30 Before 30: Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip

by Jessica on February 17, 2012

Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip from My Baking Heart

I’d been eyeing these from the moment my sweet friend Jess posted them on her blog. And what a coincidence that it just happened to be one of the last things on my ’30 Before 30′ list. Granted, it’s not a ‘true’ pretzel, but it’s even better… you can eat lots of little bites and feel okay about it! They’re super-simple to make and super-tasty, as well. Great for parties and after-school snacks… heck, I might even make a batch for next week’s road trip!

Another goal bites the dust! Hee hee! ;)

Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip from My Baking Heart

Pretzel Bites
Adapted from: Sunny Side Up in San Diego

4 tsp active dry yeast
6-1/2 tsp Splenda for Baking, divided
1-1/4 c warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c light brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp Kosher salt + more for topping
4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided & melted
4 c water

In a measuring cup dissolve the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon Splenda for Baking in warm water. Set aside (the mixture should become foamy; if it doesn’t, your yeast may be bad or your water too hot).

In the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 6 teaspoons of Splenda for Baking, brown sugar and 1-1/2 teaspoons of Kosher salt on low speed. Turn off the mixer and pour the water/yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of melted butter into the bowl. Turn the mixer on and knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry you can add extra water, a tablespoon at a time.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a ball. Place the dough ball in the bowl, cover with a clean towel, and allow to rise for one hour (or until it’s doubled in size).

Towards the end of rising, preheat oven to 450 degrees and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper and cooking spray. After the dough has risen, punch down the dough and then knead with hands for one minute. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into 12 even portions. For pretzel bites, roll each portion into a snake then cut the snake into bite size pieces, about 1-1/2 inches in width.

In a large saucepan, bring the 4 cups of water to a boil. Place 8-10 pieces into the boiling water, tossing gently for about 45 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place bites on paper towels to drain slightly.

Move bites to greased baking sheets, and bake for about 15 minutes or until done and golden brown. Brush each pretzel bite with melted butter then sprinkle with Kosher salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip from My Baking Heart

Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 c skim milk
1-1/2 to 2 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 to 2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, to taste

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until blended, and butter has turned a light, golden brown. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar cheese until smooth and all of the cheese has melted. Season with Tony’s and serve.

Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dip from My Baking Heart

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erin February 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I love pretzel bites and cheese sauce. Yummy.

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2 Kayte February 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I am going to pretend I did not see this, and you are going to pretend that you didn’t know that I saw this and am trying to erase it from memory. This is the kind of thing I would take two of and then maybe another and then another and then another…I cannot be trusted with anything dipped in a cheesy sauce. I’m leaving now. And I won’t be back to this post. I am not bookmarking it for the future. I am forgetting all about it. I am….kidding myself (and you), I am so going to make these.

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3 Jessica February 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm

More pretzel-loving Jessicas! These look so yummy. I didn’t really appreciate a good soft pretzel until moving to Philly. I’d love to make these (and the dip) sometime!

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4 momma g February 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Looking yummy! Gotta have a few….or more!

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5 Jessica @ Sunny Side Up February 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Your pretzel bits look so perfect!!! I just want to reach through the screen and grab one. I know I would absolutely love the spicy cheese you paired with it. So, so, so, glad you liked the pretzels. :)

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6 Jill June 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Made these today – they are delicious. I did have a little trouble making them into perfect little balls like the picture, but no worries, they actually look even better a little deformed! :) Seriously!! I also made them into mini bites & lowered the temp (my first batch came out VERY dark brown and crispy on the outside). I would definitely recommend that you give it a try – easy peasy!

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7 Jill June 15, 2012 at 11:29 pm

*Update* I refrigerated the dough overnight and it was even easier to shape the bites into perfect little balls. As soon as I boiled the dough, I sprinkled salt onto the sticky little balls (to avoid the butter & salt step). I am taking these to an appetizer party tomorrow – can’t wait, they are SOOO yummy!

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8 Jessica June 19, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thanks for the update, Jill… I’ll have to try it that way next time! :)

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9 Bonnie June 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I will be making these tasty bites for the 4th. Thanks

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10 Chauntelle July 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

Quick question…can you use real sugar instead of the splenda for baking? I am very much against any kind of aspertame. Thanks :)

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11 Jessica July 1, 2012 at 11:02 am

Of course! Just double the amount of real, granulated sugar than what’s suggested for the Splenda!

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12 Kirsten July 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm

What would you recommend as an equivalent for the Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning as I can’t seem to find it easily ?

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13 Jessica July 2, 2012 at 9:54 am

Hi Kirsten! If you can’t find Tony’s in the store, try Zatarain’s or even make your own: Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning Recipe – thanks for visiting MBH! :)

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14 Marcy July 4, 2012 at 12:17 am

These look CRAZY good! I am going to make them for the 4th, as well. I am soo looking forward to them! Thanks so much!

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15 Susan July 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I am going to make these for football games, my family will love these!! also try with honey mustard dip

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16 Kim July 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Can the dough be made in a bread machine?

