Friday, December 2, 2011

Fancy Pants App: Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Dip

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Have any of you ever been to the Rockbottom Brewery?  It's a chain that has a bunch of restaurants, one of which is located downtown.  While they are not the type of place John and I like to go for dinner (we prefer the more local places), I do love stopping here for appetizers and drinks.  Well, drinks plural but really only one appetizer.  Their huge ballpark pretzels and spicy cheese sauce.  YUM.  When I saw these pretzels at Cozy Kitchen's blog, I couldn't help but bookmark them (despite the fact she is obviously anti-fantasy football).  I thought it would be fun to make pretzel bites for easy dipping.

And then I had to decide on a dip.  One slow day at work, I was reminiscing about my love of the spicy cheese sauce at Rockbottom Brewery.  So I decided to search for it online, just in case someone else was as obsessed as I am.  And I found it!!!!  It's a great copycat recipe which I decided to play around with because, let's be honest, with little pretzel bites, who wants to have spinach and tomatoes interfering with their cheese? 

Not me!  We liked these so much the first time we made them that I made them again when I was in charge of Thanksgiving appetizers.  Because Dad works in retail, he usually has to work at least a few hours on Thanksgiving day.  Knowing that, we eat Thanksgiving dinner/lunch in the afternoon and then eat an appetizer/tapas "snack" around 7 when he gets home from work.  These were perfect because really, it doesn't take a lot of ingredients, just the hour of rising time. 

Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheese Dip (adapted from here and here)
Serves:  4-6 (about 4 dozen pretzel bites)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for bowl
5 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3/4 cup fat-free half and half
3/4 cup milk
4 cups grated jack cheese

Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast.  Let sit 5-10 minutes until the mixture begins to foam.  Add flour and melted butter and knead by hand for 8-12 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.  Oil a large bowl and add the dough to the bowl, turning until all sides are well-oiled.  Top with plastic wrap and leave to let rise about an hour (until doubled).  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Roll the pretzel dough into 2 ropes.  Cut into small two-inch cylinders.  Set aside.  Meanwhile, heat water and baking soda to a rolling boil.  Then, drop the pretzel dough in for about 30 seconds per side.  Place onto greased cookie sheets.  Brush with egg yolk, and top with salt.  Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, until browned.  Let cool so they can be handled easily.

For the sauce, bring half and half and milk to a boil.  Slowly add cheese until it is fully melted and smooth.  Pour into a small ramekin for dipping.

YUM!
Until the next time my oven is on...

2 comments:

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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