Can you believe my daughter doesn’t like macaroni and cheese? She loves the pasta but isn’t keen on the cheese she says. Lab results proved she was my kid (which I knew anyway because of her cuteness). Of course I’m joking about the lab work, but my mission wasn’t easy – How could I get the awesome taste of mac n’ cheese to her taste buds without her seeing it?
Stuffing it inside pretzel dough seemed like an awesome idea. I’d tell her one of those parenting white lies, you know the ones we keep for “get out of jail free” moments and then she’d realize how good it tastes. Problem solved, not quite. She loved the pretzel but skipped the filling, luckily her brother was there to shovel up her leftovers.
I’ve only made pretzel dough once before and I love the soft chewy texture. Topped with salt it’s the perfect snack and the darker the crust, the better in my opinion. But I didn’t use salt on this recipe. I topped the pretzel bites with crumbled crispy bacon! As always, I use Red Star Yeast for my bread dough recipes. Usually I’ll use the Quick Rise yeast but this time I tried the Platinum which was almost just as quick to rise. If you’ve ever wondered what yeast actually is and how it works, check out this science of yeast page from Red Star.
It wasn’t until the very last minute that I thought about making a beer and mustard cheese dipping sauce and I’m glad I did. It went great along with the stuffed pretzel bites.
Pretzels, macaroni, cheese and beer. It really doesn’t get much better than these macaroni cheese pretzel bites with bacon.
This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast. Compensation was provided but all opinions, thoughts and taste are my own.
- 1 envelope Red Star Platinum yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- 1½ cups warm water
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ pounds pre-made macaroni and cheese
- 8 slices cooked bacon, chopped into fine crumbles
- 3 quarts water
- ¾ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg
- For The Cheese Dipping Sauce:
- 1¼ cups grated cheddar
- ½ cup beer
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons milk
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl combine the warm water and yeast. Whisk gently and let sit for five minutes.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Add the water/yeast mixture to the flour and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until it becomes a ball.
- Transfer to a stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for about 5 minutes and the dough has came together. Dump it out onto a clean work surface dusted lightly with flour and knead the dough into an even ball shape.
- Grease the large bowl you just used with the olive oil. Place the dough into the greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Let it rest until it has doubled in size.
- Once it has doubled, dump it back onto your work area and gently punch it down with your fingers until it's about an inch thick.
- Cut the dough in a grid-like pattern creating squares about 2 x 2 inches.
- Roll out each piece of dough roughly into a circle shape. Place a teaspoon of macaroni in the center of the dough.
- Bring two sides of the dough into the middle to meet and pinch. Bring the other sides of the dough into the middle and pinch all the parts creating a seal on the bottom of the now stuffed pretzel bite.
- Roll gently in the palm of your hand to get an even circle and set on a baking tray.
- Bring the three quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the baking soda and stir. Be careful because it'll foam up. Stir. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the pretzel bites to the boiling water in stages, and boil for about one minute. Drain with a slotted spoon and transfer back to their tray.
- Once the bites have all been boiled, place them on their parchment lined trays proper side up.
- Brush each pretzel bite with the egg and press some of the bacon crumbs on top.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes and the bites have a nice dark color to them.
- Let them cool while you make the sauce.
- In a small pot, bring the beer to a boil. Add the flour and simmer for five minutes.
- Add the cheese, mustard and milk. Whisk until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add a little more milk if the sauce is too thick. You can also reheat it in the microwave if it becomes cool and thickens.