If you’ve been following along on our Crunchy Mountain Life, you’ve most definitely learned that the Nugget is suuuuupppper picky when it comes to…well, everything. Which has made figuring out healthy meals that he will actually eat, a bit…challenging, to say the least.
One thing he loves, however, are pretzels.
And I’m not gonna lie…buying the kind of pretzels we can eat can be a bit expensive, the way this kid plows through a bag. So I decided I needed to try to make my own.
This recipe was a bit of a Hail Mary, if I’m going to be honest with you. These are 100% different from the pretzels he’s used to, so I knew the success rate was extremely low. But alas, I ignored the pleas of history and took to the kitchen yet again, in hopes of finding a success story at the end of the pretzel…?
I’m almost nervous to say, so I don’t jinx it. But…
Success!! I couldn’t believe it! I still can’t…even after his 3rd time begging for “more pretzels, please!” You got it, sweet boy. More pretzels, comin’ right up!
And yes…that cheese dip is ah-mazing.
You can leave the “kick” out, but Mountain Man said it needed more cayenne pepper (I tried to keep it kid friendly).
I’m going to level with you all. I got this recipe idea from Chef Savvy. However, my version uses 100% whole wheat flour and zero refined sugar. And If you clicked on that link, you’ll see that her pretzels are SO PRETTY. They are. But by using whole wheat, mine will never look like that. I’m ok with that. I’m more concerned about ingredients at this point. So I hope you can overlook my not-so-pretty-but-still-delicious-pretzels-with-cheese-sauce.
And that cheese sauce? So. Flippin’. Good.
This is seriously such a great treat for get togethers, kids parties, you name it. Since this made a pretty large batch, we had leftovers. I recommend warming up your pretzels slightly (oven is always best, but microwave will do in a pinch), when eating the leftovers. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days…if they last that long. The cheese dip can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can be served cold, but it tastes best when served warm.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (we like King Arthur's White Whole Wheat)
- 5 tbls. melted butter
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 tbls. water
- 3 tbls butter
- 5 tbls flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cayenne Pepper or Hot Sauce to taste (optional)
- Combine yeast, syrup and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to rest for 5 minutes (this give the yeast time to activate).
- Add salt and butter and stir until well combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in your flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead dough in mixer for about 4-5 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm area for an hour.
- Towards the end of your bake time, preheat oven to 400 F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper - set aside.
- Cut the dough ball into 6 even sections. Roll each section into a long "rope", about 20-24 inches in length.
- Cut off pieces about 1 inch in length.
- Bring 9 cups of water with the 1/2 cup baking soda to a boil in a large stock pot.
- Place 10-15 pieces in the boiling water at a time, for only about 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on baking sheets, being sure they do not touch.
- In small bowl, whisk egg and 1 tbls water (we are making an egg wash for the top of the pretzels).
- Once all bites have been boiled and placed on baking sheets, gently brush the tops of the bites with the egg wash, and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they begin to brown.
- Remove from oven and allow them to cool before serving them with the cheese sauce.
- Melt butter in medium sauce pan over low-medium heat.
- Add in flour, and whisk to combine - allow to cook for about a minute.
- Add in milk and cook, whisking occasionally for 4-5 minutes, or until it begins to thicken up.
- Remove from heat, and add shredded cheese - stir until melted in. Season with Salt and Pepper and Cayenne (Cayenne optional) to desired taste.
- Serve warm with pretzel bites.