We love entertaining.
That is one of the many things I love about Mr Lid, he shares my passion for having people over, making them smile, its the little things… we started our entertaining days with tea light candles in brightly coloured plastic cups to add a special glow about the house- now we have a million glass jars left over form our wedding that we use. We have several playlists of all sorts of music, one for every occasion. Smelly candles that are great to relax and make a room feel warm. And we can not forget the food.
I think it is something I learnt from my mum, but when it comes to having people over, more is never too much.
Picky plates are a specialty of ours, because it is something we love to eat. A little bit of everything. But I do like to throw in one or two special things…
Girls night at our place was made possible by a Boys night up the road at our dear friends house- who would have thought having friends live at the end of the street was so handy!
So when making snacks for the girls, I had to think of things that would be good for Men playing Poker. Man food.
Only one thing came to mind- well two… Soft pretzels with warm cheese dip and cocktail sausages we bought the latter as I couldn’t make them better than the red skinned bulk packs you get from the supermarket.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites
1 1/2 cups warm water (blood temp*)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
85g unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
3 litres water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt- I used some smoked salt with garlic and herbs.
If you want sweet bites- sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar after egg washing and serve with salted caramel sauce (I will put the recipe up a bit later)
For the Pretzels: Combine the 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.
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.
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.
Preheat the oven to 230c
Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda. I boiled 1 liter of water with 1/3cup Baking Soda and changed it every so often.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, roll each piece into a long log. Cut the dough into 3cm pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. I did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking paper. 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.
Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Or if not eating right away warm in oven for 5min before serving.
*blood temp – when putting your finger in blood temp water it should not feel cold or hot it should feel the same.
This recipe was found at http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/homemade-soft-pretzel-bites/
250g Tasty Cheese (best to buy a block and hand grate as the pre grated stuff contains starch that will effect the consistency)
1 can Evaporated milk (375ml)
1Tbs Corn flour
I added 2Tbs of a lovely smokey chipotle sauce, but any hot sauce you like will do- or you could leave plain.
Pour evaporated milk into a pan- reserving about 2Tbs. Add the grated cheese to the milk and melt on a medium heat stiring frequently.
Mix the cornflour with the left over evaporated milk string to remove lumps, add this to the cheese mixture and keep stirring until the mixture thickens and bubbles. If you are using hot sauce at this stage add it.
Serve hot, if not serving straight away, reheat till it bubbles again, and the dip is smooth and silky.
This stuff is great to dip the pretzels in, I also put out some corn chips and vegetable sticks to dip as well.