Game-day Recipe: Pretzel Bites and Beer Cheese Dipping Sauce

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Are you ready for some football??  I'll tell you a secret--I don't care about watching sports.  At all.  But I do like the snacks!  

Beer and Cheddar cheese dipping sauce with pretzels

Especially homemade pretzel bites with beer cheddar dipping sauce. Yeah, I'd watch sports to have an excuse to make and eat this.

The pretzels were made using this soft pretzel recipe I posted earlier this year.  

The only difference is that instead of forming twisted pretzels, I cut the rope of dough into tiny nuggets about 1" wide.

Just like the standard recipe, they were brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with coarse sea salt, then baked at 450 Fahrenheit for about 12 minutes, until the pretzel bites were a beautiful golden brown color.

A little note about basting and brushing these--anything really--with an egg wash, or butter, or whatever.  For the longest time, I used an old school pastry brush with natural bristles.  For a time, I even had a feather pastry brush.  Those natural bristles just held more of the liquid than a silicone pastry brush did, and made less mess.  Sure, they were harder to clean.  Sure, they occasionally left bristles behind that I'd have to pick out, but I still didn't make the switch to silicone until I read about this silicone pastry brush in a Cooks Illustrated review.  It's got these cool waffley holes in the center bristles that really hold liquid well (imagine a bubble wand, same concept).  Plus it can just be thrown in the dishwasher and come out completely clean.  Plus it doesn't leave bristles behind.  Definitely worth switching out your old pastry brush for this model.  

My girls absolutely love to help me make these, and the dough can take quite a bit of abuse and still come out looking reasonable, so it's ok to have helpers who spend most of their time doing this:

It's all good, educational, tactile fun.  I just strip her down when we're done cooking and send the clothes straight to the wash.  Good thing I have my trusty Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport to get out even the nastiest egg white and flour paste my kids can grind in while they're "helping."

Once the pretzels are in the oven, it's time to start the...

Cheddar and Beer Pretzel Dipping Sauce

  • 1T butter
  • 2T flour
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 t dry mustard
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 6oz (half a bottle) of beer
  • 3 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • black pepper, to taste

I have to mention here that there's just nothing like freshly grated nutmeg.  Do yourself a favor, and get an inexpensive nutmeg grater and a jar of whole nutmegs (available at any grocery store with the spices).  Your eggnog and pumpkin pie and macaroni and cheese and roasted asparagus will love you for it.

Start by melting the butter in a saucepan, and cooking it with the flour for about a minute.  It may seem silly, but this step is crucial to get rid of the raw flour taste.

Next, whisk in a cup of milk.  Keep stirring, and cook for several minutes, until the mixture thickens.

Once the milk mixture has thickened, pour in half a beer.  Bring back up to a simmer, continuing to stir constantly.  

Stir in the black pepper, nutmeg, and mustard powder.  Stir.  Then add the grated cheddar cheese, one cup at a time, stirring until the cheese is melted and incorporated in the mixture before adding the next cup.

Total cooking time .  Serve right away, gloriously warm and melty and delicious.

What's your favorite game day snack?


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tide through their partnership with Circle of Moms. While I was compensated to write a post about Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport, all opinions are my own.

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido