#52NewEats :: Week 15 :: Million Dollar Mac and Cheese

Million Dollar Mac and Cheese

It should come as no surprise to any of you that I’ve been a huge fan of Grilled Cheese Social since the day I found her many years ago.  She is known for coming up with some of the most epic grilled cheese combinations.  I actually haven’t tried too many of her recipes, because they can feature some wild ingredients I’m not a fan of, or cheeses I just can’t find without taking a hike to Reading Terminal Market (which is harder now that I live so far out of the city).  BUT, I recently saw her recipe for Million Dollar Mac and Cheese on Facebook, and it shot straight to the top of my To Do list!

This recipe features several easily-attainable cheeses, and duh, burrata?!  In mac and cheese?!  I never would have thought.  I mean burrata kind of christens everything it touches with its lusciousness, so why not mac and cheese?!

I really loved this mac and cheese, and so did everyone I made it for.  Check out that cheese pull though.  👆👆👆  Who can’t get behind that?!

This recipe was such a hit that I’ll be making it for more of my family at Easter tomorrow.  It will probably be one of the only things I eat bc ew ham.

You should make this recipe too.  You should also go follow GCS on all the social media sites.  She is always posting delectable food pictures on Instagram, and she has recently started doing live videos on Facebook.  She’s adorable, and she makes hella slutty food.  What’s not to like?

You can find the original recipe //here//.  I wouldn’t change a damn thing!  Those toasted herb breadcrumbs are ABSOLUTELY worth the minimal extra effort of chopping the herbs – they completely made this dish!  In fact – I might even double that part of the recipe for tomorrow!

Million Dollar Mac and Cheese

For the mac and cheese:
1 lb rotini or fusilli
2 tbsp salted butter
2 tbsp shallots, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup gruyere, shredded
1 cup muenster, shredded
1/2 cup burrata (about 1 large ball or two small ones)
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 tsp hot sauce

For the toasted herb breadcrumbs:
1 tbsp salted butter
1 tsp sage, chopped
1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp thyme leaves, stem removed
1/3 cup panko

For the mac and cheese:
1. Prepare pasta according to the directions and strain once it’s al dente.

2. In a large pot, add butter, chopped shallots, a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the shallots start to soften. Right before they begin to caramelize, add flour and whisk constantly until a roux forms. After a few minutes, the roux will start to darken and the taste of the flour will have cooked out. At this point, add heavy cream and whisk. Let the heavy cream cook for 5-10 minutes or until it begins to reduce and thicken. Add the muenster and whisk in a figure 8 motion. Then add the gruyere and keep stirring with the whisk until all the cheese has melted. Cut the burrata in half and add to the cheese sauce. Stir until melted and combined. Last, add the hot sauce and the ricotta. Salt to taste and remove from heat.

3. Turn your broiler to high. Meanwhile, add the pasta to a serving bowl and mix in the cheese sauce, little by little until the desired creaminess is reached. Top the dish with grated cheddar and place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese has crisped up and is golden orange.

For the toasted herb breadcrumbs:
Melt butter in a small pan over medium-high heat and add chopped sage, thyme and rosemary. Cook for a few minutes until the herbs have softened and the smell is irresistible. Add in the panko and continuously stir until it is golden brown and toasty. Keep an eye on this, I almost burned mine! Sprinkle toasted herb bread crumbs over broiled mac n cheese and serve!

#52NewEats :: Week 15 :: Buttermilk Cornbread

Buttermilk Cornbread

Holy cow!

Let me just start by saying that I don’t think I can say enough good things about this cornbread.  This buttermilk cornbread was absolutely amazing.  I love cornbread but I don’t often make it at home because it can be dry, crumbly, and just kind of generally unsatisfying.  BUT NO MORE!

This recipe was very easy to make, as it all came together in my stand mixer.  👍👍  I have to admit, though, as I poured the mixture into the baking pan, I couldn’t really see how it would come together in the oven and be a good cornbread.  The mixture seemed way too thin and much less like the batter I imagined.  But maybe that’s the very thing that sets it apart!!  This cornbread was moist, not crumbly at all, and held its shape very well.  We ate it warm right out of the oven topped with melted butter and I could have turned the whole darn thing into a meal right there.  This is a great way to use up that buttermilk you bought just for a few tablespoons for a salad dressing you were making, and now have almost a whole container of it left… 😉

I am already thinking of different ways to jazz up and use this cornbread – adding jalapenos and cheese, adding poblanos and fresh corn…

For now though, please go make this cornbread, because it was so frickin’ good!

You can find the original recipe //here//.

Buttermilk Cornbread

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, somewhere between cold and room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup full-fat buttermilk (I used low-fat as it was all I could find, and it turned out fine)
1/2 cup mild olive oil (I used ‘extra light olive oil’)
2 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line an 8-by-8-inch metal pan with parchment paper.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.

3. Pause the machine and add the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, mix until incorporated. Then pour in the milk, buttermilk, oil, and honey and mix just until combined. This should yield a very loose, runny batter. (Small lumps of butter are no problem, but avoid any lumps of flour. If you see them, mix the batter just a little longer or work them out with your fingertips or the tines of a fork.)

4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. You’re going to want to start checking the cornbread after 30 minutes, and if the surface turns perfectly golden brown before the time is up, loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil. Let the cornbread cool ever so slightly in the pan on a wire rack prior to slicing. This buttermilk cornbread is best served the day it’s made but keeps for up to 2 days if wrapped well.

#52NewEats :: Week 14 :: Copycat Chili’s Queso

Copycat Chili's Queso

My brother is not shy about proclaiming his love for specific restaurants or dishes.  In fact, he can be downright forceful in his opinion.  “NO.  D’ALESSANDRO’S HAS THE BEST CHEESESTEAKS IN PHILADELPHIA.  I DARE YOU TO FIND ONE BETTER.”  Sometimes, I have found him to be right, and sometimes I just think to myself, oh brother, if only you knew of the things I have had that top this.

Chili’s Queso is one of those things he’s been very passionate about over the years.  “You’re going to Chili’s?  You GOTTA get the queso.  OMG.  Like, GET THE QUESO.”  The caps are not for emphasis – he really does shout and emphasize as if he is speaking in all caps sometimes.  So when I saw this recipe for copycat Chili’s queso, I thought, well, let’s give it a go.

He’s a workaholic though so of course he couldn’t help me eat it and really judge for me whether or not it was a true copycat recipe of the OG queso.  I ended up eating some of it by myself in front of a losing Kansas game when I wasn’t really all that hungry.  It was kind of a sad moment.

But, this queso was pretty dang tasty.

I had Chili’s queso once, years ago, so far long ago that I couldn’t really tell you if it was a true imitation or not.  But it was good queso.  I was able to easily split the recipe in half, since it was only me eating it.  I’m not always a fan of Velveeta – mostly because when I have it in the house I do slutty things with it, like make //these tacos// – because it can go back to its plastic consistency pretty quickly unless you’re keeping it hot.  But this queso stayed pleasantly melty, at least for the duration that I was eating it.

All in all, I would be happy to recommend this recipe!  I cut it in half and it would be plenty for 2 people – so if you’re making a full batch, expect to feed more of a crowd.  Also, if you have a way to keep it hot – either keeping it warm in a slow cooker or maybe even in a fondue dish, do that.

Copycat Chili’s Queso

16 oz. Velveeta Cheese
1 cup milk (preferably half & half if you have it – I used whole milk)
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 15-oz can no-bean chili
3 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
Juice of 1 lime juice (about 1 tablespoon)
Tortilla chips, for serving


1. Cut velveeta cheese into cubes. Add all ingredients (except for tortilla chips) to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours or on high for 1 hour.

