Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels
Originally posted November 30, 2010 . Updated 1/7/2021
I think I may have just invented the *perfect* food.
What started as a "hey, you know what would be awesome..?" thought a while back was seen through to fruition this weekend, with spectacular results.
Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels
Yes, you read that right. Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels!
This recipe is not only easy to make (the hardest part is the wait time!), it only costs about $5 to make 40 poppers! So freaking good.
As is, these have the ideal amount of heat - enough to give it some kick, not enough to make it painful or mask the actual flavor.
Feel free to use more or fewer jalapenos based on your personal preferences.
How to Make Jalapeno Popper Pretzel Bites
Homemade soft pretzels may seem intimidating, but they’re actually really easy to make.
Just take it one step at a time, and you’ll have fresh stuffed pretzels coming out of your oven in a few hours!
(Most of that time is just waiting, btw. These are not *super* labour intensive!)
Start Your Yeast
The recipe starts out with sugar, yeast, and beer. This is one of the most important parts of the recipe, so make sure it’s all in place!
- The beer has to be warm, but not hot. You want to encourage the growth of the yeast without killing it.
Cool beer won’t “wake up” the yeast the way warm does, and it won’t rise as much / quickly.
Hot beer will kill the yeast.
The sugar feeds the yeast.
Make sure to use yeast that has been properly stored and is fresh. Very old yeast doesn’t always work.
Anyway, you mix the three together and leave it for a few minutes, and this is what you should see:
When it’s all foamy like this, you’re good to go!
If your yeast doesn’t foam up in 10 minutes, something went wrong - either the water was too hot /not warm enough, or the yeast was no good.
No foam means start over again.
Make Your Dough
You can do this by hand, or - like I do - in a stand mixer.
However you do it, just mix together your flour, salt, butter, and foamy yeast beer, until it’s well incorporated and relatively smooth.
Once it’s all together, you’ll knead the dough. This develops the gluten in the dough, making the dough soft, stretchy, and perfect.
In a stand mixer:
Affix a dough hook and just let it go on medium speed for about 7 minutes or so, until it’s smooth and stretchy.
I start timing once the mixing is done and all of the extra flour has been “cleaned” off the mixer bowl:
Once the dough has come together - and you have all of the flour incorporated into it - dump it out on a clean work surface and knead it.
Basically, I’ll use the heels of my hands to push down and stretch the dough, fold it over, and repeat for about 15+ minutes.
It’s a great way to get out some anger, aggression, frustration, or ~feelings~ in general, but it is labourious... so I generally use the stand mixer!
Anyway, whichever way you go:
When it’s ready, it’ll be smooth and stretchy.
You can test readiness by pinching off a small bit of dough, flattening it a bit, and stretching it. If you can stretch it really thin without tearing, it’s done!
Proof your Dough
“Proofing” is just letting the dough rise.
You’ll want a warm - not hot - area to do this.
As I tend to keep my house nice and cool, I generally cheat at this: I’ll turn the oven on for a few minutes to warm it up a bit, then turn it off and use it as a proofing oven.
Let it rise - undisturbed - until it’s doubled in volume. Give it a good 45 minutes - 1 hour for this, but don’t leave it much longer than that without checking on it.
OVERproofing the dough - letting it rise too long / too far - will result in deflated dough and hockey puck pretzels.
Making the Jalapeno Popper Filling
In a food processor, chop jalapenos until finely minced. You can leave the ribs and seeds in for added heat if you like.
Add softened cream cheese, continue to process until mixture is well combined and smooth.
Turn mixture out into a medium mixing bowl, add shredded cheddar cheese.
Use a wooden spoon to fully incorporate the cheddar into the cream cheese mixture.
Cover with plastic wrap, chill for 1 hour.
Forming Your Stuffed Pretzels
Roll small balls out of the chilled cheese mixture – use about a rounded teaspoon worth for each ball. You’ll end up with about 40.
