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Monday
Feb272012

Ham & cheese pretzel bites

I had been stalking this particular recipe on Pinterest for quite some time (source: penniesonaplatter.com). We had some people over a while back, so it was the perfect opportunity to finally make them! I had never made soft pretzels before, but I do have deliciously wonderful memories of them. Back in my poor, single years (as opposed to my current poor, married years), I was a waitron at Timberwolves games. Isn't that a funny word? Waitron? Anyway, before the madness began each night, we had the option to eat either a free hot dog or a free soft pretzel. I usually opted for the pretzel, along with a container of warm, gooey cheese for dipping. I never got tired of those pretzels. 

I don't think I have bitten into a soft pretzel since my waitron days, which seems like a lifetime ago. So when I bit into these delicious little bites, my tastebuds did cartwheels! Reunited with the beloved soft pretzel!

In a small bowl, combine:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)

Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine:

2 1/2 cups flour

Warm milk mixture

1 package (1/4 oz.) instant dry yeast

Stir until a soft dough forms. Add more flour as needed (up to 1/2 cup). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.

Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Alow it to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour and roll each piece of dough into roughly a 12x4-inch rectangle. As you can see, my rectangles are not quite rectangles.

With the long sides facing you, place the following ingredients onto the bottom third of each piece of dough:

A quarter of 1/2 cup finely chopped ham

A quarter of 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Roll the dough as tightly as you, starting with the long edge holding the ham and cheese. 

Cut each roll into 12 equal pieces.

Transfer the pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 4 teaspoons of baking soda to the boiling water and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 20 seconds each and turning once. I'll be honest, this process was a little bit stressful (hence, no photos), and I had a handful of casualties.

They should look slightly puffed when they are done. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until they are puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.

Brush with 4 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of coarse kosher salt. 

Serve warm! Enjoy!

 

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

Never worry about letting guests down again. These are the PERFECT appetizer for parties! (original source: penniesonaplatter.com)

Serves: 48 bites

Total time: 2 hrs 45 min

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites


Ingredients:
 

  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • 1 package (1/4 oz) instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped ham
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
Instructions:
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved. In a large bowl, combine 2 ½ cups flour, the milk mixture and the yeast. Stir until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.
  2. Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust hands and rolling pin with flour. Roll one of the four sections into a 12x4-inch rectangle. With the long side facing you, gently press ¼ of the ham and cheese into the bottom third of the dough, and roll as tightly as possible, starting with the end that has the filling. Cut into 12 1-inch pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of dough.
  4. Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Boil pretzels in batches, cooking about 20 seconds each, turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheets. Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes. Brush warm pretzel bites with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm.



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Reader Comments (97)

These bites looks so delicious and yummy! Perfect appetizer for a party because the recipe makes so many. Thanks for sharing.

Those look so good!!! I am definitely going to try them!
Thanks for sharing,
Charlie, 13 year old food blogger
www.charliebakes.blogspot.com

02.27.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Fron

I made these last night and they were so fun, and yummy!!! This dough was wonderful and the pretzel bites were a super hit at my house!

02.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaily Deal

what a great idea!

02.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelsey

Would there be any value in cutting them up after boiling? It seems like it would be easier to boil, let's say, eight longer sections than 48 short ones. What do you think?

02.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I love the idea, Matt! Boiling them individually was time-consuming. If you try boiling in smaller batches, please let me know how it goes! Thanks for the suggestion.
Megan

02.28.2012 | Registered CommenterMegan Porta

wow. these look like the ultimate party appetizer. they look sooooo good. love all the photos!

Great googly moogly! These are totally cartwheelable! I'm gonna bookmark this for when we have our housewarming party. So good.

Heh. Waitron.

03.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterParsley Sage

I made these last night, with some minor alterations. First, when making the dough I mixed the milk and sugar, then bloomed the yeast for about 10 minutes before adding the flour. I used Boars Head Honey Maple Coat Ham, which is delicious, but I used Boars Head Swiss cheese instead of mozzarella. I squirted a line of honey mustard down the meat and cheese of each log as well.