2. Stir until everything comes together. Cook on low for 30 minutes – 1 hour (As much time as you have before serving).

3. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

#52NewEats :: Week 13 :: Paleo Cinnamon Roasted Cashews

Paleo Cinnamon Roasted Cashews

I could eat cashews all day long.  I love them so much, but sometimes you want them to have some flavor, right?  So twice in the past 6 months I have attempted to make ______ Roasted Cashews, and I will now say, NEVER AGAIN.  Leave the flavored roasted cashews up to the experts, and just be content with plain cashews otherwise.

Why?  Well, let’s see.  The main issue is that they turn out so gooey.  Nothing like the pictures.  At least not for me.  I do not know what I have done wrong in either instance, as I followed the recipes.  The first time, I made these //spicy roasted cashews//, and while I found them quite tasty, I also found them nearly impossible to eat.  You see how in the picture, the cashews are nicely separated?  They look dry, right?  Like you could just scoop your fingers into a bowl and pop a small handful into your mouth.

Well that is NOT how they turned out.  When they cooled, they were all stuck together, and I had to pick them apart with my fingers and basically eat them one at a time.  They were tasty, but I couldn’t eat them.  What a waste.

I figured I must have had too much honey for the amount of cashews I had, or, maybe it was the honey and they were just too sticky.  I didn’t know.  So the next recipe I tried, the ones I made for this post, //cinnamon roasted cashews//, didn’t have honey, and I thought ok for SURE these would turn out better.

Nope!  All stuck together like a sticky delicious mess.  Again, I found myself standing over a bowl, grasping single cashews, or maybe even clumps, and prying them away from the others they were stuck to, in order to eat.

These are not something you could eat at your desk at work, unless you felt like licking your fingers after every munch!

So, internet, I am done with your homemade roasted nuts false hopes.  Forget it.  It’s not worth the money or the effort.

Again – I will say – these cashews WERE DELICIOUS!  But they turned out nothing like the picture, and I’m not interested in trying again to see if I get it right.  The only change I made to this recipe was I used coconut sugar instead of regular sugar, to make them Paleo-friendly.  They were plenty tasty, as long as I could get them apart to eat them!

If you try either of these recipes, please let me know how they turned out for you!  Maybe if you have a success story or know what I did wrong, I can give them another try!

Paleo Cinnamon Roasted Cashews

1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
1 cup whole or halved salted cashews
1/2 cup white sugar (or coconut sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with cooking oil generously.

2. Lightly beat the egg white with water until frothy.

3. Add cashews, then stir until well coated.

4. Mix together the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the coated cashews.

5. Toss to coat, and spread evenly on the prepared pan.

6. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden.

7. Allow cashews to cool, then store in an airtight container.

#52NewEatsFail :: Slow Cooker Texas Chili

Slow Cooker Texas Chili

It is with grave disappointment that I share with you today my very first #52NewEatsFail 🙁

Yesterday I went home rather excited to devour a bowl of thick, meaty, Texas-style chili, only to stir it up and find out it looked more like a Mexican beef stew than Texas chili!

I was REALLY bummed, and even went back to the recipe and the picture to make sure I’d followed everything correctly.  I sure did, but it looked NOTHING like the picture.

You see how the top picture has that thick, meaty texture?  Yes.  That’s Texas chili.  Texas chili has a thick, tomato-y gravy and no beans.  And this recipe turned out nothing like the picture.

FAIL.  😤

I will not call out the recipe here, I don’t think that’s fair.  Who knows, maybe I did something wrong, or they forgot to include a step or ingredient.  But if not, whatever that blogger did to doctor up their picture or style their food so that it looked a certain way, I’d call it false advertising.  I’ve just about lost all trust in that food blogger now!  This was not an accurate representation.

