This was my other contribution to the slumber party. I figured we would be in the mood for something snacky and indeed we were. Chips are fine, but here is a way to kind of class up your snack table. After my successful pass at pretzels a few months ago, I was interested in making more. The only thing is that pretzels are kind of a time consuming process. Much of that period is downtime so you can do other things like make donuts, but I think these are even more of a treat because of the work that goes in to them. That said, the work is totally worth it because these are delicious. They definitely curb a salty snack craving, but there is a hint of sweetness in the pretzel itself and more than a hint in the honey mustard dressing.
Prosciutto and Cheddar Pretzel Bites with Jalapeno Mustard
(Adapted from Gourmet, October 2009)
*Note, I used a smoked prosciutto because the original recipe called for country ham which I did not have, but smoked prosciutto is similar in flavor.
Makes about 36 bites
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped prosciutto
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar
6 cups water
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
2 teaspoons finely chopped seeded fresh jalapenos
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pretzel salt or coarse salt for sprinkling
In a large bowl, stir together the yeast, 1 teaspoon brown syagr, and warm water. Let it stand for 5-8 minutes until foamy. If the mixture doesn't foam, start over with new yeast. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar into the warm milk until dissolved.
Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and the milk mixture to the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until soft dough forms. Add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time if necessary. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it to form a smooth ball. Transfer the dough ball to a clean bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hanfs with flour, then gently roll and stretch one piece of dough to form a 12-inch long rope. Flatten the dough and arrange so a long side is nearest you, then roll out to a roughly 12x4-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin. Press one quarter of the proscitto and cheese into the lower third of the rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the bottom edge. Stretch the bottom of the dough up over the filling and press tightly to seal, then roll up as tightly as possible to form a rope. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces and transfer to the baking pan. Make 3 more ropes with the remaining dough, prosciutto, and cheese and cut them into pieces. Let rest at room temperature, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The dough will rise slightly.
Bring 6 cups of water to a gentle boil in a 4 or 5 quart saucepan. Reduce the heat and stir in baking soda. Cook the pretzel bites in batches in gently simmering water, turning once until slightly puffed, about 20 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pretzel bites back to the sheet pans.
Bake the pretzel bites until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
Brush the warm pretzel bites with butter and sprinkle with salt. Meanwhile, stir together the Dijon, honey, and jalapenos. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve the pretzel bites warm or at room temperature with the jalapeno mustard for dipping.