Pretzel Mania!

One of my favorite things is soft pretzels. Whenever I’m at the mall, I have an extremely difficult time walking past Auntie Anne’s without grabbing some pretzel bites and cheese. Soo gooood!! However, I’m pretty sure that isn’t the most healthy snack for you, since each pretzel is doused in butter (must be why they taste so good!). So on my lazy Sunday baking day, I decided to give homemade pretzels a try.

I had been looking forward to making these all week, but after the crazy Hairball concert on Saturday night, I was exhausted (I usually get AT LEAST 9 hours of sleep a night and the concert cramped that…sad, I know). But I bit the bullet, got my groceries, and made some pretzels…and they turned out great! I also made a homemade nacho cheese sauce to accompany them, which wasn’t quite as good as the straight-from-the-machine nacho cheese, but it came pretty darn close šŸ™‚ Homemade pretzels would be a great treat for a party, since you can roll them up any way you like! And if you’re not into the intricacy of making perfectly shaped pretzels, pretzel bites taste just as good šŸ™‚

Pretzels (modified from a recipe in Eat Well, Lose Weight magazine, a BHG publication)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 T veg oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour or whole wheat flour
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 T salt
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 T water
  • Sesame seeds & coarse salt
  1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour and the yeast; Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir milk, sugar, oil, and 1 t salt until warmed through. Add milk mix to flour mix. Beat with a mixer on low speed until mixed through, then beat on high speed for a few minutes. Stir in bread flour with a spoon and as much as remaining flour as you can.
  3. Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of remaining flour to make dough stiff. Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a warm towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 1/4 hours).
  4. Punch down dough. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease two large baking sheets.
  5. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Roll dough into strips and shape each strip into a pretzel, winding one side over the other, and repeating with the other end (or cut/roll pieces into little balls for pretzel bites).
  6. Place pretzels on baking sheets and bake for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.
  7. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Lower pretzels into water, 3 or 4 at a time, turning once after 1 minute. Boil an additional minute (2 total). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain over paper towels. Place on a clean, well-greased baking sheet.
  8. In a small bowl, stir together egg white and 1 T water. Brush pretzels with egg white mixture and sprinkle lightly with salt and sesame seeds (or other desired toppings). Bake in 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy with Cheese Sauce!
Calories per small pretzel: 126 calories, 2 g total fat!

Dough ball

Chubby pretzel shape!

Boiled pretzels

The finished product!

Cheese Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 8 0z cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 of red pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 1/4 of Jalapeno chile pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
  1. Melt cream cheese in skillet on low heat until of stirring consistency. Add in cheddar cheese cubes, stirring until melted.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together flour and 1/4 cup of the milk. Set aside.
  3. Add red pepper, jalapeno pepper, and 1/2 cup of the milk to cheese mixture. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium. Gradually add remaining milk. Add flour-milk mixture, mixing well. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring constantly for an additional minute.
  4. Reduce heat, and start dipping! (NOTE: I’m a wuss when it comes to spice and this sauce is not hot at all! If you want more spice, consider adding a bit more jalapeno, and perhaps some seeds, too, to kick up the heat!)

    Prep work

Keep stirring!

A delicious snack šŸ™‚

For a sweet twist, add cinnamon and sugar instead of salt and sesame seeds! šŸ™‚

N

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2 thoughts on “Pretzel Mania!

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