I’m no food or recipe n00b so trust me when I say I know what I’m doing in the kitchen.  I had my doubts when I threw everything into the slow cooker – how can this much stock cook down to that gravy?  Wouldn’t I need some tomato paste at least?  What’s going to thicken it?  But I thought well, maybe the flour coating on the beef would thicken it.  No such luck.

No worries, the food didn’t go to waste – my husband will eat it.  I even froze half of it so he’d have some for lunches another time.  But not me, that’s not what I wanted to eat!  On to find another Texas chili recipe, I reckon….

#12NewTreats :: March :: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

In case you were unaware, March is my birthday month!

I normally like to celebrate as many times as possible, going to as many restaurants as people feel like taking me to, eating as much as people feel like feeding me.

This year was no bueno.

I woke up on my birthday with a sore throat, but thought it was allergies or a cold coming on.  I popped some Sudafed and felt better in a couple hours, then met my lovely coworkers for lunch and found I didn’t have much of an appetite.  Uh oh.  That usually does mean I’m getting sick.  (I mean, I always have an appetite.)  So I went to my next task for the day, which was some pampering at the salon.  I got my hair cut and a pedicure.  And halfway through the pedicure I could feel the medicine wearing off and I just started spiraling downwards, and fast.

By the time I got home an hour or so later, I had cancelled my birthday dinner plans with my family at a new steakhouse I’d found.  Such a sad.  😩  I ended up spending the night on the couch fighting off a fever that got as high as 103.7 at one point.  By the time I went to bed, I thought my fever had broken, but it got up again pretty high overnight.  Ugh.

I ended up cancelling my dinner plans the next night with my girl squad.  More sad.  I went to the doctor and they diagnosed me with strep.  Wah!!

Also ended up cancelling my dinner plans a couple days later with the rest of my family!

My birthday sucked this year!

But I’ve been trying to make up for it since.  We had a couple of make-up dinners, but it’s never the same as when you’re in the birthday spirit.  By a week later my birthday spirit had abandoned me and it just felt like another dinner out.  I have a make-up dinner with my girl squad next Friday.  And then all the make-ups are done.  lol

Well anyway.  To get to the point of the recipe.  I fought and fought and fought my kid on the 12 New Treats recipe for this month.  My argument was, hey, it’s my birthday month, we should make something that I choose.  And everything I picked, she shot down.  🙄  I finally just put my foot down and said NO.  WE ARE MAKING THIS FUDGY CHOCOLATE CAKE.  LOOK HOW DELICIOUS IT LOOKS.  NO?  OK.  WELL THEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT IT.  THIS IS WHAT WE ARE MAKING.

And like all the other make-ups I had to do for my birthday, this cake also got delayed until this weekend!  Well, it was worth the wait!!

I messed up the recipe though.  I put too much cocoa in.  It didn’t taste bad at all.  It was very chocolatey, obviously, but it wasn’t a problem with me.  This recipe was super easy and, I noticed, has no eggs in it, so if you are looking for an egg-free chocolate dessert, this could be it!

We of course topped it with vanilla ice cream and it was da bomb.

You can find the original recipe //here//.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup packed brown sugar
1¼ cups hot water
Vanilla ice cream, if desired for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine ¾ cup of the granulated sugar, flour, ¼ cup of the cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, melted butter and vanilla and mix until smooth.

3. Pour the batter into an lightly greased 2-quart ceramic dish or a 9-inch square baking pan (if it’s a non-stick pan, you don’t have to grease it) and spread evenly.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, remaining ¼ cup cocoa and mix well. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter in your dish or pan. Microwave the water for 2-3 minutes, until very hot, but not boiling or simmering. Pour the hot water over the top – but do not stir!

5. Bake 35-40 minutes if using a ceramic dish (or 30-35 minutes if using a metal pan) – or until the center is almost set. Remove your dish from the oven and allow it to stand for 15 minutes.

6. After 15 minutes, spoon the cake into individual serving bowls – making sure to spoon the fudgy sauce from the bottom of the pan over the top of the cake. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired and serve immediately.

