Oh pretzel bites, where have you been all my life? I can't believe it's taken a carb-lover like me this long to make these. A while back I had tried a soft pretzel recipe without success, so that put me off of homemade pretzels for a while. I finally decided to try them again, using a different approach. The recipe I used before didn't allow for the dough to rise, which resulted in a dense and chewy texture that I didn't enjoy. This time I tried letting the dough balls rise before boiling them. That worked much better, in my opinion. They were softer and lighter this time- a big improvement.
Here are the soft little balls of dough rising. Little do they know they're going to be dunked it boiling water soon.
There they go, into the pot. Sorry, poor dough balls. This is why I could never cook lobsters; I'm pitying dough balls for goodness sakes.
Next I brush them with egg yolks and water. That helps them brown nicely in the oven.
Now, you can put them in the oven at the point if you like, and then after baking you can brush them with melted butter and add toppings. I opted to add the toppings before baking so no butter was required. If you do it this way you need to watch the balls carefully as they bake to make sure the topping doesn't burn. It should be lightly toasted, not blackened.
I used a mixture of parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and chia seeds for topping.
Now into the hot oven they go. Geez, these dough balls just can't catch a break.
But don't they look yummy? Their tumultuous journey through boiling water and a scorching oven has not been in vain.
We enjoyed these at our game night with my brother and his fiancee while playing Settlers of Catan. My brother has developed a Lego version of this game which is pretty awesome. Check it out at Cuusoo: http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/693. If it gets enough votes it'll be developed by Lego as an actual set!
I made up a quick mustard dip to go with it and I've included that recipe below as well. Have fun experimenting with your own ideas for toppings and dips. These are so versatile and fun.
1 cup warm water
1/2 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup brown sugar
2-3 cups flour
6 cups water
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1 tbsp water
cinnamon and sugar
In a large bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes until yeast becomes bubbly. Add flour slowly while stirring until dough does not stick to the side of the bowl. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary if dough is too sticky.
Take about a tbsp of dough at a time and form into balls by flattening the dough in your palm, then gathering the ends and pinching them together at the base. Place balls on a greased baking sheet and let rise for 45 minutes.
In a large frying pan, dissolve baking soda in 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add dough balls to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from water and place on a greased baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush dough balls with egg mixture. Sprinkle with desired toppings.* Bake at 475F for 8-10 minutes until browned.
*Alternatively, you can bake first, then brush baked pretzel bites with melted butter and add toppings.
Makes approx 28 bites.
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp lemon juice