Today I was planning on posting a different recipe, but I’m feeling very German at the moment so pretzels and beer were a must.
By “feeling very German”, I mean that my whole house is now obsessed with DuoLingo (if you want to learn a language, look it up, it’s free and I’ve been using it for years now!), and I just discovered a kick-butt German music artist that I have been listening to non-stop for the past week.
Non-stop. I’m listening to him right now, in fact.
Do you ever get like that when you discover a new song/band? I will literally play the same song 10 times in a row if I have my headphones in. Tell me I’m not alone.
Anyway, back to the pretzels. Just like I get obsessed with songs and bands, I get obsessed with foods. I’ve said this a million times before on this blog, and I’ll say it a million times more, I’m sure, but pretzels will never get old for me.
I worked at Auntie Anne’s for 7 years, and pretzels are still one of my favorite foods of all time. They’re insanely delicious. Salty, fluffy, and warm. What more could a girl want in life?
Oh wait, I know the answer to that question. Cheese.
And… actually, that’s about it.
By the way, I know I was saying that I was feeling very German and you may have noticed from my first picture that I used Guinness… which is not German (but sláinte to all of my fellow Irish folk). I was out of German beer.
The Pull-Apart Pretzel Skillet with Beer Cheese Dip is still great with Guinness, though. I’m going to pretend that I did it on purpose to honor different parts of my heritage. You can use whatever kind of beer you’d like, as long as you promise to pull apart those steaming pretzel rolls and dunk them in the beer cheese before snacking away.
Football preseason is only just over a week away, and everyone is getting their fantasy leagues together. Today feels almost like fall with it’s cool breeze and tiny peak of sun. Doesn’t it just make you want to make these?
Can’t you imagine making them for Game Day, or for an Oktoberfest celebration? Don’t forget about them after August comes and goes! I know I posted this a bit early (don’t worry, summer is still here!), but if you practice making it now, you’ll have it perfected as your go-to autumn appetizer once the time comes.
Or, you know, use whatever excuse you need to make this Pull-Apart Pretzel Skillet with Beer Cheese Dip immediately because it’s fantastic and can’t wait until fall. It just can’t. You won’t regret it.
- 1½ cups warm water
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and let cool
- ¼ cup baking soda, for baking solution
- 8 cups water, for baking solution
- 1 whole egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
- Kosher salt, for topping
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon ranch seasoning packet
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- ⅓ cup beer of your choice
- 1 green onion, chopped, to garnish (optional)
- In a large bowl or bowl of a countertop stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit 5 minutes, or until it gets a bit foamy. If it gets foamy, it means that your yeast is good and you're set to continue. If it never gets foamy, your yeast might be bad and your pretzels will not turn out, so make sure you do check!
- Stir in 3½ cups of the flour, the Kosher salt, and the melted butter. Mix until well combined. Slowly add more flour, a bit at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. You may use the entire 4½ cups, or you might need a bit less.
- Lift the dough from the bowl and spray the bowl with nonstick spray. Place the dough back down, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Line a pan with parchment paper and spray your skillet or baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 16 equal-sized pieces. Take each piece and shape into balls by pulling each corner toward the middle and pinching together. Place pinched-side down on the parchment paper lined sheet. Loosely cover again with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise again for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring the 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, slowly add in the baking soda. Make sure you add it slowly or the water could boil over!
- Put the rolls (1-3 at a time, depending on how big your pot is), in the water pinched side down. Boil for 30 seconds, then flip and boil the other side for another 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pretzel rolls from the water and place back on the baking sheet to cool. Continue until all of the pretzels have been boiled in the baking solution.
- Arrange the pretzels around the outside of the prepared skillet. Squeeze them together so they fit snugly. You may not be able to fit all of the pretzels-- if not, that's okay. You can bake the remaining ones separately.
- Cover once more and let sit for 5 minutes. As you wait, prepare the Beer Cheese Dip. Combine the cream cheese and ranch seasoning in a medium-sized bowl using a handheld mixer. Slowly add in a bit of beer and a bit of shredded cheese as you blend, until all has been added.
- Scoop the Beer Cheese Dip into the center of the skillet.
- Brush the pretzels with the beaten egg, and then sprinkle with Kosher salt. Using a sharp knife, make X-shaped slices in the top of the pretzel rolls. It's okay if they're not perfect, mine never are.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pretzels are deep golden brown and the cheese has browned on top. Sprinkle the cheese with chopped green onion and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.