Thursday, November 5, 2009

Garlic and Thyme Pretzel Bites

This recipe is SO GOOD and SO EASY I just have to share it. I've made them twice in the past week and everybody loves them!! These make perfect game day snacks or appetizers for an Oktoberfest gathering. I'd like to call them "comfort snacks". Is that so wrong??
Here's how to make them:

4 t. active dry yeast
1 t. white sugar
1+1/2 c. warm water (110 degrees)

5 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. white sugar
1+1/2 t. kosher salt (plus more for topping)
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
1 t. garlic powder
1 T. olive oil

1/2 c. baking soda
4 C. boiling water

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 t. sugar in warm water. Let stand until foamy (about 10 minutes)

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 c. sugar, salt, garlic powder and thyme leaves. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture. Mix with hands to form into a soft dough. Depending on the weather, you may have to add more warm water (1 T. at a time) or possibly flour. You don't want the dough too sticky or overly dry.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 7-8 minutes). Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. When dough has risen, punch down to deflate dough.

4. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, on stove top in a large pot, bring water and baking soda to boil.

5. Breaking off golf ball sizes of dough, roll dough in the palms of your hands and drop into boiling water until the dough balls rise to the surface of the water and float. Do not overcrowd the pot. You will have to do this in batches.

6. Remove dough balls from water using a slotted spoon and place on 2 parchment lined baking sheets, making sure they do not touch one another. Sprinkle dough with additional kosher salt and Parmesan cheese if desired (buy why wouldn't you?).

7. Bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the sheet pans half way through the baking process.

Here is my second batch all wrapped and ready to go to Oktoberfest! They were a complete hit and a great accompaniment to some good German beer!!
You may want to serve them with a honey mustard dipping sauce or a dipper of your choice, but it's certainly not necessary. These have enough flavor all on their own and you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!!!

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