Monday, January 6, 2014
Like last weekend, for example, on Saturday I started prepping to make these pretzel bites and I didn't have eggs. So off to the grocery store I went. Who doesn't have eggs? UH.
I started preparing these pretzel bites with Juliet but she lost interest relatively soon (perhaps because there were no chocolate chips for her to nibble on while I mixed ingredients?). So I waited until her nap time to finish which was a good thing because these were a bit time consuming. They weren't exactly difficult to make, but just take a few steps and a bit of patience. Anytime you have yeast in the ingredient list you should be prepared for some waiting time.
The results are so, so worth it.
These pretzels have made their way into my top favorite snacks. They are really delicious with a slightly crispy crust with a soft center. And they are perfect little bites for any dipping sauce you prefer. Keep it simple with mustard or whip up this buffalo blue cheese dipping sauce. I have a seriously thing for buffalo sauce. So my dip of choice had to include buffalo sauce in some way. But these pretzel bites are great plain as well.
Or try them with nacho cheese sauce. Yeah, that would be really good, too.
I also made some with cinnamon and sugar for Juliet (melt butter, dip them in butter and then in a sugar/cinnamon mixture). Juliet loves these and devoured them (well, she actually licked all the sugar off first and then finished the pretzel).
I will be making them again and again.
I received a new macro lens for Christmas from my mother-in-law. I've wanted one forever to get more up-close-and-personal food shots. I'm learning how to use this new lens but it will take some time to get it down. I am also in the market for a tripod, which I hope will help with getting clearer images. Because when I'm standing on top of my kitchen table and there is a toddler running around and my husband is rolling his eyes at me....well, those circumstances don't produce the clearest shots no matter how still I try to be as I click the shutter.
Back to the pretzels...I am already dreaming of all the upcoming events I can whip these pretzel bites up for to serve. Because I know without a doubt they will be a hit.
Pretzel bites with buffalo blue cheese dipping sauce (recipe adapted via Annie's Eats)
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (to grease the bowl)
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Blue cheese dipping sauce
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing (ranch works too)
1-2 tablespoons buffalo sauce (I use Franks Red Hot Buffalo)
1 tablespoon blue cheese crumbles (optional)
Combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir well and let stand for about 5 minutes until the yeast dissolves. Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together (with the paddle attachment). Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bring the water the baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate it. Divide it up into approximately 6 equal portions. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a long rope 1-inch in diameter. Use a pizza cutter to cut the row into small segments, about 1-inch each. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Place the pretzel bites into the boiling water in batches (so they aren't overcrowded). Boil each batch for about 30 seconds, stirring once or twice to submerge all surfaces in the water. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and spread out on the prepared baking sheets. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 10 minutes.
For the dipping sauce: add the dressing and buffalo sauce together and mix well. Top with blue cheese crumbles.
As Juliet would say "dip dip dip" and enjoy!