It’s been a minute since I made these. These poppers from The Slow Roasted Italian were one of my contributions to the Super Bowl spread back in February, but with March Madness back in full gear this weekend, I though some cheesy game food made sense.
But honestly, it’s not like I really need a special occasion for these when you’re talking cheese + beer + japaenos + salty pretzels. Just maybe someone to help us eat them!
Making these pretzel bites went much more smoothly than the last time I tried making homemade pretzel buns. Let’s just say adding baking soda to boiling water can end up like those volcanos you used to make with baking soda and vinegar as a kid. I was seriously cleaning baking soda off my stove and oven forever (it was even between the glass on the oven door). So as you can imagine, I appreciated that this recipe added baking soda to hot water in a bowl. And I can promise you I set that bowl in the sink when I added it just in case!
The dough for these bites starts off using a beer rather than water for the main liquid in the dough. The recipe was written using a Blue Moon, however I used a Belgain white beer. I think you could work with anything lighter in the lager-hefeweisen class, although I’m not sure you would want to go too dark or too hoppy for this recipe. If you’d rather not try the beer, the original poster comments that you could substitute water or milk.
Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Cheesy Pretzel Bites
From The Slow Roasted Italian
12 ounces warm light beer warmed in the microwave to 110-120 degrees
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
12 ounces of bacon, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (4oz) can diced jalapenos (can sub chopped green chiles)
1 large egg
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt plus more for pretzel tops
2 Tbsp. baking soda
2 cups water
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pour beer into a microwave-safe bowl and heat until it reaches 110-120 degrees F. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Add sugar and stir. Allow the yeast mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy and smells like yeast.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix cheese, cooked bacon, and jalapeños.
In a small bowl, beat egg and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Add flour and salt to the mixer bowl. Turn the mixer on to speed 1 for 3-5 minutes until the dough comes together in 1 ball. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed if the bread is too sticky. Turn the speed up to 2 and add flour slowly (1 tablespoon at a time) until the dough is no longer tacky, about 1-2 minutes. Take the dough out of the mixer and form into a ball. In order to divide the dough in pieces, first quarter the dough. Roll each quarter into a fat log. Cut the log into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a long and cut into 3 more pieces. When you are done, you should have 36 pieces.
Fill a medium bowl with 2 cups of hot water and SLOWLY add baking soda. Place the baking sheet, baking soda after, and the cheese mixture on the counter within reach.
Roll each dough piece into a ball and then flatten it into a circle. Add 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the center. Carefully pull each side over the cheese and pinch to seal the cheese mixture completely inside. Set aside until you have 3 stuffed balls. Transfer the 3 stuffed balls into the hot water mixture. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and set on the baking pan. Continue until you have filled all the dough pieces. Brush egg wash onto the balls and sprinkle with course salt.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are browned. Enjoy!