This past weekend, Jake and I had a little Superbowl viewing party of our own. I can't remember the last time I watched a football game. But it seemed a good thing to do in our empty nest as both of our dads love the San Francisco 49ers.
The day before Jake had texted me: "Guacamole, hot wings, pizza? What do you think?" It's like he knows me or something. Planning and executing a menu is always a yes...even for an event about which I am not in the least bit excited. I decided that I wanted to make Bavarian pretzels with beer-cheese sauce.
Back in November, the besties and I went to a pretzel workshop hosted by Chef Aniko Ritchie (Instagram handle FarmChef). When I couldn't find her beer-cheese sauce recipe, I texted her and she graciously texted it to me. I love my foodie friends.
makes a dozen 4-inch pretzels
2 cups warm water (between 110 degrees Fahrenheit and 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
1-1/2 Tablespoons organic dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon active yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5-1/4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon oil (low-flavor such as canola oil)
¾ cup baking soda plus 1 gallon of water
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 Tablespoon cold water
flake sea salt for topping
Note: Nikki used a Kitchen Aid for this; I don't have one. This is adapted to what I did without a Kitchen Aid.
Run a large mixing bowl under hot water to warm it. Pour (measured) water into the large mixing bowl Whisk in the brown sugar and sprinkle yeast on top. Give a quick stir to moisten all of the yeast. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes to let it bloom into a foamy raft.
Add in flour, melted butter, and salt. Create a shaggy dough, then turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon oil and return the dough to an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the dough on all sides. Cover bowl with a towel and let rise until it doubles in size, approximately 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the ambient temperature of your kitchen.
After the dough is risen, preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring baking soda and water to boil in a large pot.
Turn dough onto your workspace and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each into a ball, then roll the ball into a 24-inch long rope. To shape: Form the rope into an upside-down 'U'. Cross the ends over each other twice. Flip the ends over. Pinch the ends to the other side to adhere them securely. Make sure that the pretzels have three holes.
Turn down the boiling water to a simmer and gently lower each pretzel into the water one or two at a time. For thirty seconds, baste the pretzels with the water.
Remove the pretzels from the water and place them on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with pretzel salt, coarse kosher salt or sea salt.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Beer Cheese Sauce
This is adapted from what Nikki texted me...and what I had on-hand. I didn't want to get back to the store because the game was starting.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup cream + 1/4 cup water (or 1 cup whole milk)
2 cups beer (I used a local Santa Cruz beer)
3 cups shredded cheese
1 Tablespoon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Pour in the milk and beer and whisk until it becomes very thick. Whisk in the cheeses until it is smooth and season with mustard, salt, and pepper. Serve warm with the pretzels.
These were the perfect SuperBowl snack! But I will definitely be making them again soon.