07 May 2011

chocolate-filled pretzel bites

I am almost afraid to say it out loud, but I do think that springtime is here to stay in Minnesota. When my cat starts to drop his winter coat, I say it is a done deal. Today we had the windows open, and I wasn't even burning anything in the kitchen! I wore shorts, a tank top, and flip flops today. I felt sweaty after my run. Being outside felt so great, even when the clouds rolled in. That first warm day that you know is not just a tease makes me feel much more relaxed. I associate that feeling with turning in a last final of a spring semester. It makes me feel a little odd that I have that same sense of relief, and I'm not even a student any more. Hmm.

But, it is not summer yet. I know this because I still like eating chocolate. Usually when summer rolls in, I am off chocolate until September. It's not that I no longer like it, it's just that fruit-filled desserts start to look way more appealing. 

Hence, chocolate-filled pretzel bites! I may tweak this recipe more at some point, as I have a few fundamental problems with it (uhh, a baking time could be kind of helpful in a recipe?). But, do not despair -- the result was still tasty. My comments are embedded in the recipe below, plus some adaptations and additional steps.

Chocolate-filled pretzel bites
(makes about 85 bites)
  • For the pretzel dough:
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 t. active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups flour (plus lots more for dusting)

  • For the filling:
  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
  • 6 oz. baker's chocolate
  • 2 t. brown sugar
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne

  • For the poaching liquid:
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda

  • For the finishing touches:
  • Egg wash, as needed
  • 1/4 cup salt

  • Directions!
  • 1. Make the dough. Combine warm water (100 to 110 F), yeast, sugar, and salt; mix well and allow to sit until foamy (about 5 minutes). Pour yeast mixture into a large mixing bowl and add flour, a bit at a time, to form a dough. (Note: I needed way, waaay more flour to make this anything that could even be considered a dough.) Once the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl, turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. Form the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size--about an hour.
  • 2. Prepare your filling. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and butter on low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. This can also be done by heating the mixture in the microwave in 20 second intervals until melted. Put your chocolate mixture off to the side for the moment. (Let this sit a little while, it is better to use once it has firmed up a bit. If it gets too solid, just zap it fo 5-10 seconds.)

  • 3. Heat oven to 450°F. divide the dough into quarters and roll, one quarter at a time, into a 1/4-inch sheet. Cut the dough sheet into squares, about an inch and a half each. Place 1/8 teaspoon of the chocolate mixture in the center of each of the dough squares; bring the corners to the center and pinch together to seal. They'll look like little pillows at this point.

  • 4. Heat the water and baking soda in a deep sauté pan. Poach the pretzel nuggets for about 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon. (We found a dozen at a time works best)

  • 5. Remove the nuggets from the poaching liquid and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

  • (here's the instructions that were not included...I think my PA Dutch roots were able to just take over and finish up the recipe. Pretzel making is in my bones.)

  • 6. Brush bites with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt.

  • 7. Bake 15 minutes, until bites are as golden as you'd like them.

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