Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

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Some time last winter I attempted to make my own soft pretzels. I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com and followed it exactly. I don't know what happened but somewhere during the baking soda bath, my pretzels lost their pretzel shapes and turned into what Tom affectionally called "piles of dog poo". Regardless of what they looked like, I decided I would still stick them in the oven to see what happened.

Unfortunately, they just ended up looking like golden brown piles of dog poo. Needless to say I was a bit hesitant to make this recipe. Yeast still scares me a bit because I feel like I never know if it will go along like the recipe calls for or just do its own thing leaving me with strange inventions like piles of dog poo.

But, since this recipe came from Annie's Eats and I've never had a problem with any of her recipes before, I figured it was worth a shot.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Pennies on a Platter
Servings: approximately 40 bites
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Dough Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 tsp. instant rise yeast
    • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1 cup warm milk
    • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 6 tsp. - 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Filling Ingredients:
    • 8 slices of thick cut deli ham, chopped
    • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
    • To turn into pretzels:
    • 6 cups water
    • 4 tsp. baking soda
    • 3 tbs. melted butter
    • salt

Dough Directions:
1. Combine the yeast, brown sugar, water, milk and 2 1/2 cups flour in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until dough forms. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add in flour in teaspoons until the dough is no longer sticky. I ended up using 6 tsp. but it will vary.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
3. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough. Separate into 4 evenly sized pieces. Using more flour if necessary, roll out each piece of dough to a 12x4 rectangle. I can never get dough to the correct measurements so two of my pieces were closer to 5x10. Turn the dough until the long end faces you.
Filling Directions:
1. Make a line of ham and cheese along the edge of the dough closest to you. Roll the dough up tightly into a log.
2. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
3. Slice into 10-12 pieces and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Pretzel Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Fill a large pot with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 4 tsp. of baking powder and lower the heat until gently boiling.
3. Add in the pretzel pieces, about 10 at a time. Leave them in the water for approximately 20 seconds, flipping them over once. Transfer back to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzel bites.
4. When complete, bake the pretzel bites for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Brush with melted butter and season with salt.

These were really, really good. Based off the color in the picture, I could have left them in the oven longer, but we were starving and all of the other appetizers were done. This is a pretty time consuming process, especially with making other appetizers, so next time I might try using crescent rolls instead to speed up the process a bit.


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