I think I have a new favorite party food. Seriously, these are amazing. As usual, my husband was my taste-tester, and his review was, “Um, yeah - I could eat like, 500 of those.” And I have to agree. If I wasn’t saving them to serve at my brother’s graduation party, we might have polished off the whole tray. I just made them again to serve at our family 4th of July bash, and they went VERY quickly. They taste like the best soft-pretzel you’ve ever had, complete with oozy cheese, salty ham and coated with butter - and then dipped in a tangy, sweet honey-mustard. I’m sure they’re low in calories. Really.
This sounds like a complicated recipe, but really it isn’t. It’s a pretty basic yeast-dough. I actually made the dough in my stand mixer using the dough hook attachment which deviated from the original recipe, but it worked like a charm. The dough was fairly sticky but once I sprinkled my rolling pin, hands and surface with flour, I had no problems with it at all. My dough also rose much faster than the allotted 2 hours, mine was doubled in size at the 45-minute mark.
The hardest part about it all (for me), was boiling the dough…not that it was difficult but that whole process is time-sensitive so it kept me on my toes for a good 10 minutes. You might lose some cheese in the boiling process, but not enough to worry about – some of the cheese will ooze out while baking, too. The second time I made them I sprinkled the cheese with a little flour before rolling them up, and it really seemed to keep the cheese in place so I’ll definitely do it that way from now on.
If you want to make these ahead of time, store them in the freezer. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then reheat in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes or until warm. This recipe made about 45 pretzel bites.
1 package active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, divided
1/4c up warm water
1 cup warm milk
2 and 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped deli ham (I used thinly sliced Virginia Ham)
1 block grated monterey jack cheese (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
6 cups water
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 to 2 Tablespoons pretzel salt or coarse salt (I used Kosher Salt)
Stir together yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and let stand until foamy, 5 to 8 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) In a separate bowl, stir remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar into warm milk until dissolved.