Now look, I know the Superbowl (more like Stuporbowl, am I right? Too soon?) was yesterday, and I know that last week was the prime time for posting all the greatest game day recipes. Who’s really going to be posting a delicious recipe for football food the day after the Superbowl?
But wait! Is it snowing like crazy in your neck of the woods? Like, so crazy that your steps have already been shoveled twice but are already covered in a heavy white blanket again? Because if that’s the case, then these soft pretzel rolls with beer-cheese dipping sauce are going to be the perfect accompaniment for your next screw-this-it’s-too-cold-to-do-things-so-I’m-going-to-binge-watch-Sherlock day. Which, if you’re me, will be happening…shortly. Especially since the city just piled a whole bunch of snow around my car.
Pretzel rolls with beer-cheese dipping sauce (originally posted on The Curvy Carrot)
For the pretzels:
1 cup warm water (should be about body temperature, or even a little higher)
2 & 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 & 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
6 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling on the pretzels
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the warm water and the yeast. Let sit until bubbling, about five minutes. (Side note: My yeast wouldn’t bubble, probably because my water wasn’t warm enough, so I filled another bowl with very warm water and placed my mixing bowl in that bowl.) While you’re waiting, coat a large mixing bowl with a thin layer of vegetable oil and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and one teaspoon of salt. Add your flour mixture to the yeast mixture and, using the dough hook, mix the dough on low until it is just combined. Once combined, increase the speed to medium and knead until elastic and smooth, about eight minutes or so.
Roll the dough into a ball and lightly roll the dough in the pre-oiled bowl to completely coat. Cover with a light cloth or dish towel and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. I created my “warm place” by preheating the oven to 425F, which you’re going to have to do anyway, and turning on the “warming zone” on my stove. Because my bowl was plastic, however, I had to put the bowl on top of another dish towel, making a don’t-melt-into-the-stovetop buffer.
So, while you’re waiting for your dough to rise, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, coat the paper with vegetable oil, and set it aside.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down (so cathartic!) and knead it on a floured, dry surface just until it becomes smooth. Divide your dough into eight pieces and roll into oblong rolls. Place the rolls on the baking sheet, cover with your dish towel from before, and let them rise in a warm place again, until they’ve just about doubled in volume, about 15-20 minutes.
While your rolls are rising, bring six cups of water to a boil. Once the rolls have risen, stir the baking soda into the boiling water. Curvy Carrot says the water will foam up slightly. Mine foamed up a lot. It was fun! Like volcano science projects but without the vinegar stank.
Cut an “X” on top of each of the rolls, and then boil two or three rolls at a time for about two minutes per side. When they’re done, remove the rolls (I used tongs; CC used a slotted spoon), drain and place on the baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle well with your coarse salt and repeat with the remaining rolls. Once all the rolls have been boiled and salted, place the tray in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
For the beer-cheese sauce:
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups beer (I used Coors Light)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Put your butter in a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once melted, add your diced onion and bay leaf and cook until the onions are translucent and soft, about four or five minutes. Next add your flour and a pinch of salt, stirring to coat the onions completely and cook, stirring constantly, for about three or four minutes.
Slowly add your beer to the roux, whisking constantly. Next, slowly add your heavy cream, again, whisking constantly and breaking up any clumps of flour that might form.
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, and add the pepper, cloves and nutmeg, and cook, whisking occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes.
Next, remove the bay leaf and take the sauce off the heat. Slowly stir in your grated cheese. Taste, and add salt and pepper if you think the sauce needs it.