The Swiss may have originally come up with the idea of chunks of bread dipped in melted cheese, but we’ve brought some Southern influence with our homemade pretzels and pimento cheese fondue. This makes a fun, entertaining and brag-worthy party hors d’oeuvre or, if paired with a simple salad, a comforting and casual supper by the fireplace.
Southern Pretzels Recipe
- 1 cup warm milk (110°F)
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 & 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on the pretzels
- 1 package (2 & 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 2 egg yolks, whisked
To make the pretzels, combine the milk, sugars and the 1 & 1/4 tsp. salt in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Add 3 cups flour and the butter using the dough hook attachment on an electric mixer at low speed. If you’re mixing by hand, stir in the flour and butter with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add enough of the remaining 1 cup flour to make a soft dough. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place, away from drafts, for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, rolling out each piece to 1/2-inch thick, and twist into either pretzel shapes or the shape of logs to make pretzel sticks. Place them on baking sheets.
Bring 2 & 1/2 quarts water and the baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan. Working with 1 pretzel at a time, place the pretzels in the boiling water mixture for 30 seconds and then remove from the water with a slotted spatula and return to the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the pretzels with the beaten egg yolks and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, until dark brown in color. Allow the pretzels to cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes before serving with the Pimento Cheese fondue.
*Makes 8 pretzels.
Pimento Cheese Fondue Recipe
- 2 cups Sharp White Cheddar Pimento Cheese
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 2 tbsp white wine
To make the fondue, combine the pimento cheese, cream and wine in a sauté pan or small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer and the cheese melts, stirring frequently. Simmer for 1 minute, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with pretzels.
*Makes 2 cups.