Best Bites: Pretzels three ways

Welcome to Best Bites, a twice-weekly video series that aims to satisfy your never-ending craving for food content through quick, beautiful videos for the at-home foodie. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new episodes!

Fancy a pretzel that’s more decadent than just the classic, plain, salted version? In this episode of Best Bites, learn how to make a pumpkin pretzel with coffee cream cheese icing, a ham and cheese stuffed honey pretzel and a brie-stuffed soft pretzels with rosemary and sea salt!

Spiced, Brown Butter Pumpkin Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (150ml) warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups (425g) all purpose flour (plus 1/3 cup (45g) more for kneading)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (e.g. vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil)
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg

For dipping:

  • 8 cups hot water
  • 2 cup baking soda

For rolling:

  • 1/4 cup (55g) butter
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar

Coffee Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 cup (50g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • Strong coffee
  • Optional: 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp of the brown sugar. Stir, and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, spice mix and the rest of the brown sugar. Add the yeast mixture, oil, pumpkin and egg to the bowl. Stir together until you get a rough ball of mixture.
  2. Tip the entire contents of the large bowl out onto a work surface. Knead together for about 10 minutes, gradually adding the 1/3 cup of flour, using it to stop the dough sticking to your hands and the work surface, until you get a smooth-ish, slightly sticky dough. Pop the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, turning it to coat, cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour-ish until doubled in size.
  3. Divide the dough into 10-11 equal pieces (roughly weighing 3 oz each) and roll into balls. Dip the bottom of the dough balls lightly into some flour to stop them sticking to the work surface.
  4. Roll each dough ball into a rope about 20″ long.
  5. Shape into a U, cross the ends of the U over each other and fold down to make the pretzel shape.
  6. Combine the hot water and baking soda in a pot. Dip the pretzels into this mixture and place onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Leave to rest while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (210 degrees C). Once preheated, bake the pretzels for 7-10 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees, halfway through baking, until golden brown.
  7. While the pretzels bake, brown the butter: melt the butter, and continue to cook over a medium heat until it foams up and brown solids appear at the bottom of the pan. Take it off the heat.
  8. Brush the pretzels all over with browned butter, then coat with the mixture of sugar and spices.
  9. Combine the powdered sugar and cream cheese in a small bowl. Add some coffee, little by little until you get a drizzle-able icing, and drizzle over the spice-sugar coated pretzels. Top with chopped pecans, if you want them.

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Honey Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast (1 packet)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 10 ounces black forest ham, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Mustard, for serving.

For the boil:

  • 3 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup baking soda

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until bubbly. Mix in salt, honey, flour and melted butter to form a dough. Transfer to work surface and knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth. Spray the bowl with nonstick spray and put dough back in bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat oven to 450F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Punch down dough and divide into roughly 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-inch rope. Press each rope down with your fingers to flatten it.
  3. Line each rope with cheese and ham; “roll up” to cocoon the fillings int the center of the dough.Form each rope into the shape of a pretzel.
  4. In a medium pot on the stovetop over high heat, bring water and baking soda to a boil. (NOTE: Watch this — it boils over easily!) Drop each pretzel into the boiling water for about 45 seconds. Place on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Bake until dark golden brown, about 12 minutes. Serve with your favorite mustard.

Brie-stuffed Soft Pretzels With Rosemary & Sea Salt*
(same dough recipe as the Ham & Swiss Stuffed Honey Pretzels)

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast (1 packet)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 220g brie cheese, sliced
  • 8 cups water
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • Olive oil or beaten egg for brushing
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh rosemary, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until bubbly. Mix in salt, honey, flour and melted butter to form a dough. Transfer to work surface and knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth. Spray the bowl with nonstick spray and put dough back in bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 18-inch rope, then flatten rope so it’s more of a long rectangle. Place brie cheese in the center, then roll dough back into a rope shape, pinching the edges to ensure all the cheese is completely encased in the dough. Shape into pretzels.
  3. When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 425°. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  4. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a pot.
  5. Using a flat spatula, drop the pretzels into the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds. Depending on the size of your pot you may need to boil one at a time. Remove pretzels from the water, drain and place on the baking sheets. Brush the top of each pretzel with olive oil or beaten egg, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh rosemary. Bake until golden and puffed, 12-14 minutes. If the pretzels were frozen, bake for an extra 1 to 2 minutes. Serve warm.

Baking essentials to stock up on!

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