Baking Through the Alphabet: J is for Jalapeño Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Poppers

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I’ve spent the past hour figuring out how to start this post. So in a nutshell:

  • Happy Spring!
  • Happy spring quarter, AKA my last quarter of college
  • the working life is tiring, but I am grateful.
  • God is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9

Quite possibly the shortest introduction I’ve ever had. Maybe I’ll do it this way from now on. Hah, we shall see.

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This one is a mouthful–jalapeño bacon cheddar pretzel poppers…or jalapeño bacon cheddar cream cheese pretzel balls….or jalapeño cheddar bacon cheese pretzels. I don’t know, and I’ll probably never have a consistent title for this one, but as long as it starts with a j, I’m ok.

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I started these off with the mindset that I wasn’t going to eat any because I’m not a fan of unsweetened cream cheese or jalapeños. That ended up failing, and I ate some from all four batches. (Side note, these pictures are actually from round 4 with Sam’s new lens. The other pictures were no bueno.) I didn’t think I’d like the cream cheese and jalapeño combo, but it worked, but probably because of everything else–the pretzel dough, the bacon, and the cheese. They taste the best when they’re hot out of the oven, but if not, just microwave it for a few seconds and they are good to go!

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One more thing, the dough from this recipe doesn’t require any rises. I know it sounds strange, but it works. Also, the original recipe called for beer in the dough. But being the 20-year-old I am…I just used water, and it still tasted perfectly fine (although I don’t have beer dough to compare it to..). Just saying, water works too.

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Jalapeño Bacon Cheddar Pretzel Poppers
Adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian
Makes about 36 pretzel poppers

Ingredients:

For the dough:
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
12 ounces warm water, can also use milk or beer
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pretzel tops

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (or cheddar cheese)
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeños
12 ounces bacon, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

To finish:
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 cups hot water
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Stir together warm water, yeast and sugar. Add the flour and salt, and knead until the dough comes together in a ball. If the dough is too sticky to come together, add some water. The dough should be tacky, not sticky.

In a medium bowl, mix together both cheeses, the bacon, and jalapeños. It’s important for the cream cheese to be softened, otherwise you’ll have a hard time getting everything combined. Add optional salt and pepper (I added them because I was scared the filling would be too bland).

Sprinkle clean countertop with 1/4 cup flour. Place dough on floured countertop, and knead in the flour until it is no longer tacky. Form the dough into a ball. You want to get 36 balls out of this ball, and there are two ways: 1) eyeball it. or 2) Quarter the ball of dough. Roll each quarter into a fat log, and cut each log into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a log, and cut that into 3 pieces. You should end up with 36 pieces in the end.

In a large bowl, add the hot water and baking soda (the water will react a little to the soda, don’t worry).

Roll each dough piece into a ball and flatten into a circle. Add a tablespoon of filling into the center of the dough circle, and pull the dough over the filling, pinching the edges closed. (it’s sort of like making dumplings, if you’ve done that before). Gently roll the dough into a ball. Place 3-4 stuffed dough balls (depending how big your bowl is) into the hot water mixture for a few seconds (or while you prepare the next few dough balls). Remove the dough balls from water and place onto the baking sheet. Repeat the process until all the dough pieces are stuffed and dunked in the baking soda/water mixture.

Place the dough balls onto the parchment paper. Make sure they aren’t touching. Brush each ball with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. I sprinkled mine with garlic salt!

Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Enjoy!

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Until next time,

Soli deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

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I’m picky. I don’t like spicy food (I’m getting there though!), whole tomatoes, peppers, onions, green onions, sashimi, mustard, ranch dressing, and the list continues. And on that list is nuts (not to mention that people call me nuts because my list is so nuts. HAHA okay, done). I don’t mind nut flavors or ground up nuts (like in macarons), but the only nuts I will eat whole are peanuts. No pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, or almonds–not sliced, chopped, or whole; not in brownies, cakes, or toppings. When it comes to macadamia nuts and cookies, I suppose those can be an exception, only because they’re J’s favorite cookies.

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J did all the work (and please excuse the phone camera quality on some of the photos!)–he chopped the nuts, creamed the sugars and butter, and mixed everything together. I just measured and took pictures. Quite important, if you ask me =)!

(I replaced a teaspoon of the vanilla extract with almond extract; I like the flavor combos of the two extracts together. Aaandddd…I think I overbaked mine…womp womp  they were a little more on the chewy side and not as soft. But it’s okay, they were still delicious–a good chunk of white chocolate and macadamia nut in each bite, and you can really taste the brown sugar and almond extract! Can’t wait to try it again!)

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Mix together the flour and baking soda in a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add in the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms. Fold in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, being careful not to overmix.

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the fridge (this helps create a thick and chewy cookie). Drop tablespoon-sized balls onto a baking sheet. Press a few more white chocolate chips and macadamia nut pieces onto the tops for decoration (I forgot to do this step!). Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned; the centers should appear very soft and puffy. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Enjoy!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy Reading, eating, and baking!