Friday, February 26, 2010

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

Wow, these little guys are definitely a delicious appetizer, but they were also a big learning experience!!! Many lessons were learned while making these (twice). The biggest one was that wax paper is NOT the same as parchment paper!! My first batch tasted good, but they were a sticky, ugly mess.

On a positive note, I found out that making dough is very easy, and I will be doing that again, especially when making my own pizza or soft pretzels.

I'll be reheating these at "Girl's Night In" tomorrow at Allison's house. I can't wait!!

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
Annie's Eats


For the dough:
1½ tsp. instant yeast
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2½-3 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
½ cup small diced ham
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

To finish:
6 cups water
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt (or pretzel salt), for topping

To make the dough, combine the yeast, brown sugar, water, milk, and 2½ cups of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until a dough has formed. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until a soft, elastic dough forms. Add the remaining flour a 1-2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is tacky but not sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles on the surface, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Stretch or roll one piece of the dough into a 12 x 4-inch rectangle. Sprinkle some of the diced ham and the shredded cheese over one third of the dough closest to an edge, lengthwise. Roll up tightly, filling edge first, so that the filling is tightly sealed inside. Slice the log into 12 pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough, and the remaining filling.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the baking soda and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 2o seconds and turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer them back to the baking sheet.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Brush the warm pretzel bites with the melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.

I am really glad I didn't let this complicated recipe intimidate me, nor did I give up when it didn't work out the first time!


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