Once your initial proofing is done, punch it down and divide it out into approximately 40 walnut-sized chunks.
One at a time, flatten a ball of dough out in the palm of your hand.
Place a cheese ball in the middle, and bring the sides of the dough up and around, fully encasing the cheese.
Pinch the ends together well, and gently roll the popper in your hands to seal it – this should lessen blowouts during the baking process.
After the popper is well sealed, roll the ball gently to elongate it into a more oval shape, if desired.
Repeat for remaining pieces.
Prepare your Baking Sheet
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set prepared pans aside.
This is also a good time to start preheating your oven.
Boil Your Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzel Bites
As your pretzels are rising for the second and final time, you’ll get ready to boil them.
Get a large pot of water boiling.
Once the water is boiling, add baking soda, stirring well to combine. Turn the temp down enough to keep it at a gentle simmer.
You want to cook the outsides of the pretzels gently, not brutalize them.
Once the water is simmering and 10 minutes are up, gently drop 10 or so pretzel poppers into your pot.
Gently stir as they boil to ensure that the entire surface of each is in contact with the water at some point.
Use a big slotted spoon to remove them from the water and allow them to drain well before placing them on your prepared baking sheet.
Adorn Your Stuffed Pretzel Poppers
Whisk together your egg and water. This is an egg wash, and it gives a great texture and finish to the pretzel poppers - don’t skip it!
Brush the egg wash over as much of the pretzels are exposed. Tops and sides - you don’t need to flip them to get underneath, though.
Generously sprinkle the tops with coarse sea salt.
Bake Your Jalapeno Popper Pretzels
Put your pan in the oven and bake until they’re golden brown.
Just don’t over bake them, or you’ll end up with hard pretzels! As soon as they go golden, take them out!
Let them cool a LITTLE when you remove them... but otherwise, you can dig in while they’re still warm.
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On to that Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels recipe!
Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzels
- 1 ½ cups Warm beer
- ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 package Active Dry Yeast About 2 ¼ tsp
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- 4 oz Unsalted Butter Melted
- Olive Oil
- 4 Jalapenos Seeded
- 8 oz Cream Cheese Softened
- 8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese Grated
- 3 quarts Water
- ¾ cup Baking Soda
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 tbsp Cold Water
- Coarse sea salt
- Combine warm beer with brown sugar, stir until sugar is almost dissolved. Add yeast, stirring until incorporated. Set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add melted butter, stirring until well distributed. Pour in yeast/beer mixture, stirring until well combined.
- Turn dough out onto a clean surface, knead for a couple of minutes. Dough should be soft and smooth.
- Pour about 1 Tbsp of olive oil into a large, clean metal or glass bowl. Add freshly kneaded dough to the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap, set aside in a warm spot to rise for an hour or two, until doubled.
- In a food processor, chop jalapenos until finely minced. Add softened cream cheese, continue to process until mixture is well combined, and smooth. Turn mixture out into a medium mixing bowl, add shredded cheddar cheese. Use a wooden spoon to fully incorporate the cheddar into the cream cheese mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, chill for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has doubled in size:
- Divide dough into approximately 40 walnut-sized chunks. One at a time, flatten a ball of dough out in the palm of your hand. Place a cheese ball in the middle, and bring the sides of the dough up and around, fully encasing the cheese. Pinch the ends together well, and gently roll the popper in your hands to seal it – this should lessen blowouts during the baking process. After popper is well sealed, roll the ball gently to elongate it into a more oval shape, if desired. Repeat for remaining pieces.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paperBring water to a boil in a large pot. Add baking soda, stir until combined.
- Boil the pretzels, about 10 at a time, to about a minute. Gently stir as they boil, to ensure that the entire surface of each is in contact with the water at some point. Use a slotted spoon to transfer each popper to prepared baking sheers
- Whisk together eggs and water, brush this mixture across the tops of the poppers. Generously sprinkle the tops with coarse sea salt.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for a minute or two before eating. Enjoy
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