Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

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Cook time: 18 mins      Serves: 5-6 dozens

Ingredients

For the Soft Pretzels:

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

3 ounces unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil

3 quarts water

1/3 cup baking soda (for boiling the pretzels)

1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water

Coarse sea salt

For the cheese sauce:

½ Tablespoon unsalted butter

½ Tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup milk

8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated

Directions

For the Pretzels:

Put in a mixer with dough hook the 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, yeast, and butter. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add the salt and flour in the mixer bowl and set on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue it until the dough is smooth and it does not stick on side of the bowl. (about 4-5 minutes). If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

Oil a bowl with oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about anhour.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and carefully add the baking soda.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring around 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into about one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

Remove and place it into a baking rack and let rest for about 5 minutes before eating. Serve with cheese sauce.

For the cheese sauce:

Prepare a saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese until smooth and all of the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

NOTE: You can also make a cinnamon and sugar pretzel bites-instead of adding salt, sprinkle the bites with cinnamon and sugar. For the frosting mix-soft cream cheese-about 3 T, powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a little bit of milk. Whisk together. Add more milk if it is too thick, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar until the consistency is right.

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