We don't have a lot of traditions around here, but one we keep up with is fondue on New Year's Eve! We got a fondue set for our wedding and didn't even take it out of the box for 2 years. Then, we realized how freaking delicious fondue was and set out to make it at least every NYE. This year, I wanted to up the ante a little and make some home made pretzel bites to go with it instead of store bought. Plus, it was a change to try out the dough hook on my new mixer!!
Here are our tried and true cheese fondue and pretzel bite recipes! Happy New Year!
Soft Pretzel Bites
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
6 tbsp butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 quarts of water
3/4 cup (yes, cup) baking soda
1 tbsp cold water
Combine water, sugar, yeast, and butter. Mix with a dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add salt and flour to bowl and mix on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and continue kneading until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl (about 3-4 minutes). If the dough seems too moist, add flour 1 tbsp at a time.
Remove dough from bowl and knead into a ball. Using vegetable oil, grease the inside of a bowl. Place dough ball in the bowl and grease with oil. Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, or about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bring the water to a boil and add baking soda.
Remove dough from bowl and place on the counter. Divide into 8 equal pieces. I found a pizza cutter good for doing the job. Roll each piece into a long rope about 24" long and using the pizza cutter, slice into one inch pieces. They kind of look like pizza poppers!
Boil pretzel bites in baking soda water solution in small batches of about a dozen at a time. Gather up the pieces in your hand so you can quickly drop them into the water one by one. Boil for approximately 20-25 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon.
Place pretzel bites on a greased baking sheet. They will be wet and slimy, but that's okay. Make sure they're not touching.
Brush the tops with egg wash and season with Kosher salt. Bake for 15-18 minutes until they are puffed up and golden brown.
This recipe makes a bazillion little pretzel bites - like, 4-5 dozen easy. Good thing too...they're addictive! Oh, and if the baking soda and water makes a mess of your stove, don't worry - I totally did the same thing...
Adapted from Bobby Flay
1/2 pound Jarlsburg cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground mustard
In a small bowl, coat cheese with cornstarch and set aside.
Rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic, then discard.
Over medium heat, add wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir cheese into the simmering liquid. Melting the cheese slowly makes for a smoother fondue. Melted too fast, it can get gritty.
Once smooth, stir in ground mustard and nutmeg.
Transfer to a hot fondue pot and enjoy with a variety of dippers! We often dip steak, bread, shrimp, granny smith apples, cauliflower, broccoli, or pretzels. This recipe makes enough for about 4 people to snack on. Adjust accordingly.
Adapted from Tyler Florence