Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pretzel Bites

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Last summer I tried making soft pretzels for the first time and it was a big success. Everybody loved them. I took them to Bunco one month and they were very well received. My kids love shaping the pretzels and creating twisty pretzels as well. And when I was in need of an appetizer to appeal to a crowd on Superbowl Sunday, I turned to the soft pretzels. But to be honest, I didn't have time for the twisting and pretzel making. At Mel's Kitchen Cafe, I saw a recipe for pretzel bites and instantly printed it out. These were super fast and easy (if you don't count the time you wait while the dough rises) and also delicious!

I'm more of a sweet snacker, but these little heavenly nuggets might have switched me over to the salty side of snacking. At least for an afternoon.

The 'icing on the cake' was the butter you brush on top of them right after coming out of the oven. Warm, light, salty, chewy, buttery...these really were amazing. I had to physically restrain myself from eating them all before going to my neighbor's house for the Superbowl. They were gone within minutes of arriving (for the record...not all by me!).

I used margarita salt on the top of these and it added a great little crunch. I will absolutely be making these again and again!!

Pretzel Bites
recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Note: if using active dry yeast, increase the yeast to 1 tablespoon. Proof the yeast in the warm water and sugar (let it bubble and foam – maybe about 5 minutes) before adding it to the flour and salt.

*Makes about 2 dozen pretzel bites

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water

1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Don’t be afraid of the high heat! This is what will help those pretzels to brown up perfectly and stay soft on the inside. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolved, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.

Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. You don’t have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 7-8 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time – it won’t hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat.

If you want to check out a photo tutorial of the shaping steps for the bites, please check out the post on Mel's Kitchen Cafe here: photo tutorial

I really hope you try these, they are a crowd pleaser and were absolutely delicious. Hope you're having a good week so far. Thanks for stopping by!!


Kelly C said...

these sound divine. We love pretzels, I'll definitely be trying them soon!

patti west said...

hi Mara! I have a confession to make. I am 50 years old, LOVE to be in my kitchen, and have NEVER used yeast. It scares me!!! With your recipe and "you can do it" directions...maybe, just maybe...I will try to make these pretzel bites. Thanks!!! :)

Meg Luby said...

LOVE this! thanks for sharing :)
so fun! will have to make with some kind of fun dip ASAP, hah

IamDerby said...

yum! I want to try these!

@JoyceCasaldi said...

They look fabulous! I tried a new recipe this week. Something totally tradition Pennsylvania Dutch, I made a shoefly cake. It was really interesting. Kind of like coffee cake but with a very dark sugary taste.

mustangkayla said...

Those look so darn yummy ! I'm going to have to try them! :-)

Angie said...

oh those looks amazin'!!

wendipooh13 said...

ohhh YUM!!!! those look soooo fun and tasty!!!

Rebecca Keppel said...

Oh YUM! I love the salty WITH sweet. I wonder if there is a way to add a little sweet to them too? A drizzle of chocolate maybe lol!!

Leah said...

These look SO yummy! I will definetly have to try these.

Ren-Yi said...

thanks for sharing this recipe. they look like little heavenly pillow of goodness.

Michelle H. said...

What an awesome snack and recipe!!These look amazing and so delish!!
I will have to see if I can find a recipe that I can make using premade dough. I don't like to bake anything homemade not pre-mixed except for cranberry bread.
Have a blessed weekend!!

Angie said...

those look yummy. thanks for the nice comment you left. how are you felling? how's the ankle doing? you have a great weekend.

Sue said...

Never heard of pretzel bites-how fun!

Cheryl said...

I made these tonight, and everyone loved them! Thanks for the recipe.