You guys! I have fantastic news! I got a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas! I actually cried tears of joy I was so happy to see it. It’s a gorgeous purple-ish, plum color and it looks so perfect on my kitchen counter. Obsessed is an understatement.
It took me less than a day to start brainstorming all the recipes I could make with it. It had to be the best recipe to break it in and get all the mixing, kneading and whipping started. With NYE approaching, I knew I wanted to make an appetizer for all my friends coming over before we went out.
I love salt. We’re besties. We share every meal together. It’s a healthy relationship, it’s fine.
Soft pretzels are the perfect vehicle to house all the salt. The dough is so soft and the salt sticks to it perfectly and makes the pretzels look even more gorgeous when they bake up and turn golden brown.
Please don’t be intimated by making your own soft pretzels. It sounds really difficult, but it hardly takes any time or effort. Warm water, a little sugar, active yeast, flour, butter, baking soda and a dough hook (thanks Kitchen Aid!) and your well on your way.
There’s only one hour of rise time in this recipe. And during that hour I made the beer cheese!
The very first time I made a roux was when I was about 15 and I made homemade mac n’ cheese. The recipe came from my very first cook book I ever received and it just so happened to be a birthday present from Chelsea. I beat that book to the bone with the amount I used it. My first from scratch mac n’ cheese, chocolate chip scones and banana bread all came from that baby! I think it was called Teens Cook!
Back to the beer cheese….It’s thick and cheesy and has the perfecta mount of bite to it from the sharp cheddar. It reminds me of the beer cheese I’ve got at the Haufbrahaus accross the street from my apartment.
- For the pretzel bites:
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 pack)
- 1½ cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4½ cups flour
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 7 cups water
- 10 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 egg
- coarse sea salt
- For the beer cheese dip:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ cup milk, divided
- ½ cup beer (any type of lager)
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- For the pretzels, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for approximately 5 minutes or until it starts to foam
- Add the hook attachment to the mixer. Add the flour and butter to the bowl and mix on low until combined. Increase to medium and knead until dough pulls away from the side of bowl, about 4 minutes.
- Remove dough from bowl and spray bowl with cooking spray. Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 1 hour until doubles in size. I like to preheat oven to 170 degrees, place dough inside, turn the oven off and let is rest there.
- While the dough is resting make the beer cheese. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour.
- Take mixture off heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons milk until smooth. Whisk in rest of milk and whisk until smooth.
- Add beer, dijon, garlic, salt and cayenne. Return pan to medium heat and stir until thick and bubbling, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add grated cheese one cup at a time, whisking after each addition. Return to medium heat to melt cheese if needed.
- When the dough has doubled, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Bring water and baking soda to a rolling boil. While it heats, turn dough out onto smooth surface and divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece evenly into a 20-22 inch rope. Cut dough in one inch pieces.
- When water is boiling, drop dough into baking soda bath about 15 pieces at a time for 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and place on prepared baking sheets. Repeat until all pretzel bites are complete. Dough will rise and become slightly cooked.
- Whisk egg with 1 tablespoon water. Spread dough bites 1 inch apart and spread egg wash on top. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve immediately!