Feeling Snacky

Saturday was my birthday and after a busy day out we were all needing something savory to snack on. I made some cheddar filled pretzel "bites", once again a big hit with the family. This is by no means a throw it together quickly snack though, you definitely need to plan ahead, as the dough needs to rest for 2 hours. I'm hoping to make these again with different fillings. I think pepperoni could be a winner....

Cheesy-filled Pretzel Bites
Basic Pretzel Dough
1 1/2 tsp active, dry yeast
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
you will also need about 1 cup shredded cheese (I use preshredded for ease)

In a large bowl, stir together yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar and warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 to 8 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve the rest of the brown sugar in the milk. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour, and the milk mixture, into the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft ball forms, adding more flour as needed. Knead on a lightly floured surface, until ball is smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 2 hours until surface is bubbly. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Now comes the fun part! Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and seperate into 4 equal balls. Roll and stretch each ball into a rope, approximately 12 inches long. Using a rolling pin, flatten each rope into a long rectangle, about 12-by-4 inches. Make sure a long end is closest to you. Add shredded cheese along bottom third of the dough, leaving 1/2 and inch to the edges. Stretch dough from the bottom over the cheese and press to seal. Roll upwards as tightly as possible, making a rope. Cut each rope into 12 (or so) pieces and seal the ends, placing each piece on the parchment lined pans. Repeat with each of the three remaining balls. Let sit for 15 minutes, dough should rise slightly. In a large pot, boil 6 cups of water. Once boiling, turn down to a gentle simmer and add 4 tsp of baking soda. Place the dough pieces in the water for about 20 seconds and then remove with slotted spoon back to the parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and shiny, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with coarse salt and eat!

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