I found this recipe on pinterest and made it for my family a couple of months ago. It was such a success, that my 5-almost 6-year old asked to have them at her “birthday tea.”
They are yummy, but there is one step in the process of making them is truly a pain to do. Since I never have pretended to be a gourmet cook, I will tell you below how I have modified that step. I think mine tasted great without the painstaking time-consuming step that was shown in the original recipe. So here is how you make . . .
Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
In a small bowl, combine:
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)
Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
In a large bowl, combine:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- Warm milk mixture
- 1 package (1/4 oz.) instant dry yeast
Stir until a soft dough forms. Add more flour as needed (up to 1/2 cup). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball. (I just kneaded in my Kitchenaid stand mixer for 1-2 minutes.)
Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Alow it to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface. (I only had it rise for 1 hour–I am an impatient cook! But it had risen, so we were okay!)
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust a rolling-pin with flour and roll each piece of dough into roughly a 12×4-inch rectangle.
With the long sides facing you, place the following ingredients onto the bottom third of each piece of dough:
- A quarter of 1/2 cup finely chopped ham
- A quarter of 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded. (The first time I did this recipe, I thought it meant 2 cups, and 1/2 cup on each piece of dough. It was good, but hard to get that much cheese and meat from falling out when you cut it. However, 2 Tablespoons of each doesn’t seem enough either. The second time, I just cut some ham and sprinkled the cheese and meat along the edge. I still probably used 1 to 1 1/2 cups of each. The second time I also used cheddar cheese.)
Roll the dough as tightly as you, starting with the long edge holding the ham and cheese.
Cut each roll into 12 equal pieces. (If you want to see more pictures of these steps, the link on the bottom shows the blog that I took this recipe from. I don’t know what I did with my camera during these steps!)
Transfer the pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 4 teaspoons of baking soda to the boiling water and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 20 seconds each and turning once. This is the part I totally changed. My meat would have fallen out, and it seemed way too tedious. So I just took my turkey baster, and squirted some of the boiling water over the dough. After it sat there for about 30 seconds, I moved the pretzel bites with a metal spatula to another pan to bake. The second time I made them, I did what a couple of the people in the reviews said they had done: I cut the 12″ rolls into 6″ pieces, pinched the ends together, and plopped the whole 6″ link into the boiling water. Then after I took the links out of the water with a big spoon I have that has tiny holes (I don’t know what is called :)), and cut the link into bite-size sections. This worked too, but I actually preferred the first way I did it.
Bake in the preheated oven until they are puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.
Brush with 4 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of coarse kosher salt.