Pretzel Sticks with Beer Cheese Sauce

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First of all.

I just want to say that my Aunt Kathy who is kicking ass at life just started a newspaper!! She is in the major leagues of DREAM it, DO it, DELIVER on it. Wow. So awesome! But what’s even crazier, is that she asked me to add a recipe to it. So now I’m a published recipe author. Hooray!
 
This leads me to my point. In times of celebration, depression, or overall idgaf-ery, some of us turn to yolo eating. Yolo eating is when you eat like there is no tomorrow, no consequences and nobody watching. Yolo eating, quite frankly, is the best.
 

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I sometimes dream of what I would eat if I committed one entire day to yolo eating. Currently, I’m craving those crappy processed donuts you buy in the grocery store that have a 100 year shelf life. But that’s just my crazy brain in overdrive.
 
Maybe (hopefully) you are about to endeavor on a yolo eating day! CONGRATULATIONS!!! A great place to start or end or wedge somewhere in the middle is with these pretzel sticks with beer cheese sauce. I mean, honestly, they couldn’t be bad. But, more honestly, these are KILLER.

 

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The pretzels are super soft & chewy. The beer cheese sauce is incredibly cheesy and decadent, but also have some herbs & spices in there to round the whole thing out. 
 
They require a little bit of time. So start in the morning before the game at 1pm (did I mention that every game day is a yolo eating day?). And then CHOW DOWN. It’s yolo eating day for pete sakes!!!
 
Pretzel Sticks with Beer Cheese Sauce
Serves 16
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Pretzels
  1. 1 ½ cups warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
  2. 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  3. 1 package active dry yeast
  4. 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 2 teaspoons salt
  6. 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  7. about 14 cups of water
  8. 1 cup baking soda
  9. 1 large egg, beaten, with a splash of water
  10. sea salt and pepper for topping
Beer Cheese Sauce
  1. 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1 tablespoon butter
  4. 4 oz cream cheese
  5. 8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  6. 1/4 - 1/3 cup of lager beer
  7. 1 tablespoon worcestershire
  8. 1 teaspoon smoke paprika
  9. 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  10. 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  11. 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  12. 1 teaspoon salt
  13. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pretzels
  1. In a large metal bowl, combine warm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture will foam and froth.
  2. Once the yeast and water is frothy, add the flour, salt, and melted butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until well combined. Using clean hands, knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl. The dough will be soft, pliable, and just a bit sticky. Scrape any residue out of the bowl and coat the bowl with a bit of vegetable oil. Place the dough back in the bowl and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in a warm place to rise. Allow dough to rise, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Place baking racks in the center and upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly brush the paper with oil.
  5. Combine water and baking soda in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  6. While the water comes to a boil, turn the dough out onto a clean, oiled work surface. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces by halving each piece four times (the large piece cut in half, each half cut in half, each fourth cut in half, and each eighth cut in half).
  7. Start with the fingers of both hands in the center of the dough, apply light pressure and roll, moving your hands outward as you roll. Roll the dough along the oiled surface until you have about a 12-inch piece of rope.
  8. Light anchor the middle of the rope with one finger. Spin one side of the rope around the other. Gently set aside and repeat with each rope.
  9. When water has come to a boil, lower a few pretzel dogs into the boiling water. Boil for 30 seconds. Remove carefully, using a flat, slotted spatula. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with each pretzel rope.
  10. Brush boiled pretzels with beaten egg, and add coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Bake until deeply golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving warm with beer cheese sauce and stone ground mustard.
Beer Cheese Sauce
  1. In a small pan, melt the butter. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor combine the shallot and garlic mixture, cream cheese, and grated cheddar cheese. Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of beer. Turn off and check the consistency. If it is too thick, turn it back on and add 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Pour the cheese mixture into a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Strain the mixture into the bowl so that no large chunks remain and the cheese is creamy and smooth.
  4. Add the worcestershire, paprika, dried thyme, chives, parsley, salt and pepper into the cheese sauce. Stir to combine. Serve with pretzel sticks.
Notes
  1. The pretzel kneading process can also be done with a kitchen mixer attached with a dough hook.
  2. Pretzel recipe adapted from Alton Brown.
Mogi Kitchen http://mogikitchen.com/

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