Saturday, 1 February 2014

Cheesy Pretzel Bites

We're gearing up for Superbowl Sunday, how about you?  Three of us are big football fans, so the game itself is almost as exciting as the food being served.  I almost didn't get to host a party this year, if Luke had his way.  We offered to let him have some friends over for the big game, but I could sense some reluctance on his part.  After some further questioning he admitted his concern, "mom, you don't know how to cook food for a Superbowl.  It's too healthy."

Said with kindness and love, he was trying to let me down slowly without admitting the issue.  I took it all in stride and immediately let him know that we could break some food rules and eat not-so-healthy snacks on this day.  Of course this didn't stop me from trying to find at least one dish that could be added to the menu without giving away it's nourishing qualities.  I'm not going to pretend this is health food, but it at least includes some whole grains via the pretzel crumbs and perhaps some protein via the egg coating and cheese filling.
I liked it best dipped in some spicy apple jelly I canned in the fall, while Don and Luke thought marinara or ketchup was the best vice.  Jos preferred to eat them on their own with no dip at all.  Either way, they made a nice afternoon snack whether you're watching the big game or not.  You might even have all the ingredients in your home already, making them an even easier snack to pull off.  The measurements are approximate for flour and pretzel crumbs, so you may need a little more.  Our second time making them we needed a bit more egg as well.

Cheesy Pretzel Bites

adapted from A Spicy Perspective
2 cups mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes 3/4" each
1 egg (may need a 2nd egg)
3 Tbsp water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups crushed whole grain pretzels
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Cut the cheese  into 3/4 inch segments and lay out on a plate. Freeze for about 10 min, or up to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put pretzels in Ziploc bag and crush using a rolling pin, until a fairly small crumb is created.  Then pour into a bowl and mix in paprika.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and water together. Then pour the flour in a third bowl. Remove half the cheese cubes from the freezer. Taking a couple at a time, dunk them in egg wash, then flour, then egg wash again. After the second dunk in egg wash, roll in the crushed pretzels and lay them on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cheese cubes out of the freezer. 
Bake 10-12 min, until lightly browned and cheese possibly bubbling out.  Once out of the oven, cool for 2-3 minutes before serving.  Enjoy with apple jelly, pizza sauce, mustard or ranch dressing.

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