I'm still drooling over the memory of last weekend's football and soft pretzel feast. To know me is to know I love cheese. Like, a meal without cheese- what is that?! That's not a meal. I would happily dip cheese into more cheese like the teenaged taste buds I seem to have.
These soft pretzels are way, way, way easier to make than you think. And pretty quick, too. They are buttery and soft and full of flavor. The jalapeño beer cheese dip is the perfect compliment- it's tangy and cheesy and spicy. These pretzels are fantastic on their own but are killer when dunked in melty, gooey cheese dip.
2 1/2 cups [335 grams] all-purpose flour
1/2 stick [56 grams] butter, room temperature
3/4 cup [187 grams] warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
On the sidelines:
Jalapeño Beer Cheese Dip, recipe as follows
Baking soda bath
Everything seasoning, store bought
In the bowl of a food processor, mix together all the ingredients from the first bowl. Pulse together for just a few seconds at a time until the dough is cohesive.
Lightly oil a large bowl and scrape the dough into a ball and place into the bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour. If making ahead, you can park the bowl in the fridge overnight.
In a medium-sized baking dish, mix together 3 cups of warm water and 6 tablespoons of baking soda. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Lightly flour a work surface. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into a long, thin rope. The longer and thinner the rope, the larger the pretzel. The smaller and fatter the rope, the smaller and chubbier the pretzel. Shape into anything you like! Rods, twists, a Zelda icon like my 8 year-old did, etc. Repeat until the dough is all gone.
Once you have shaped the pretzels, place them all in the baking soda and water bath. Spoon the water onto the tops. Let sit for two to three minutes.
Line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Remove the pretzels from the baking soda bath and place on prepared pans. Sprinkle with everything seasoning or pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and puffy about 8 minutes or so. To really up the ante, brush with melted butter when pulled from the oven. Let cool.
Jalapeño Beer Cheese Dip
In a saucepan:
2 tablespoons butter
1 jalapeno, small diced
2 tablespoons flour
On the sidelines:
Half a bottle of beer, about 6 ounces (I used a lager but feel free to get creative!)
Block of sharp cheddar cheese, grated, about 8 ounces
In a medium pot, melt the butter and cook the jalapeño for a few minutes.
Add the flour and stir to form a paste. Cook for about two minutes.
Add the beer and stir to combine everything well.
Add the cheese and stir until melted and thick. Cook until desired thickness, for me, about five minutes.