Soft pretzels and cheese

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Soft honey wheat pretzels

Soft Honey Wheat Pretzels

Have you ever started making dinner and ended up going so far off grid that when you look up from the flour and dishes and said “well that just happened”?  I did just that the other night. I had fully intended on making my husbands favorite chip dip a little heartier by adding some burger to it and calling it dinner. Then decided the dip and hamburgers would be better, it is really cold out after all. So I started making the pretzel buns and somewhere I channeled those little pretzel bites you get at the mall, but my friend was looking for healthy substitutions for ingredients….. BOOM these little gems were born.

Soft Honey Wheat Pretzels

1 1/3 cup warm water

2 tablespoons warm milk

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey

1 cup whole wheat flour

3 cups all purpose flour

kosher or pretzel salt

Par-boil liquid

2 quarts water

1/2 cup baking soda

Directions:

In a small bowl if using a bread machine, or in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the warm water (105-115 degrees) with the yeast and let stand until foamy.
Add the  milk, sugar & melted butter and swirl to dissolve the honey . (If using a bread machine add mixture to bread machine at this point and continue).
Add flour and mix on dough cycle or med-low speed.
Remove dough from bread machine once it forms a nice a firm, pliable dough ball.
Add more flour if necessary.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured table and knead for 2 minutes

Divide dough into quarters and roll each into a long thin rope (about 2 ft long). Cut into 1 inch pieces and place in a well floured surface, leaving plenty of space in between each section (they will rise and stick together!)
Cover dough with plastic and a damp cloth and let sit for 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°.
Oil 2 baking sheets.
In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add baking soda.
Drop a few pieces into the boiling water and boil for no more then 30 seconds, turning once.
Carefully remove with tongs or slotted spoon and hold above pot and let drain.
Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Repeat with the remaining pieces.
Arrange pieces on the oiled baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until browned all over; shift pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through, for even baking.
Let rolls cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cheese Sauce

1 cup shredded mild cheddar

1/4 cup cream cheese

3/4 tsp sugar

2-4 tbsp heavy cream

In a microwave safe bowl mix the first three ingredients add 2 tbsp heavy cream.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir adding more cream if needed  continue to microwave at 10 second intervals until cheddar is fully melted

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