Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cheesy Pretzel Ninjas

That's right.  I am calling them ninjas.  They are so sneakily good, they karate kick your taste buds ;).

Ingredients (makes about 30):
-1 C warm water (100F-110F for yeast)
-1/2 TB light brown sugar
-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
-1 C whole wheat flour
-1.5 C AP Flour
-6 mozzarella cheese sticks cut into 5ths (OR use a more pizzazzy cheese, which would be my preference in the future.  Pepperjack, spiced gouda, or whatever you like)
-1/3 C baking soda
-1 egg plus a little water to make an eggwash
-coarse sea salt
-Optional: everything seasoning or my faux version made with 1 tsp poppy seeds, 1 tsp chia seeds, a pinch of garlic, and a little marjoram.

Get out your handy dandy Kitchenaid and the dough hook.  Add the warm water and brown sugar and give it a swoosh so that the brown sugar dissolves.  Add in the yeast and let sit for ten minutes.

Add the whole wheat flour and mix on low.  You may need to scrape down the sides.  Once that is combined, add in the AP flour and mix until the dough forms a ball.  You could add another half cup here and let your Kitchenaid work it in, but I opted to turn mine out onto a floured surface and knead some more flour in by hand. After about ten minutes, it should be smooth and elastic.

Grease a bowl with a little oil and add your dough ball in.  Turn the ball so that all sides are oiled and cover with a towel.  Let the dough raise about an hour in a warm place.

When your dough is ready, remove and tear off hunks about the size of a golf ball or so.   You want just enough to get around your cheese slices but not to be too thin.  Smoosh and smash the dough around the cheese and press the ends together.  Seal it WELL.  I like to wrap mine, press mine, and then roll the whole thing around in my hand to try to make it forget where the seam was.

Get a pot of water boiling with the baking soda. I used my large soup pot and filled it a little over halfway. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 and grease a baking sheet.  Prepare your eggwash in a bowl and have your desired toppings ready in another bowl.

Once you have all the pretzel ninjas formed, drop in the boiling baking soda water and let them swim for about a minute.  That's right, ninjas can swim.  I used a mesh strainer to get mine out of the water and to drain them.  Transfer them to the baking sheet.

I noticed that one side got more of the baking soda bath than the other.  I just made this side the top. You could hold the pretzel ninjas down with the strainer or flip them over part ways through or something efficient like that if you so chose.

Brush them with the eggwash when they are all done and sprinkle on your desired toppings. 

Bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes until they reach your desired level of doneness.

If you are baking in a gas oven, I recommend either using parchment paper if you are worried about the bottoms getting to done (e.g. gas oven and dark nonstick like my life), setting your rack up higher than you normally do, or swapping pans halfway through if you are making a double batch or have smaller baking sheets than I do. 

When they are done, transfer to a wire rack to cool and then DEVOUR! I dipped mine in my homemade pesto from yesterday.

Happy crafting! Pin It Now!

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