It’s the most beautiful time of year in North Carolina. Autumn is really showing off. Sometimes, while driving, I even find myself distracted by the leaves’ brilliant colors. While I’m preoccupied with the Fall foliage, for North Carolinians, Autumn means one thing, football. So today, I thought it appropriate to blog about the newest recipe I tried, Beer Pretzels with Chipotle Queso.
Soft pretzels are the perfect game day snack, or the perfect “taking in an episode of Doc McStuffins with the toddler” snack. The great thing about these pretzels is you can make them whatever flavor of beer you want. For this recipe I chose pumpkin beer, and I could definitely taste the pumpkin. I would recommend choosing a beer with a stronger flavor than typical so the bitter and sweet notes really stand out.
This was also my first experience boiling bread. I know boiling bread is a Jewish thing (hello, bagels!), but I had never done it, and was delighted by the little science experiment in my kitchen, while simultaneously surprised by two smoke alarms going off from the steam it produced.
I had this great idea to use my small cast iron skillet to make the queso, because I thought it would look great in pictures. Well, it did look great, but was a little too small. Even still, all that sharp cheddar cheese was an amazing compliment to these beer pretzels, and the kick from the chipotle peppers was enough to clear my sinuses. Next time though, I’ll be sure to make it in a larger pan.
Even though beer pretzels require yeast, they do not take that long to make. Because there is only one rise, I was able to make this entire batch, queso and photograph it all while my kiddo took a nap. Pro tip: When you are rolling the dough, and think you’ve made it thin enough, keep rolling! The puff up quite a bit.
Want to make this for your next get-together? Pin this pic!
- • 1/2 cup warm water
- • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- • 1 1/2 cups beer (any flavor)
- • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- • 2/3 cups baking soda, for boiling the pretzels
- • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
- • coarse sea salt or pretzel salt (optional)
- • 1 tablespoon butter
- • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- • 12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- • 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo, finely minced
- Combine the water, brown sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the beer, melted butter, salt and all-purpose flour to the mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour until it feels right.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands, then place in a large bowl coated with oil.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size (about 1 hour).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope (as thin as possible). Make the rope into a pretzel she by twisting the two ends around each other, then pressing the ends slightly apart in the middle of the rope.
- Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. This is important, because the water will fizz and spit, and you don't want it to get everywhere.
- Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 1-2 at a time for 30 seconds, flipping them on both sides.
- Remove with a large flat slotted spatula. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with sea salt (or not - I think next time I will not add salt at all.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.
- Add the butter to a large skillet to melt. Add the cream cheese and milk.
- Cook over medium heat until the sauce is smooth and the cream cheese has melted.
- In a bowl, toss together the shredded cheddar with the flour.
- Little by little, add the cheddar to the warm milk, whisking until the sauce is smooth.
- Stir in the chipotle peppers.
- Keep the queso warm over warm heat. Serve along side the warm pretzels for dipping.