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    • poo ping palace

      soft pretzels w/ warm jalapeno cheese dip, oh man that sounds so good right now. Well the Superbowl didn't have the outcome that I was hoping for, my team had too many turnovers, I wasn't a fan of the halftime show and the commercials weren't anything exciting, but the food was good at least.  For me these soft pretzels were the highlight of the night. I debated between a couple different recipes - one from Baking Illustrated and one from Alton Brown.  Although similar the main differences were in the type of flour and the type of sweetener.  The Baking Illustrated recipe used bread flour which has a higher gluten content and therefore creates a chewier dough.  Pretzels are supposed to be chewy so I decided to stick with the bread flour.  The Baking Illustrated recipe also used honey and after reading their explanation, I decided to go with that - it also meant I didn't have to open a package of brown sugar for a couple tablespoons - so it made it a fairly easy decision.  The other key to the recipe which both versions did is to boil the pretzels in a baking soda solution, so make sure you don't skip this step. The pretzels are best eaten the day they are made or you can freeze them right away and then warm in the oven when you want them.  Don't store them in a covered container on your counter top though or they will end up a little soggy. I made a simple spicy, garlicky cheese sauce to dip these in because it sounded good and I was already chopping jalapenos and garlic for guacamole and sliders that I was making.  It turned out to be a great dipping sauce for the pretzels adding a spicy kick to the slightly sweet and salty pretzel dough.  They would also be good with mustard or a cheddar cheese sauce.  Of course you can also sub cinnamon and sugar for the salt sprinkled on before baking and make more dessert-like pretzels if you prefer. Soft Pretzels Recipe slightly adapted from Baking Illustrated Dough: 1 package rapid-rise yeast 1/4 cup honey 1 tsp salt 3 cups bread flour (16 1/2 ounces) 1 cup water, at approximately 110 degrees Approximately 1 T olive oil Baking Soda Solution: Approximately 6 cups water 3 T baking soda Salt for sprinkling on pretzels In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all ingredients for the dough.  Make sure you are using rapid rise yeast, or you will need to proof your yeast before mixing.  Mix on low speed until combined and then knead about 5-7 minutes on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Prepare a separate bowl by coating with olive oil, transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat evenly.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about one hour or until doubled in size.  Punch dough down, recover and let rise approximately 30 minutes more. In a large low pan (a 12" skillet with deep sides or a small dutch oven will work perfectly) bring water and baking soda to a boil over medium high heat.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Separate dough into 12 approximately 2 ounce pieces.  Roll each piece into a long string, about 20 inches in length.  Fold pretzels into shape, twisting the ends over each other and pressing lightly to seal dough into shape.  Transfer pretzels, a few at a time to boiling water, cook 30 seconds on each side, turning with a slotted spoon, drain and transfer to prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle with coarse salt and repeat until all the pretzels have been boiled.  They don't need much room on the baking sheet as they won't spread much in the oven.  Bake approximately 12-14 minutes until dark golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool and serve. Jalapeno Cheese Sauce 1 T unsalted butter 1 T flour 3/4 cup milk 1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced 1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced 1 cup Colby Jack cheese 1/2 -1 tsp cayenne pepper In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk to combine, cooking about one minute until smooth.  Add milk, whisking to incorporate.  Add garlic and jalapeno.  Switch to a wooden spoon and stir frequently until thickened, about 15 minutes.  The sauce should begin to coat the back of the spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese.  Add cayenne pepper to taste. 

    • Kate Madill

      soft pretzel with warm jalapeno dip Wow - I actually made homemade pretzels! Great pretzel recipe. The cheese sauce turned out pretty thick and not cheesy enough. I would recommend adding more milk and doubling the cheese or using a stronger cheese than Colby. And, when making the pretzel dough, put the lukewarm water in with the yeast first, then add the other ingredients. Other than that, I totally recommend the recipe!

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