Even though I just made a gigantic batch of homemade soft pretzels a few weeks back, I realized pretty early on that my craving wasn’t quite satisfied since I was still dying for more. I get like that, I’ll love something I make and then try to think of a thousand different ways for me to justify eating the same thing over and over again. So, after daydreaming a few hours of my life away, I knew I wanted to do some sort of spin on a jalapeno popper (what would football season be without a riff on the jalapeno popper?!) and I knew that I wanted the whole thing to be wrapped together in one pretty little package. Before I could even think about brainstorming ways to go about this, Tieghan over at Half Baked Harvest posted this recipe for Spinach and Artichoke Dip Stuffed Pretzels. And. I.Was.Hooked.
I mean unless you’ve been living under a rock or just don’t read food blogs, you know who Tieghan is – a very talented food blogger that has infinite creative juices. So, thanks to her for inspiring me to put my jalapeno popper mixture into the actual pretzel rope and then form it into a pretzel. It’s so simple, yet so genius and I totally wish I had thought of it myself!
The great thing about these is that there is no need for a sauce; since the cheese is inside the pretzel it tastes like you’ve already dipped the soft dough into a big fat bowl of spicy queso, and bonus? It’s practically mess free; no spillage, no stringy cheese all over the place, (although sometimes that’s not so bad) and no sticky queso ridden fingers. Of course because my timing is always off, I finished these about 45 minutes after Kevin left to go watch football at a house full of guys who would devour these, so now all eight (well now, six, since Kev ate two immediately after getting home) pretzels are sitting on my kitchen counter, waiting for me to eat them.
You think my pretzel craving will finally be satiated after this batch?? We’ll see…
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10 cups water
- scant ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion and poppy seed for sprinkling
- In the bottom of a stand mixer, combine water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle yeast over. Let set for 5 minutes until foamy. Add in flour and melted butter. Using the dough hook, mix the dough until combined on a low speed, Increase the speed to medium and mix for five to seven minutes until dough becomes smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Rinse bowl off and then grease with canola oil. Place dough in the bottom and coat with oil. Cover with a towel and place in a warm, draft –free place. Let rise for one hour.
- While the dough rises make filling. In a food processor combine, 6 ounces cheese, cream cheese, jalapeños and garlic powder. Pulse until combined and jalapeños are chopped.
- Once the dough has risen, cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll dough into an 18 inch rope. Flatten rope with a rolling pin so that it becomes a very long rectangle. Spread one tablespoon of filling along the middle of the dough. Fold back over and pinch to seal, roll back into a rope. Shape into pretzels.
- Place pretzels in the freeze for five minutes to firm up the cheese filling.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large stock pot to a rolling boil. Add baking soda. Place pretzels one at a time in the water and baking soda mixture. Cook for 45 seconds, flipping halfway through.
- Transfer pretzels to a greased baking sheet. Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl. Brush pretzels with egg wash and then sprinkle with desired topping and remaining shredded cheese. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.