Friday, April 26, 2013

soft pretzel bites with dipping sauce trio

I woke up this morning to learn that my dear Russell Westbrook has to undergo knee surgery. This was is very upsetting. I thought to myself: how am I going to bounce back from this? Hours and hours later, I'm still not sure. But to keep my mind off the fact that my favorite NBA player will not be continuing for the remainder of the playoffs, I went straight to the kitchen.

In my attempt to turn my Friday into a happy one, I decided that it was only appropriate to celebrate National Pretzel Day today. I was passing through one of my favorite blogs, and came across a soft pretzel bite recipe I just had to try. So, I did.. And also made a trio of dips to go with them. If you don't already have Two Peas & Their Pod on your Google Reader, Feedly, whatever.. get it on there immediately!

Soft Pretzel Bites
Recipe by Two Peas & Their Pod
Yields: Too many to count, about 5-6 dozen

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
6 Tbsp (3oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (4 1/2 cups was perfect for me)
vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp cold water
coarse sea salt

1. Combine warm water, light brown sugar, yeast, and butter into bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with dough hook, then allow to sit for about 5 minutes until yeast has bloomed.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Pour dry mixture to wet mixture and incorporate on low speed. Increase speed to medium for 3-4 minutes until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. If the dough appears wet, add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time. Remove dough from bowl and place on unfloured surface. Knead the dough into a ball with your hands.
3. Lightly grease a bowl with vegetable/canola oil. Place dough ball into greased bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to proof for about 1 hour in a warm spot. Dough should double in size before using.
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
5. Remove dough from bowl and place onto a flat surface. Divide the dough ball into 8 relatively equal pieces. The best way to do this is to cut it like a pie-- in half, then in quarters, then in eighths. Roll each piece into a long rope and cut into about 1-in pieces. It isn't important to be exact.
6. Boil the 3 quarts of water in a large pot. Once boiling, add baking soda. Please make sure you are using a large enough pot because water will vigorously boil and foam up once baking soda is added.
7. Add cut dough pieces to boiling water solution. Boil for about 30 seconds, and then remove with a large slotted spoon. Place all boiled pretzel bites onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You will have a lot of pretzel bites, so I needed to bake them all in 2 batches. 
8. On another parchment-lined baking sheet, place as many pretzel bites as you can without them touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Repeat this process with the remaining pretzel bites that could not fit on the 1st tray.
9. Allow baked pretzel bites to cool on a baking rack (or directly on the baking sheet is fine).
10. Serve with your favorite dips.

With all these pretzel bites, it's great to have dip choices..

Here's a trio that will hopefully satisfy your sweet, savory, or spicy cravings. Enjoy!

Ginger Honey Mustard Dip

1/4 cup whole grain dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1. Mix all ingredients together and serve! Duh.

Sriracha Ketchup Dip

2 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp siracha

1. Combine ingredients. If you prefer more spice, add more sriracha. But this was a good balance for me.

Nutella and Peanut Butter Dip

Peanut Butter

1. This is the easiest dip of all. Just scoop out some Nutella. Then, drizzle some peanut butter directly on top. I use natural peanut butter (where peanuts are the only ingredient), which tends to be a little more liquid-like, so it works well for this.

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