So, sometimes I question the recipes I come across.  Like this one.  Velveeta for the beer cheese.  Velveeta.  REALLY?  Happily, the farmer’s market was this morning, and I found a WAY better substitute.  Don’t ever be afraid to substitute things you think would be better in the recipe (so long as it doesn’t inherently alter the recipe, and even then a quick Google can save you). 

Also, I ended up screwing up the first batch by baking them too long, so be careful of that.  The dough was a lot stickier than it probably should’ve been, too, but that’s because I ended up adding a bit too much water after the fact to dampen it, and then adding more flour to compensate.  First times trying a recipe usually involve this sorts of interestingness.

Also, if Hayley reads this post, I’m sorry.  😛

Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese
Makes at least 9, screwed up first batch, and enough beer cheese dip to fill a medium Pyrex bowl

Ingredients

Pretzel Bites

  • 1.25 c warm water
  • 4 t active dry yeast
  • 5 c water
  • .25 c white sugar, plus 1 t
  • .25 c brown sugar
  • 1.5 t salt
  • 4 T butter, split in half and melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • sea salt to top

Dissolve your yeast and 1 t of the white sugar in your water, and let stand for about 10 minutes.  It should get a bit foamy during this time.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine your flour, sugars, and salt.  Add your 2 T of melted butter and the activated yeast, and stir until you have more or less one big ball of dough.  Then knead for about 6 to 8 minutes until your dough is smooth.  (You may need to add more water if it’s too dry, or more flour if it’s too wet.  If this happens, you may not be able to hit a perfect balance.  Just accept this.)  Cover your bowl, and let it rise for about an hour.

Towards the end of the dough rising, heat your oven to 450 (425 if it runs hot, I actually turned it down to 400 cause it was so ridiculously hot in my kitchen).  Also, prepare two separate bowls – one with a combination of 4 c water and ½ c baking soda, and the other with the remaining 2 T melted butter and your egg whites.

Once your hour has passed, punch down your dough and knead for another minute.  Tear off chunks, and roll into appx 1 inch balls, dip the balls into the baking soda water, and put on your lined baking sheet (I used aluminum foil).  Once your sheet is filled, brush the balls with the egg white and butter wash, and sprinkle with sea salt.  

Put them in the oven, and cook appx 10 minutes, until the part of the pretzel that has the wash on it is browned.

Beer Cheese

  • .5 c cream cheese
  • .5 c beer (I used New Glarus’ Spotted Cow)
  • 1 T horseradish sauce
  • .5 t garlic powder (I used closer to a t)
  • .5 t cayenne pepper
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 1 c cheese, cut into cubes to make it easier to melt (use something that will compliment your beer well – in this case, smoked cheddar from my farmer’s market)

Microwave your cream cheese in for 30 seconds in a glass proof bowl large enough to hold your entire recipe. Then add your beer, horseradish sauce, peppers, and garlic powder, and microwave another 30 seconds, and stir until smooth.  Add your cheese, and microwave until melted.  This will likely take longer, the better quality cheese you use – mine took closer to 2 minutes.  Once melted, stir again to combine.

And then, dip the pretzels in the beer cheese for the best snack evar.

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