This recipe comes from the food blog Feeding Andy, which I was assigned for this months Secret Recipe Club. Run by chef-in-training Peggy and loaded with a bunch of great looking recipes we want to try out (like this Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread). Peggy’s blog is full of mouthwatering photos and really tantalizing yet accessible recipes which make us wonder if she hasn’t completed culinary school already and is presently posing as a student (just kidding!).
I liked these pretzel bites and the accompanying beer cheese dip as is. Rachel found the pretzel bites to be a little too doughy, which could have been because I made the balls too big (mine were golf ball size) or didn’t bake the extra minute or two they needed. When we bake for a party I’m going to do them as logs; easier for baking and party dipping too.
The beer cheese dip I found to be a perfect accompaniment to the pretzel bites, especially as I drank the remainder of the beer used in this recipe. The horseradish gave a little zing to the dip, and the cream cheese and Velveeta were creamy smooth.
We’re hosting a big summer bbq next weekend with a bunch of friends and family. So besides wanting to make these pretzel bites just because I really wanted to have them, I thought I’d give them a test to see if they were party material. They definitely are. And they’ll be made, in bulk, for our little shindig next week. If you’re in NJ stop by, though no promises on how long these will last.
Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 & 1/4 cups warm water
- 5 cups flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 2 egg whites
- Kosher or coarse sea salt, for topping
- cooking spray
- In a measuring cup dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the flour, white and brown sugars, and salt. Pour the water/yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons melted butter into the bowl. Knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth. Add extra water if dough is too dry, until you get your desired texture.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Shape dough into a ball. Place the dough ball in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of hot water and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
- After the dough has risen, punch down the dough and then knead with hands for one minute. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and break off small chunks of dough - Roll the chunks into 1 inch diameter balls (I got about 20-25).
- Dip the pieces in the baking soda water and place on the baking sheet. Gently drying with a paper towel if they become too wet. Brush each pretzel ball with egg whites/melted butter then sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes, until browned.
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 1/2 cup good beer
- 1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup Velveeta, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth.
- Stir in beer, horseradish sauce, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Heat for another 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir until smooth.
- Add in Velveeta. Heat another 30 seconds, and stir until cheese is melted and smooth.
Recipe from: My Fiance Likes It So It Must Be Good