Put Together a Holiday Pretzel Bar

The holidays aren’t complete without some yummy homemade treats.



Becky Low shares how to have a fun pretzel bar for the holidays.

Soft Pretzels
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 envelop dry active yeast (about 2 ½ teaspoons)
¼ cup sugar (may reduce sugar if desired)
4 cups flour, more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
6 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt, cinnamon sugar
Melted butter for brushing
Dipping sauce of choice (see below)

Stir together warm water, yeast and 1-teaspoon sugar; set aside 5-10 minutes to dissolve.



Whisk together about 3 ¾-cups flour, remaining sugar and salt. Stir in yeast and melted butter. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead in remaining flour, continue to knead until smooth. Place dough in clean oiled bowl, cover loosely and allow to raise until double in size (about 1 hour).



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2-large baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Beat together egg yolk with 1-tablespoon water, set aside.



Punch down or remove air from dough. Divide in half, place half the dough back in bowl and cover. Cut remaining dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope about 24-30 inch long rope. Form each rope into a “U” shape; bring ends together and twist; place twist inside the now created circle for form the classic pretzel shape. Place pretzels on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.



Whisk until dissolved 6-cups water and the baking soda. Pour into a large wide shallow pan and bring to a boil. One pretzel at a time in boiling soda water for 30 seconds; remove with a large slotted spatula and place back on baking sheet. Brush with egg and water mixture, sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Serve warm with dipping sauce.



Notes:

If desired, eliminate coarse salt; bake as directed above; dip warm pretzels in cinnamon and sugar. Experiment with flavored salts, and seasonings to taste preference.
Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup heavy cream (more to taste)

Soften cream cheese in microwave as needed. Stir together until well blended softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Thin to desired consistency by stirring in 1-tablespoon cream at a time. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, warm in microwave in 10-second bursts, stirring between bursts. As needed, add additional cream to thin. Sprinkle top with cinnamon.
Cranberry Cheese Dip
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup whole cranberry sauce
1 orange
Chopped pecans, garnish to taste

Combine cream cheese and cranberry sauce (if needed, microwave to soften in 10 second burst, stirring between burst). Zest or finely grate the peel of 1 orange. Squeeze juice from orange. Stir half the zest and 2-3 tablespoons orange juice into cream cheese mixture. Add additional juice and zest to create desired consistency and taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. As needed, microwave 5-10 seconds and thin with additional juice. Garnish with chopped pecans.
Cheese Pretzel Dip
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
2-4 teaspoons ranch dressing mix, more or less to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheese
¼ cup ginger ale
Sliced green onions, garnish to taste

As needed, soften cream cheese in microwave. Blend together cream cheese, 2-teaspoons ranch dressing mix and sharp cheese. Stir in ginger ale 1-tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Dip will stiffen up as it cools, microwave in 10-second bursts, stirring between bursts. Add additional ginger ale as needed to create desired consistency. Garnish with sliced green onions.
Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
¼ cup mustard
¼ cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
1 tablespoon honey, more or less to taste

May use half coarse country dijon mustard and half yellow mustard. May also substitute a spicy mustard according to taste. Whisk together all ingredients; adjust honey to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Becky Low represents The Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada. For delicious dairy recipes and nutrition information go to
www.dairycouncilutnv.com or Facebook www.facebook.com/DairyUTNV.
For nutrition research go to www.nationaldairycouncil.org.

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