Happy New Year, everyone!
I’m hoping you all had a great Christmas and a super fun New Year’s! I know I did. We had all of our family in town and the house was PACKED. The kitchen was crammed… pretty much the whole time. It seemed like there was always someone who was hungry! Man, I made A LOT of food. I quickly needed some good appetizers and snacks and figured: What could be better than cheesy pretzel nuggets?
My brother loves Auntie Anne’s™ Cheddar Stuffed Pretzel Nuggets and suggested that I try to replicate them. I thought that was a great idea, that they would be ideal for people to munch on—and hopefully hold them over until the next meal.
I used my go-to pretzel dough recipe and basically just stuffed some good ole cheddar cheese inside. It’s really the simplest concept, but these are SO GOOD. Like addicting good. Stopping at just one is essentially impossible.
Now that the holidays have passed, I’m gearing up for the Big Game and obviously these would be PERFECT. I mean, pretzels + cheese?? YES.
Okay, so here’s how we’re going to make these.
Start by making the pretzel dough. Combine the water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes until the dough becomes foamy.
Add the melted butter, salt and 4 1/2 cups flour to the mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Coat a large bowl with oil or cooking spray, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. This will take about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF, remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 18-20 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a 5-inch long rope. Coil the dough around the cheese stick half, sealing the dough at both ends so the cheese is enclosed.
Repeat with the remaining dough. Make sure to seal the cheese inside the dough so no cheese leaks out!
Next, bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, carefully add the baking soda.
Boil the pretzels in the water solution, a few at a time, for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula or a spider skimmer.
Place the pretzels on a baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with sea salt.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Enjoy warm! You could also serve these with Buffalo sauce, ranch or mustard. And of course, they’re great plain too!