These pretzel bites are to die for. I've made them dozens of times now, and they are so delicious and soft and buttery. And I probably shouldn't admit this, but Geoff and I polished off an entire batch between the two of us in one evening. They're just that good! I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, except that I only used a tablespoon of baking soda in the water, and tossed them in 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a plastic bag. Also, at least when I make them, they really want to stick to the pan, so I baked them on a silicone mat sprayed liberally with cooking spray, and that seemed to do the trick. If you're looking for an awesome (and easy!) appetizer for your New Year's Eve party tonight, these are it!
Mel's Kitchen Cafe
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) very warm water
1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combine. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour, as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft and smooth. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone mat or parchment paper and lightly greasing it. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into).
Cut each strip of dough into about 6-8 pieces, about 1 to 1 ½ inches in width. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution, and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzels for 7-8 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up. Eat the pretzels warm and enjoy!