My niece and I try to get together every few months to have an “auntie & me” overnight which includes crafting, movies, baking, and getting pizza from the local pizzeria.
Our favorite pizzeria has a variety of bread bites including pretzel, cinnamon sugar, and garlic that we often splurge on. Recently while looking at recipes online, I was happy to discover that Bobby Flay had a recipe for soft pretzels that closely matched our favorite treat.
I was able to change up the recipe a bit and come up with a version that reminds us of the ones from our favorite pizzeria. The best part is that instead of buying them, we can make them together in the kitchen and create different versions to satisfy our culinary curiosity.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese sauce (recipe adapted from Bobby Flay)
1 1/2 cups warm water (not too hot as you want to activate and not kill the yeast)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted (don’t substitute with margarine)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable or canola oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt
½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
½ Tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
(to make 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. * if you don’t have a stand mixer with dough hook, you can mix together using a bowl and wooden spoon.
- 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. * if you don’t have a mixer with dough hook, you can combine the flour by hand kneading and folding the dough as you add it.
- 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*F.
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat and add the 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 of about 8-10 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.
- Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Serve with cheese sauce.
(to make 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 3 tablespoons softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a little bit of milk (start with 1 tablespoon). Whisk together. Add more milk if it is too thick, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- If you want to make garlic pretzel bites – instead of adding salt and egg wash, brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder or rub with garlic cloves before baking.
All ingredients can easily be found at your local grocery store or market:
- Island Foods