Pizza Pretzel Bites

Today is one of my favorite days of the year…the start of college football season. Yeah, yeah I know, a few other teams have been playing the past few days, but it doesn’t technically start until the Buckeyes play. My husband and I are huge Ohio State Fans. :D It kind of comes with the territory growing up in Columbus, Ohio. Although neither Andrew or I chose to go to undergrad at Ohio State, Andrew did end up going to Ohio State for medical school. We have been to many games over the years and have never missed a game even if it is against an unranked team. ;) Andrew and his brother even went to cheer on Ohio State when they went to the National Championship Game in 2002. Now that we have moved to Peoria (over seven hours away) we can’t go to all the games we want. But that doesn’t stop us from flying our OSU flag, wearing our jerseys and beads and making homemade Buckeyes to eat during the game. We are very excited that the Buckeyes will be playing Illinois in Champaign on October 15…you can bet where we will be that day! ;)

We usually end up ordering a pizza and drinking a few cold drinks as we cheer on the Buckeyes. I wanted to make some pizza bites for the first Ohio State game of the season, so I searched on Foodgawker and found these delicious pretzel pizza bites on Two Pea’s & Their Pod. Pizza and pretzels together? Yes, please! One of my favorite appetizers to make for game day are Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bites, so I knew that these would be a hit!

You can stuff these the night before and place them in the refrigerator. When you are ready to make just let them rise on the counter while you boil the water and preheat the oven. Just boil, bake and serve. You can be back to watching your favorite team instead of messing around in the kitchen. Just make sure you make enough if you are having a few friends over for the game, these go fast! Serve with warm pizza sauce for the perfect snack or party appetizer. Oh yeah…and GO BUCKS! :D

Pizza Pretzel Bites

Yield: about 4 ½ dozen pretzel bites

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Canola oil
Pepperoni slices, cut into small pieces
Shredded mozzarella cheese
5 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt
Pizza sauce-for dipping

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the water, sugar, yeast, and butter. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour to the yeast mixture. Knead dough at medium speed until a smooth and elastic ball forms, 3 to 4 minutes. If dough is sticky, add 1 tablespoons of flour at a time until dough comes together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 21 inch rope. Cut the dough into 3-inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.

Roll each bite flat with a rolling pin.

Stuff with pepperoni and cheese.

Fold over the dough and pinch the ends. Place on a baking sheet and continue until all pretzel bites are stuffed.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Carefully boil pretzels in batches. Boil for about 30 seconds.

Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve warm with pizza sauce for dipping.

Source: adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod, originally from Bobby Flay

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