These pretzel bites are amazing. You may not even care if your team is winning as long as you serve these next Sunday on game day. That is the power of the Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bite. Now, these are a bit time consuming to make (you have to wait two hours for the dough to rise) but if you start the dough when you wake up in the morning, they can ready for kickoff no problem. Trust me, they’re worth it. I let my buttery soft pretzel bites get a little bit crusty on the bottom in the oven because that’s how I like them, but you can bake them however you like. I am a sharp cheddar cheese fanatic (the sharper, the better!) and I thought it was fantastic here, but for all you ham & Swiss lovers, that would be a great choice as well. At 1 WW P+ per pretzel bite, you can choose your own serving size and no one will ever guess you found this on a Weight Watchers recipe site. Serve with mustard for dipping and you have a guaranteed hit on your hands!
Ham & Cheese Pretzel BitesSource: Adapted from Macaroni & Cheesecake (who adapted from Pennies on a Platter and Pink Parsley)
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
2 T + 1 t packed brown sugar, divided
¼ c warm water (110-115 degrees F – this is slightly warm tap water. DO NOT MICROWAVE. If the water is too hot you will kill the yeast and if it’s cold it won’t activate.)
1 c warm skim milk
2 ¾ c white whole wheat flour
3 oz finely diced deli ham
2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I love cheddar but you could certainly substitute Swiss if you prefer)
6 c water
4 t baking soda
3 T unsalted butter, melted
Coarse salt, to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water (please see ingredient listing for specific temp/instructions) with one teaspoon of brown sugar and the packet of yeast. Let stand for about 7 minutes until foamy (see photo below). If your mixture does not foam, your water was probably not the right temperature and your yeast is not activated!
2. In a small bowl, pour the warm milk over the remaining two tablespoons of brown sugar and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. When the yeast mixture is foamy, add the milk mixture and the flour and stir until combined into dough. On a clean, floured surface, knead the dough a few times with your hands and form into a ball. Lightly mist a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough ball at the bottom (see photo below). Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let sit for 2 hours until dough has risen and doubled in size (see photo below).
3. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Split dough into four equal-sized balls. Also split diced ham and shredded cheese into four even piles. On a clean and lightly floured surface, roll one of the dough balls into a 12” x 4” rectangle, with the long side facing you. Sprinkle ¼ of the ham and ¼ of the cheese across the bottom third of the dough. Starting with the filled bottom end, tightly roll the dough over the filling into a tube shape and lightly press down the outer edge. Cut the dough roll into 12 equal pieces (about 1” each) and place them on the prepared baking sheet (see photo below). Repeat with the remaining ingredients. You should have 48 pieces. Let pieces sit, uncovered for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
4. In a medium pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and reduce to a simmer. Using a slotted spoon, add the pretzel bites a few at a time and boil for 20 seconds, flipping once halfway through. Pretzels will puff up during this step. Use the slotted spoon to drain the water off and return the pretzel bites to the baking sheets.
5. Bake the boiled pretzel bites in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush the pretzel bites with the melted butter. Sprinkle with salt and serve! I recommend serving with a dish of mustard for dipping.
If you plan to reheat these, preheat your oven to 200 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes until warm.
Yields 12 (4 pretzel bites) servings. Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per serving from myfitnesspal.com: 169 calories, 21 g carbs, 5 g fat, 8 g protein, 3 g fiber