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 these cute little bites! 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, ha), I was a waitron at Timberwolves games. Isn't that a funny word? Waitron? Anyhow, 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 things. 

I don't think I have bitten into a soft pretzel since my waitron days, which seems like a different lifetime. So when I bit into these, 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 again about letting guests down. These are the PERFECT appetizer for parties! Source: penniesonaplatter.com

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Feb 27, 2012

Serves: 48 bites

Total time: 2 hrs, 45 min

Ham

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. 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.