Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pretzel Bites & Week's Menu Plan

When I married my husband, I also became an aunt for the first time.  Of course, my new name Aunt Anne immediately reminded me of the pretzel company Auntie Anne's.  So as a joke, I mentioned it was my new goal to make pretzel to be worthy of my new name and then promptly forgot all about it.

Later, when I came across this recipe for pretzel bites, I was intrigued.  While I haven't made these pretzels for my nieces or nephews yet, they're delicious.  And whenever we decide to have an appetizer dinner, these usually make it onto the menu.  They're delicious and pretty addictive.  This last time, I forgot to halve the recipe like I usually do so we ended up with a lot more pretzel bites!  The leftovers (that didn't last more than a week) were best heated up for a few minutes in the oven (I think we used a 350 degree oven).

There's an option to make a cinnamon-sugar version but I made all of them regular.  We served them with marinara sauce but they were also tasty on their own as well as with a (large) dab of Nutella.  Two Peas and Their Pod also gives instructions on how to make a cheese sauce for them.  Really, the possibilities are endless!

Also, here's this week's menu plan:

Pretzel Bites
Taken from: Two Peas and Their Pod
Makes 150+ pretzel bites (I normally halve this recipe and it still makes a lot!)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast 
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (I did about 2 1/2 cups of all purpose and 2 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water (for brushing; I omitted)
  • coarse sea salt*
  1. Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
  3. Spray a bowl with cooking spray, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. 
  7. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash (instead, I sprayed with cooking spray) and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.
*If you want to make cinnamon and sugar pretzel bites-instead of adding salt, sprinkle the bites with cinnamon and sugar. For the frosting mix-soft cream cheese-about 3 T, powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a little bit of milk. Whisk together. Add more milk if it is too thick, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.


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