So when I came across the Pretzel Bites recipe from Alice and the Mock Turtle, I couldn't wait to give them a try myself! My parents were coming into town that weekend, and knowing that they love to cook as well, I held off to make them until they got here so we could all try it together.
2 1/2 tsp active yeast
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp brown sugar, divided
1/4 c warm water
1 c warm milk
3 c flour
6 c water
4 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp butter, melted
Start by combining the yeast, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and warm water in your mixing bowl. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Next, warm some milk and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar until it has fully dissolved.
Add the first 2 cups flour and the milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Mix until blended well. Then, add the last cup of flour and mix dough in mixer with dough hook until soft dough forms. Place the dough ball in a well, oiled large bowl, roll it around to coat the dough, and cover with a towel and place in a warm, dry area to rise.
Impatiently wait for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.
While you're waiting for the dough to rise, you can get your filling ingredients ready. Although Alice uses cheese and Canadian bacon, that's just what she did - what you do it completely up to you! We happened to have a Boar's Head pepperoni stick in the fridge, so we decided to use that. It's pretty small in diameter, but these pretzel bites are pretty small too, so I cut them in quarters.
Once the dough is ready, punch it, knead it a little bit more, then divide it in four pieces. We'll be working in batches at this point, which actually makes the experimenting even more fun!
Roll out one of the quarters of dough out into a square. Then divide that into 8 smaller squares. I used a pizza cutter for this, it made it super simple. Then place your filling on the dough squares.
Then wrap the edges of the dough up and press them together so you get a little ball. Turn them edge-side-down on a greased cookie sheet as you work through the dough.
Here's where the creativity allowed by working in batches gets fun! I rolled my next quarter out, and...
Crunchy Peanut Butter!! This suggestion came from my dad, who absolutely loves crunchy peanut butter. (Gee, I wonder where I get that from!) Side note: this would be such a fun recipe to do with kids because really they can choose from a million different options!
We finished out the third quarter with 4 peanut butters, 4 pepperoni's, and laid them all on the cookie sheet.
For the last quarter of dough, we decided to do old fashioned pretzel knots.
Anyone else think that looks unusually like Australia? No? Just me? Moving on...
Once all your pretzels are ready, begin to preheat your oven to 400F. Then start a large pot of boiling water on the stove (6 cups), and add 4 tsp baking soda.
When your water is at a rolling boil, work in batches to put the pretzels in.
Allow the pretzels to cook for about 20 seconds each, making sure to turn once while cooking.
Put them back on the cookie sheet when they are done, and work your way through the whole batch.
Before sticking them all in the oven, we decided to sprinkle a little garlic salt on the plain pretzel knots for a little flavor.
Then put in oven and impatiently wait some more.
After 10-15 minutes, they should have turned a wonderful golden brown.
Then brush them all with melted butter, and serve!
Here's what the pepperoni bites looked like when we bit into them:
...and the PB bites.
And the verdict? We all agreed that of the two filled pretzel bites, the peanut butter was better. It actually became this really nice firm, almost chewy center filling, which complimented the dough well. The pepperoni was good, but I think because it was so dry, it didn't add much other than a saltiness. Maybe had we added cheese it would've been better.
But overall, we actually agreed the plain pretzel knots were the best! They just tasted like a true pretzel, and we couldn't get enough of them!
Either way, this is a fun recipe to do with a group since you can do so many different things with them!