#52NewEats :: Week 12 :: Paleo Bearnaise Sauce

Paleo Bearnaise Sauce

A few years ago, before it became ridiculously popular and was still relatively unheard of, I went strictly Paleo for more than a month (no grains, no sugar, no dairy, no legumes) and saw some serious results in the way I looked and felt.  Paleo was really hard for me to maintain though, because I don’t really like enough of a variety of proteins and vegetables to keep it interesting.  So since then, I have dabbled off and on with the Paleo diet – sometimes I will go strict for a month to clean up my diet; sometimes I will be Paleo during the week and eat whatever I want on the weekends.  And sometimes I just go off the rails completely and turn into a pasta-eating fiend.

What can I say, ya girl loves carbs.

But then, with the rise of Crossfit in popularity, I feel like I also saw an equivalent rise in the popularity of the Paleo diet.  I mean, back when I went Paleo a few years ago, I could barely find any Paleo recipes on Pinterest.  It seemed like the same 20 recipes over and over.  I had to get creative with menu planning.  Now – gosh.  Go search ‘Paleo Recipes’ on Pinterest and be wowed.  They have recipes for Paleo sandwich bread now, Paleo fudge, Paleo brownies, Paleo hamburger rolls, Paleo this and Paleo that… it’s a lot easier to be Paleo now than it was when I did it!

I even found a cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen (whom I trust on all things food) called //Paleo Perfected//.  You know I had to buy it!  Well imagine my delight when I paged through to find a recipe for Paleo Bearnaise sauce…. 😍

Bearnaise sauce is only the greatest sauce of all time.  I put it on steak, I dip French fries in it, I ladle it all over baked potatoes.  I use it indiscriminately on anything and everything.

(Shh.  I have even been known to dip pretzels in it.)

But anyway, I saw this recipe and had to try it.  Homemade Bearnaise sauces are not easy to make – there is much tempering of yolks and hot melted butter and whisking and such.  But this was a blender recipe, so I figured I’d give it a go.

I happened to think this sauce turned out very good.  It was pretty vinegar-y, but I modified it a little bit.  I kept some of the shallots in the sauce, while the recipe asks you to discard them.  Also, I like a tangier, more vinegar-y Bearnaise.  My husband wasn’t a huge fan, but I loved it.

(For the record, we both thought the homemade //blender Bearnaise// by Ina Garten he’d made for Valentine’s Day was much better and more traditional-tasting – but that was not Paleo.  😉)

Anyway, I hope you make this and enjoy it!  This one is staying in my recipe rotation fo’ sho’!

Paleo Bearnaise Sauce
From America’s Test Kitchen’s book, Paleo Perfected

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 shallot, sliced thin
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
10 tablespoons ghee, melted and still hot

1. Bring vinegar, tarragon sprigs, and shallots to a simmer in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until vinegar is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 5-7 minutes. Discard tarragon sprigs. If you like shallots in your Bearnaise sauce, leave a few in the skillet and discard the rest; otherwise, discard altogether. (I chose to keep a few, it was delicious.)

2. Process egg yolks, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and vinegar mixture in blender until frothy, about 10 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in hot melted ghee until fully emulsified, about 1 1/2 minutes. Adjust sauce consistency with hot water as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Pour into a gravy boat or a bowl. Stir in finely chopped fresh tarragon, season with salt and pepper, and serve with a big, juicy filet mignon.

#52NewEats :: Week 11 :: Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy

Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy

I’m not sure if you’ve paid much attention or not, but, I love Mexican food.  LOVE.  Mexican food.  Nachos are my absolute favorite food ever, but, enchiladas come in as a close second.

I typically prefer chicken enchiladas, but these beef enchiladas caught my eye some time ago, mostly because of the enchilada sauce recipe.  Most enchilada sauce recipes I’ve seen use Ancho or Guajillo chilies, and this was the first I’d seen using Pasilla and Chipotle chilies.  I’ve been on a hunt to recreate my favorite Mexican restaurant’s enchilada sauce, and this combination sounded unique enough that I thought I’d give it a shot.

