Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Soft Pretzel Bites


Little Guy has an obsession.  Well, he actually has quite a few obsessions, but that's what defines a three year old, right?  One of those obsessions is soft pretzels.  We can not go to Target or the mall without getting either a soft pretzel or pretzel bites.  He loves them!  So, you can imagine my excitement when I came across this recipe to make our own homemade bites.  What is it about them being homemade that I feel they are healthier?  I guess maybe because I see the actual ingredients that are going in.

This recipe has become an instant favorite and we have made them more than once now.  The first batch I ever made was awful, if I must be honest.  The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup baking soda added to the boiling water... 3/4 cup!!!  Holy moly.  I did as it said, and with no surprise they came out tasting like baking soda.  They were thrown into the garbage.

The next time I made them, I only used about 1/4 cup baking soda and let it boil a little while before adding the dough.  They came out PERFECT.  So I have altered the recipe for you, saving you from the nasty baking soda tasting bites.  (In all fairness, it had to have been something I did wrong... because I know Two Peas and Their Pod have some really great recipes.  However, I'll stick to my alteration only because I'm too dingy to figure out how they made theirs without them tasting like baking soda!)


Enjoy!

Little Guy's Soft Pretzel Bites
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod who adapted it from Bobby Flay (How's that for giving credit??)

Soft Pretzels:
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt

For the Pretzels: Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.  (Let boil for a few minutes, otherwise your pretzels will come out tasting like baking soda.)

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.  OR skip the egg wash, bake first and then smother in butter and salt once they come out of the oven (this is what we did the second time and liked them so much more).

Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Serve with cheese sauce, recipe below.

Cheddar cheese sauce:
½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
½ Tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated

For the cheese sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese until smooth and all of the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

*If you want to make cinnamon and sugar pretzel bites-instead of adding salt, sprinkle the bites with cinnamon and sugar. For the frosting mix-soft cream cheese-about 3 T, powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a little bit of milk. Whisk together. Add more milk if it is too thick, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. I don’t measure. I just guess until the consistency is right.*

Recipe makes a lot of bites-perfect for sharing!

7 comments:

  1. These look heavenly Hilary! I've made soft pretzels before but never thought of pretzel bites! This way I could eat WAY MORE without feeling guilty, right?

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  2. Okay, we are kindred spirits who have never met in person, because here's the thing: pretzel bites are one of my all-time favorite snacks. Ever. Like, no joke. I crave them, and haven't had them since I moved from Utah. I got my sister and mom hooked as well. I can't wait to try out this recipe! Like, really, I've just decided what to do this weekend.

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  3. These are beautiful. I wish I could eat them...

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  4. oh yum. those look amazing. my kiddos always beg for pretzel bites at the mall. we'll have to try this recipe!

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  5. Yummy! I recently made some pretzel bites myself at a different website. Here's the link if you wanna check them out.
    http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2011/02/chewy-pretzel-bites.html
    So easy and simple... You don't have to boil anything, just mix and knead and rise and roll out ... lots of fun and they're SO dang good! I'll have to try the cheese sauce out- looks delish.

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  6. thanks so much for your version of the recipe. i love the pretzel bites they sell at the mall. so i was glad to see this post. I just finished making them and they were actually very good! i can't wait to make more to pass out to friends.

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