Before rolling them up, I folded the ends in like rolling a burrito. Then I rolled up my four pieces. I cut each log in HALF and pinched the open end shut before boiling. Once they cooled for a minute after boiling, I cut off the closed ends and sliced them up. This meant my boiling time was about 6 total minutes, and I didn't lose any filling at all. I threw the lumpy end bits in a ziploc and shoved it in the freezer. I figure one day I may want a snack and I can just bake them up then.

Mine turned out beautifully, and since boiling BEFORE slicing worked so well for me, I'll probably put in more filling next time and try a variety of options. I will say that this pretzel recipe was easier and better than the one I've been using!

03.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCass

These look like little bites of heaven. I would have to eat the whole plate. I am going to have to pin these. Thanks for sharing.

03.6.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Hey, Cass! Thanks for your post. I was totally with this recipe until I read the boiling part, then it felt a bit shaky. Your modifications tie up all the loose ends I was feeling. Now it's one I'll keep and use.

03.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren_O

Having worked at a pretzel place as a teen, I can tell you the only purpose of the baking soda solution is color. We always dipped the tops of the pretzels in a similar solution before sending them through the oven.

We have these pretzel bites for dinner (with cheddar instead of mozzarella) almost weekly now!! But I totally skip the boiling baking soda solution entirely. It doesn't make a difference really in terms of anything but color.

Can these be made ahead and then frozen prior to baking?

04.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLL

I absolutely love this recipe. I did change a few things also: I mixed my yeast with the milk/sugar mixture and let it sit 10 minutes before adding flour. (I tried it your way first, but my dough didn't rise the way I wanted it to, so I tried it again my way!) I also skipped the boiling part altogether. I used canned ham flakes with a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Very delicious! Thank you for sharing!

04.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLucie

I am making these tonight, will post the pictures on my blog tomorrow ;)

04.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa

I'm making these as I type and I'm just curious if anyone has recommendations as to the best way to store/reheat these so my husband can take some for lunch tomorrow?

05.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley O

Hi Ashley, I would think reheating them in the oven would be ideal. As far as storage, wrap them tightly in foil and keep in the fridge.
Megan

05.31.2012 | Registered CommenterMegan Porta

Thank you for the recipe! A picture really is worth a thousand words. :) I made these for the kids today. They LOVED them! I used a wok type pan to boil them in. I was able to boil the long roll all at once. I just pinched the ends like someone mentioned in a prior post. They turned out really good. Thanks again!

07.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

Haven't heard the word "waitron" forever... that never caught on so well! And, hey, Timberwolves? You must be a MN girl.

These look delicious. I would want to skip the boiling step... but that probably makes them chewy and delicious. I'm pretty sure mine would fall apart in the water.... but... I am willing to try this... once my house isn't close to 80 degrees inside!

07.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally

I'm making these tonight for my family and was wondering if anyone had a good recommendation for a good side dish to go with these yummy bites :)

07.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCandice Z.

This is so funny..I saw that recipe on pinterest too...and I wanted the recipe, so I google "ham and cheese pretzel bites"
and here I am!
Can't wait to try this recipe out!

08.21.2012 | Unregistered Commenternichole suzette

I'm going to try making these tonight but only baking them part way. I will finish baking them tomorrow night before my company arrives. I'll let you all know how it goes!!! Thanks to all who shared their interpretations along the way!

09.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice Groff

Candice Z.-- we always have them with green smoothies.

I did make these on 9/18/12 and they were a huge hit. I slathered them with a combination of mayo, Dijon mustard and thyme - then the ham and cheese. I boiled them and only baked them half way initially. Just before my company arrived I finished baking. They were FANTASTIC. Everyone asked for the recipe!!! Thanks!

09.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice groff

I made these for myself and my husband as a trial. I wanted to make them for my small group but wanted to test them first, they were amazing, I literally could not stop eating them! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe! I had a question about pre-making them. Can I make them the day before and refrigerate them before boiling or baking them? At what point should I stop the cooking process and refrigerate? I was thinking before boiling, but am not sure if that would effect the dough. Please let me know if you've tried this, thanks : )

10.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoany

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