Full disclosure, I am NOT a football person. In general, I love sports! Kentucky is basketball country so it’s pretty much bred within me, I love a good baseball game, the Olympics pretty much take over my life every couple years, and don’t even get me started on soccer, which is by far my fave. Alas, some people do enjoy football, and it IS that time of year. So, it’s up to me to provide you with yummy recipes that will make you a tailgating star! Nothing is more crowd pleasing than carbs and cheese, and these Pimento Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bites have plenty of both.
Sure, these pretzel bites take some work, but in my opinion, they are so much fun to make, especially if you enlist a friend to help. The filling should be made a day ahead of time in order to allow the individual balls to freeze, but this also saves you time the day of the big game! I can’t wait to experiment with more fillings, I’m thinking a jalapeno popper style filling may be in order next time!
- ½ lb extra-sharp white cheddar
- ½ lb extra-sharp (yellow) cheddar
- 1 (7-oz) jar pimentos, drained and finely chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- cayenne to taste
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- Finely grate cheeses into a large bowl. Stir in pimentos, black pepper, cayenne, and salt with a fork. Stir in mayonnaise, mashing mixture with fork until relatively smooth.
- Scoop rounded teaspoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Freeze for at least two hours, or overnight.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 cups water
- Heaping ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Frozen pimento cheese balls
- In the bottom of a stand mixer, combine water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle yeast over. Let set for 5 minutes until foamy. Add in flour, salt, and melted butter. Using the dough hook, mix the dough until combined on a low speed, Increase the speed to medium and mix for 5-7 minutes until dough becomes smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Rinse bowl off and then grease with canola oil. Place dough back in the greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel on your counter, in a warm spot for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has risen, cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll dough into a rope 1-inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut into 1-inch bites. Using your palm, flatten the bite and fill with one heaping teaspoon of the chili. Close dough around a frozen cheese ball and re-form into the pretzel bite shape, if needed, roll to smooth edges. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large stock pot to a rolling boil. Add baking soda. Working in batches as necessary, add bites to the boiling water. Cook for 1 minute, flipping halfway through.
- Transfer pretzels to a greased baking sheet. Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl. Brush pretzels with egg wash and then sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
Method inspired by Cooking for Keeps