Well, I wasn’t disappointed!  I thought these enchiladas were pretty damn tasty!  I would make them again, for sure.  The only thing I would change is I would stir more enchilada sauce into the beef mixture prior to stuffing them.  I like the innards of an enchilada to be somewhat saucy.  Also, I forgot to add cheese to the inside, and I would definitely do that too.

I always struggle with corn tortillas, and in fact I was half expecting them to fall apart once I scooped them out of the dish to serve them, but they held together very well.  I heated them up according to package directions (not recipe directions) prior to rolling.  Maybe that was the trick.  😊

You can find the original recipe //here//.  I am actually so excited to have found this blog, because so many of the recipes look amazing!  I shall go troll now and pin like a fiend!

Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Gravy
Serves 4-6

For the pasilla-chipotle chili gravy:
1 or 2 dried chipotle chiles (depending on how hot you want it), seeds and stems removed
4 dried pasilla chiles, seeds and stems removed
1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the enchiladas:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced and divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

1. In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the pasilla and chipotle chiles on each side for about 10 seconds or just until they start to puff. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Leave the heat on until water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Once hydrated, discard the soaking water and rinse the chiles. Place in a blender.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, in heat up the vegetable oil and while occasionally stirring cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Place cooked onion and garlic into the blender, along with the cumin, oregano, and the broth. Blend until smooth.

3. In a pot, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil on low heat, whisking in the flour until well incorporated. Pour in the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust other seasonings as needed.

4. Meanwhile, in a skillet on medium heat (I use the same one that I used for the onions and garlic) add the ground beef, half of the diced onions and garlic. While stirring occasionally, cook the meat until browned, about 10 minutes. (If you like, you can drain the extra fat once the meet is browned.) Stir in the cumin and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust seasonings. Stir into the meat 1/4 cup of the chili gravy.

5. To make the enchiladas, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking dish. Heat tortillas according to package directions, and keep warm in a towel as needed. Lay each tortilla on a plate or clean cooking surface and add about 2 tablespoons of beef and some of the cheese. Roll the tortilla and place in greased baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining grated cheese and diced onions. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.

#52NewEats :: Week 10 :: Soft Pretzel Bites

Soft Pretzel Bites

After a few weeks of #52NewEats recipes that fell flat with my daughter, I thought I’d look for something more up her alley.  And voila!  I found this recipe pinned from way back in da day for soft pretzel bites.

My kid LOVES soft pretzels.  Like every time we go to Target – “Mom can I get a soft pretzel?”  Lucky her she lives in the Land of Soft Pretzels.  Philly is known for them.  I love them too – particularly after a workout.  There is just something about the carby, salty soft pretzel that sets me right after busting my ass at the gym.

So kiddo was pretty excited when I told her we’d be having these for one of our ‘snacks for dinner’ nights.  This recipe took some planning – you have to let the dough rise for a while – but they were very good!

My husband is a salt addict, and some time ago I’d been at some market in Amish country and found a bag of pretzel salt.  I actually bought it for him as a joke, figuring he would sit on the couch and just scoop it into his mouth.  Luckily, he didn’t.  So luckily, we had pretzel salt in the house already for this recipe!  You can probably find pretzel salt in any kind of market that sells items in bulk – like those bags and bags of gummi bears, or tubs of candies or cupcake decorations.  Otherwise, just go with what the recipe recommends!

You can find the original recipe //here//.

Soft Pretzel Bites

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda (for boiling the pretzels)
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Pretzel salt (or coarse sea salt)

1. Combine the 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Add the salt and flour 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 side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

3. Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and carefully add the baking soda. It will boil over, so add slowly and be careful!

5. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.

6. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches, for about 30 seconds per batch. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed heavily with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

7. Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.