Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday's Food: Pretzel Bites

My daughter's birthday was this past weekend, and most of the food and decorations came from Pinterest By the way,  if you have not been to it yet, GO! It saved me a bunch of stress and money while planning my daughter's party. Anyway, the number 1 compliment I got about the food was from the pretzel bites I made. I kind of combined recipes to make them and then added a little something something at the end, and let me tell you, they ARE yummy!

So the two websites I got the recipe from were Get Off Your Butt and Bake and Alton Brown on Food Network. Mostly I got the idea from the Get Off Your Butt website, but I found that she took the easy way out. Her recipe called for taking a biscuit roll and cutting it up to make a pretzel. I wanted to make mine from scratch, so I found the "from scratch" recipe from Alton Brown. His recipe called for actual pretzels, so instead of making the traditional "knot", I just cut mine up into little squares. So you can look up these recipes, or you can refer to mine below. Take a gander and try these super duper easy snacks that will be eaten faster than you can make the next batch!

Ingredients: (This is almost word for word from Mr. Brown. I only made a few slight changes to make it work for me)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet) 
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp of butter, plus 1 Tbsp melted
  • Butter flavored cooking spray
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • Pretzel salt or kosher salt 
1. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit until the mixture begins to foam (about 10 minutes). Add the flour and the 4 T butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 5 minutes. (NOTE: the first time I did this, it worked just like the recipe, but the second time, for some reason the dough was really, really dry. So I added 1 1/2 Tbsp of water to the mix, and then it turned out fine. Just go with your best judgement). Remove dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then spray the bowl with the butter flavored cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. (I put mine the microwave as recommended in another bread recipe I found a few months ago). 

Preheat the over to 450 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with the butter flavored cooking spray. Set aside. 

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8 quart saucepan. (This makes a really cool, bubbly mixture!!

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope (THIS IS WHERE I MAKE THE BITES INSTEAD OF THE TRADITIONAL KNOT). Using a pizza cutter, cut the rope into 1 inch cubes. Place onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. 

Place the pretzels bites into the boiling water, no more than 6 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from water using a large slotted spoon. Return to the cookie sheet, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel or kosher salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, about 14 minutes. After bringing from the oven, brush the pretzels with the melted butter (one of the things I do with almost every bread I make). Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

Again, this was SERIOUSLY popular at my daughter's party. The only thing I regret is not making some cool dipping sauces to go with them. If you choose to make this, you can also sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, chili powder, or garlic salt to change the taste to your preference. Enjoy! 

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