2/4/11

Chewy Pretzel Bites

Since it's Super Bowl Sunday this weekend every food blog out there is talking about snacks and finger foods. I'm not much of a football person, so I don't get into the whole Superbowl Sunday excitement.
The other day I was looking at some recipes at Mel's Kitchen Cafe and saw the most beautiful thing!!

First....does anyone else love the pretzels that you buy at the mall? Well I do. They're so buttery and chewy and delicious. I am always so tempted when I walk through the mall and I pass the pretzel place. Every now in then I'll buy myself one, I think I deserve it. :) I tried making the pretzels at home a few times, but they never turn out the same.

Back to the story, like I said I was looking around Mel's Kitchen Cafe and I saw a post for Chewy Pretzel Bites. The first thing I saw was the picture of these delicous little bites, but that is all it took. It seriously was like Love at first sight! hahaha
I read on to see how to make these, and to my surprise they didn't take very much work. So I printed the recipe out and planned to make them.

Last night for dinner I made Stuffed Peppers (new recipe), which by the way wasn't very good, but I decided to make these Pretzel Bites also. Halway through dinner the first batch was done. I didn't waste any time trying one.

 Let me just tell you, they were DELICIOUS!!!
Everyone in my family loved them.
We had nacho cheese and Cinnamon Honey butter to dip the bites in. Mmmm....they were good.
I'm tempted to host a Super Bowl party just so I can make a huge batch of these and have an excuse to stuff my face. haha OK not really, but they seriously were that good.

So if you are having a Super Bowl party or are going to one, impress everyone with a batch of these. I promise you won't be sorry. And just a little FYI, they taste the best Hot, right out of the oven.




Chew Pretzel Bites

*Note: if using active dry yeast, increase the yeast to 1 tablespoon. Proof the yeast in the warm water and sugar (let it bubble and foam - maybe about 5 minutes) before adding it to the flour and salt.

*Makes about 2 dozen pretzel bites

Dough:
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water

Topping:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn't overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Don’t be afraid of the high heat! This is what will help those pretzels to brown up perfectly and stay soft on the inside. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.

Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. You don’t have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 7-8 minutes or until they're golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time - it won't hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that's what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat.

Enjoy!!

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