Good Eats: Homemade Pretzels with Spicy Dipping Salsa

I have a few passions in life, food being one of them. I’ve been cooking since I was young, baking desserts nearly every week. I have always loved experimenting with new recipes and seeing people’s faces light up when they taste one of my dishes. Over time I have expanded my repertoire of kitchen skills to include more difficult dishes like risotto and breads.

One of the most recent recipes I fell for was Chrissy Tiger’s homemade pretzels with spicy dipping salsa. These pretzels are to die for, the perfect fluffiness with a hot dip that’s just the right amount of spicy. Yes, its made with Velveeta (a product I fucking despise) but sometimes fake cheese makes the perfect pairing with your homemade breads. My dad is obsessed with this recipe and asked me all week to make them before he has his tooth pulled.

Before Teigen got her cookbook published (which I recommend you buy) she was blogging her recipes regularly. I found this pretzel and dip recipe on her blog and figured I would give them a try for the food magazine I was making. Turned out they were beyond delicious and I think I’ll be making them regularly now. Check out the recipe below!

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Ingredients:

    • For the pretzels:
    • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
    • 1 packet instant dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 3 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
    • For the queso:
    • 5 large jalapeño peppers, halved and seeded
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed
    • one 14-ounce can Ro-Tel (or another brand of diced tomatoes & chilis)

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the milk together with the yeast, brown sugar, and white sugar.

Add the flour, salt and butter and mix until the dough starts to come together, about 2 minutes.

Raise the speed to medium and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, stopping the machine once in a while to pull down the dough if it climbs up the dough hook (sneaky dough!), 5 minutes (if you are kneading by hand. knead for 10 minutes).

Gather dough into a ball, place it in a greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm spot in the kitchen (not on the stove directly, but maybe nearby where it’s a little warm) to rise until doubled in size, about an hour or a little more than an hour.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk the hot water and baking soda in a shallow bowl or pie plate,until it’s mostly dissolved and set aside.

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Work with one piece of dough at a time and cover the rest with a kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. Working from the center out, roll the dough into a long rope about 2 feet ling by ½ inch wide.

Then, lift the ends of the dough, and raise them up to create a U-shape. Cross the dough arms twice, then lower the ends of the dough back down towards the bottom and press them slightly together to make them stick.

Lift the pretzels into the baking soda bath and place the pretzels on the reserved cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough to form 6 pretzels. Sprinkle the pretzels generously with salt and bake for until golden brown, 10-12 minutes.

Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush them with the melted butter.

Now make the queso:

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Toss the peppers with the vegetable oil in a bowl and arrange on a small baking sheet, skin side up. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast until very dark, 15 minutes.

Cool and finely chop the chilis and combine them with the Velveeta and Ro-Tel in a saucepan.

Cook over medium-low heat until all melty and warmed through, 5-6 minutes.

Serve the queso with the warm pretzels.

Extra tips: Prep the jalepeños while the dough is rising. It will save you a lot of time. Also, salt the pretzels right after you dip them in the baking soda bath. They salt will stick better to the wet pretzels. If you like your salsa dip spicy, throw in some of the jalapeño seeds. It will kick the dip just the right kick.

 

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