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17 Jessica July 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

I haven’t tried it that way, Kim, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let me know how it goes! :)

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18 Cheyenne September 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm

since i dont have a standing mixer (yet!) i just used my hands to knead the dough. im hoping it works….. (fingers-crossed) these look so yummy! :-)

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19 Nancy November 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm

cheyenne, how did hand kneading turn out since i too dont have a stand mixer yet! hinting to family and friends i need one “donated to the cause” ;)

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20 jennifer October 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm

These were so delicous! I made them for a summer birthday and now my daughter wants to make them again during Hurricane Sandy baking fest :o)

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21 Coleen December 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Can you give e a guesstimate as to how any this makes? I want to take to a big tailgate next weekend.

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22 Coleen December 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Oops how many

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23 Jessica December 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Hi Coleen! I’d guess close to 10 dozen, depending on the size that you cut the bites at. I didn’t count the first time I made these, but will remember to the next time! :)

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24 Anna Lowell January 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I made these knowing they wouldn’t be as good as the ones from the mall – but I was wrong! They are just less greasy. This recipe is definitely a keeper – the only drawback being that I probably just ate my way through any benefit I might have gotten from my Jillian Michaels workout earlier today. If anyone is wondering, the sauce is good too, but these pretzels could easily hold their own without the sauce. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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25 Megan S February 21, 2013 at 11:05 am

Hi,
I am wanting to make these for a party soon and was wondering can you use 2% milk instead of skim for the dip?

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26 Jessica February 21, 2013 at 11:13 am

Absolutely! I’m sure 2% would make for a richer dip, as well! I drink skim on a regular basis, so that’s what I normally add to any recipe. Please let me know how it turns out for you! :)

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27 Meghan June 27, 2013 at 10:22 am

Does the cheese dip make enough for all the pretzel bites or should I double the dip recipe??

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28 Jessica June 27, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hi Meghan! It should be enough for the entire batch of pretzel bites. Let me know how it works out for you! :)

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29 Meghan June 30, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks so much. I’m planning on having a honey mustard dip to go along with it too.

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30 Crystal September 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I’ve been dying to make these and since I have a pot luck coming up at work, it seems like the perfect excuse to give them a try! I’m just wondering,at what point in the recipe would I refrigerate the dough? Yeast makes me a bit nervous so I don’t want to mess it up!!

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31 Jessica September 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Hi Crystal – Don’t be afraid of yeast, it’s so fun to work with! :) Once you’ve mixed together the ingredients for the dough, remove it from the mixer and shape into a ball. Then place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean towel, and allow to rise for one hour (or until it’s doubled in size). Hope this helps and good luck with your work potluck!

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32 Carol October 31, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I don’t see how this recipe could possibly work with 4 cups of flour. I followed the recipe exactly as written and as I started to add the water (slowly, thank goodness) it came into a ball of dough after less than a half cup of water was added. I would have had soup if I added 4 cups! Is this really the correct amount?

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33 Jessica October 31, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hi Carol – Please notice that the 4 cups of water is for boiling the pieces of dough. You’re only adding the 1-1/4 cups of water/yeast mixture to the flour to make the dough.

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34 Stephan January 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

This comment made me giggle :) It’s important to read ALL of the instructions ;) I’m trying your recipe this evening! It looks SO good! Thanks for sharing.

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35 Celestia November 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I made this once for a party and people couldn’t get enough! The only modification I made to the recipe was instead of using a slotted spoon to pull them out. I used a pasta steamer, filled the pot with enough water so that it was partially full in the steamer itself. Then I dunked the pretzel bits in and pulled the steamer up exactly after 45 seconds.. Saves a lot of time and is more accurate.

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36 Kim November 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Can you make these with real sugar and not Splenda? Would the amount be the same? I do not like using artificial sweeteners.

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37 Jessica November 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

Of course you can, Kim! Whenever using real sugar, just double the amount of Splenda called for. So since this recipe calls for 6-1/2 tsp of Splenda, you’d use 13 tsp (or just a little over 1/4 cup) of real sugar.

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38 Stephanie November 17, 2013 at 10:36 am

Have you ever used frozen white bread dough for this? Thanks!! It sure looks good!

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39 Jessica November 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I haven’t, Stephanie, but I’m sure it would work beautifully! Please let me know how it turns out if you do try it!

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40 Denise April 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I made these the other day, totally abused the dough, and they still came out wonderful! The nature of my abuse, in case anyone wants to similarly abuse their dough, is as follows. I really wanted these to be super fresh-out-of-the-oven for a party we were throwing, but wanted to make the dough the night before.

I made the dough Friday night, let it rise, and then threw it in the fridge overnight (still in the big ball). Saturday early evening I took out the dough, rolled the logs, cut them into bites, and then boiled and baked half of the bites before I ran out of time. The rest (totally uncooked bites) sat on the counter on a tray for probably 5 hours, then I threw the tray in the fridge overnight. The next day I boiled and baked the rest and they turned out GREAT, too.

I did add a sprinkle of baking soda to the boiling water, and took Jill’s advice and salted the wet doughy blobs after boiling/before baking. YUM!!!

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41 Jessica July 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm

What is the shelf life of the dip? And how would you store it?

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42 Jessica July 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Hi Jessica – We’ve never actually had any left over! But, if you do need to store it, just keep it covered in the fridge and when you want to warm it up, microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring every so often. Hope this helps!

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43 Shannon October 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Do you think these would turn out with Gluten Free Flour? I have Celiac’s Disease, and would love to try them.

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44 Jessica October 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Hi, Shannon! I haven’t tried it, but I bet they would. Please let me know how it works for you! :)

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