I’m re-working some of my old recipes, and this recipe for Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites is one of my kids’ favorite recipes that I shared about five years ago.
I first made this for one of my daughters to have a “birthday tea” with a friend who was going to go back to Cambodia.
They are yummy, but there is one step in the original recipe that is truly a pain to do. Since I never have pretended to be a gourmet cook, I will share how I make the recipe, but the link to the original recipe is below. I think mine tasted great without the painstaking time-consuming step that was shown in the original recipe.
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. Allow 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.)
Transfer the pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Let them rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. (I don’t always do this step if I am in a hurry.)
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.
Use a turkey baster, and squirt boiling water over the pieces. Move the pretzel bites with a metal spatula to another pan to bake.
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.
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