Loaded Pretzel Fries
Guys. Three words: loaded. Pretzel. Fries. I know... As you may have read from this recipe last year, creating recipes is about as into the Super Bowl (or football in general) as I get. I'll be watching, but for the commercials and this year the half-time show because JT will be headlining! Woo! Usually, I'm not a pop music kinda girl but I do love Justin Timberlake.
Think of these as a blank canvas for whatever toppings you'd like. You can treat them like nachos, chili cheese dogs, whatever. Here are some other toppings to consider: avocado, sour cream, chopped fresh tomatoes, sliced or diced jalapeno, chili, roasted red peppers, or . Get creative and go for it! Pair with your favorite beer and have fun!
Loaded Pretzel Fries
serves 8 (makes about 64 fries)
1 1/2 c water
1 T honey
1 package active-dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
4 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
4 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 t Himalayan pink salt
2/3 c baking soda
10 c water
1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water
flaky sea salt
2 T unsalted butter
2 T all purpose flour
2 c whole milk
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne (or more if you like spice)
handful of chives, finely chopped
bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
make the dough
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, honey, and salt and heat until temperature reaches 115 F. Remove from heat and pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle over the yeast and allow to bloom for about 5 minutes. With the mixer fitted with the dough hook and the mixer on low, drizzle in the butter then gradually add in the flour, about a cup at a time, and continue to mix until just combined. Turn the mixer up to medium and let the dough knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticky to the touch but tacky. (Alternatively, you can definitely make this dough by hand. Follow the same method but use a large bowl and a wooden spoon when mixing and knead dough by hand on a lightly floured surface.) Using a little bit of softened butter or a neutral oil such as avocado, lightly grease the sides and bottom of a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover and allow to rest in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
make the pretzels
Preheat oven to 450 F. Add the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a large pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, let's make the "fries". Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cut each of these pieces into 4 more pieces. You should have 32 total fries. Roll each piece into a 3 inch long baton. When the water reaches a boil, turn down to low and add about 6-8 batons to the water at a time, boiling for about 30 seconds. Remove from water using a spider or slotted spoon and lay out on parchment-lined baking trays. Brush each with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake for about 10-14 minutes, until golden brown and puffed.
make the sauce
Alright, what we're making here is a basic mornay, or cheese sauce. We're going to start with a béchamel (white sauce) and add loads of shredded cheese and all sorts of delicious flavorings to kick it up a notch (sorry for the Emeril reference). In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook the paste for about a minute or two until light golden in color. Slowly whisk in the milk until fully incorporated and mixture has thickened. Whisk in the garlic powder, salt, cayenne, and paprika. Add in the cheddar and gouda cheese, a handful at a time and stir until all the cheese has melted. Remove from heat.
load 'em up
You can serve these family-style on a large platter or tray or in individual little bowls or boats. I ordered these just for the cuteness factor but I like the family-style presentation, too. Layer the fries in your serving vessel of choice and top with a good layer of the warm cheese sauce. Sprinkle your toppings of choice on top and enjoy! If you have extra sauce, this is the perfect dip for chips, too!
Pretzel dough adapted from Alton Brown.