Listen guys, I'm originally from Wisconsin and my heritage is largely German so if there's one thing I know how to do, it's cheese. Today I'm giving you my recipe for beer cheese and pretzel bites. Everyone should have a tasty appetizer/party food recipe up their sleeve and this is one of mine. It's great with pretzels, but it goes well with other things too like veggies!
This is a recipe Nathan and I like to make together and it's nice to have a second set of hands to make the process go a little quicker so grab a partner and let's get going!
You'll want to start off with the pretzels because they take a little more time.
Start by combining your water, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Allow these to sit for about five minutes, then add your flour. Mix until everything is thoroughly combined.
If you're using a stand mixer, keep mixing until the dough forms a ball and doesn't stick to the edges of the bowl. If your dough is still sticky, you can add a little more flour.
Next, add your tablespoon of oil over the dough and toss it around in the bowl until it is thoroughly covered in oil. This will help keep your dough from drying out as it rises.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour.
When the dough is done rising, boil a large pot of water (about 10 cups or so) with baking soda mixed in. You can also preheat your oven at this point to 450°. While you wait for your water to boil, start to roll out your dough. The easiest way to do this is to chop it into sections ( I like to use a bench scraper, but a knife works) and then roll each of those sections into a long "snake". Then chop your "snakes" into bite sized pieces. Your bites will puff up a little so don't chop them too large.
Add several of your dough bites at a time into your boiling water with a slotted spoon and let them boil for about 30 seconds until they start to float and take them out.
The next step is laying them out on a greased parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Create an egg wash with an egg and a couple tablespoons of water and brush each bite with a little egg wash. Then sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt and pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes until they're golden brown. Let them cook for about a minute on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a serving dish.
I start my cheese as my pretzels are baking so everything finishes at roughly the same time.
Melt your butter in a medium sauce pan on low heat and whisk in your flour. Whisk in your milk adding a little at a time. Add your beer (whatever kind you like) as well as Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and all your spices. Turn your stove up to medium heat and continue to stir until the sauce thickens and begins to bubble. Now you're ready to stir in your cheese a handful at a time. Choosing a really sharp cheddar cheese will do wonders with this recipe and give your dip a really dynamic flavor. At this point you can add more cheese or more beer to taste. If you want a spicier dip, add a little more cayenne pepper.
Once the cheese is fully melted, your beer cheese is ready to serve! Just sprinkle a little paprika on top for looks and you're good to go!
It's best served warm, but the flavors in this cheese dip are so great that it's pretty good lukewarm as a spread too! If I'm serving this at a party and I know it'll sit out for awhile, I'll put it in a little fondue pot so it stays nice and warm and melted the entire time.
And like I said earlier, this cheese is delicious with pretzel bites, but it's really great paired with other foods too so dip whatever your heart desires!
I'll admit, these recipes are a little heavy on the instructions, but it's simple once you get the hang of it and it's a lot of fun to make with someone. And now you have the perfect appetizer to enjoy or bring to a party that is sure to impress!