Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pepperoni Pretzels

I love pretzels hot from the oven. And I love me some pepperoni. So, color me happy when I stumbled upon this recipe combining my two favorite ingredients! This is a great game day snack. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and whip up a batch of these for the Big Game between the Packers and the Steelers.

Pepperoni Pretzels
Yields 28 small pretzels

1 ½ tablespoons dry active yeast
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
2 cups shredded mozzarella
½ cup shredded parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/3 cups diced pepperoni
Coarse salt

Mix 1 ½ cups warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F), the yeast and agave in a bowl. Set aside 5 minutes.

In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, pulse the whole-wheat flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour and the sea salt. Add 1 egg and the yeast mixture and pulse in 10-second intervals until the dough comes together, about 3 pulses. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead 10 to 12 times, adding up to 3/4 cup more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into 4 equal portions; cover with a clean towel.

On a floured board, roll out one piece of dough into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick, with a shorter side facing you. Sprinkle ½ cup mozzarella across the middle of the dough; fold the bottom third of the dough over the cheese, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons parmesan and 1/3 cup pepperoni over the folded part. Fold the top third of the dough over the parmesan and pepperoni. Reroll the dough into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Cut into seven 11-by-2-inch strips.

One at a time, pinch the cut long edges of each strip together and roll into a 12-inch rope with your hands. Transfer the rope to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Grab the ends and bring them toward each other, forming a U shape, then cross the left end over the right end to make a pretzel shape. Cross the left end over the right again to make a twist in the middle.

Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of dough and the remaining cheese, spacing the pretzels 3 inches apart. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes; preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Brush the pretzels with the egg; sprinkle with parmesan and coarse salt. Bake until browned, 16 to 18 minutes (you may have to turn down the heat to 425 if the pretzels begin to burn. If that’s the case, just check on the pretzels periodically to ensure they are cooking thoroughly).

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