It’s no surprise that I love baking. My office mates enjoy my almost weekly cookie creations, and I feel that any excuse to use my Kitchen Aide mixer is a good one. When we had people over in honor of Steve’s birthday last month, I knew I wanted to make something for our guests, but figured this would be more of an appetizer party rather than desserts. So, the obvious choice was one of my favorite recipes from The Chopping Block: Homemade Pretzels!

rockbandI decided bite-size soft pretzels would be a great addition to the chips and dips other people were bringing, and baking allowed me to zen out in the kitchen before becoming the hostess with the mostest. This recipe is super simple and can easily be made in an afternoon. They do require a bit more work than regular bread since you have to boil them in baking soda before you can bake them, but it’s not anything that should stop you from trying.

These little bites were the hit of the party and no one could believe they weren’t store bought! I paired them with cheese dip and a variety of mustards, and they were the first appetizer to completely disappear. If it wasn’t for the improvised game of Rock Band, I think they would have been the highlight of the whole evening.

Give the recipe below a try the next time you are having people over, or just for yourself! I did notice I could have eaten the whole batch myself if others hadn’t been there to stop me. I suggest you add them to your entertaining database, they can then be a hit at your celebrations!

What’s your favorite party appetizer? Share with me in the comments.


Homemade Pretzels

Yield: 8 pretzels

Active time: 45 minutes

Start to finish: 2 hours

1 cup warm water (110°)

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon salt

2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 large egg white beaten with 2 tablespoons water

Kosher salt as needed

Assorted mustards

  1. Place the water in a large bowl and stir in sugar and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to ensure that the yeast is alive. It should look frothy.
  2. Add the salt and 2 cups of flour. Stir until the dough becomes thick.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Knead until smooth, about 6-7 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  4. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise at room temperature for one hour or until doubled in size.
  5. To shape the pretzels, punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces.
  6. Roll each piece into a rope, then shape into a pretzel.
  7. Bring about 2 to3 inches of water to a boil in a large shallow pan. Add baking soda and reduce heat to a simmer.
  8. Carefully add the pretzels, a few at a time, and simmer for one minute.
  9. Return to the sheet tray and brush with the egg white glaze and sprinkle with salt. Bake until well browned, about15 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  11. Place on a greased sheet tray, cover with plastic, and allow to rise about 15 minutes more.
  12. Serve with the assorted mustards.