As most of you know, I LOVE my local Savory Spice Shop!! Sometimes I have to stop myself from going in order to salvage my budget because I find it hard to not buy everything I see! And all the new things. And grab all the new recipes! And, since I’m on their mailing list, I get a recipe from them every month!
Since March has St. Patrick’s Day, they served up their Guinness Stout Ghost Pepper Pretzels! Now, you’d think they were hard to make – but trust me, they are NOT! And once you learn the trick of making the pretzel shape, you are ready to compete with ‘Auntie Anne’ and all those others who make those delightful (and expensive!) salt and mustard topped yummies! And, just as they do at CVB (Coachella Valley Brewing for the uninitiated), a nice cold beer goes wonderfully with these pretzels. In fact, pick up a growler or 2 at CVB to make these at home, as well as to drink some along with the pretzels while you’re watching the rest of March Madness!
These are definitely the thick – almost bagel texture – pretzels, not those thin sticks you find in the bags on the snack aisle in the supermarket (yuck on those)! These have flavor, texture and you can top them with mustard, use them as a dipper, carefully slice them and make a thin-bread sandwich or just eat them. They taste best warm so if you don’t finish them all right away, wrap them in foil and reheat in the oven or toaster oven.
If you’re in a rush and want to put them in the microwave, STOP! Before you push the 30 seconds or so, or the start button, place a small juice sized glass filled with water into the microwave, then put in a pretzel or 2, and go. That will keep them moist. Otherwise, without the water to create some steam, they will be hard as rocks as soon as they cool! Same for any baked goods … a word to the wise!
So, pick up the beer, make the pretzels, and root for your favorite team to win!
Ghost Pepper Salted Guinness Pretzels
- 1 packet active dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
- 4 1/2 c water
- 1-1/2 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 1 c Guinness or CVB stout beer
- 4 c flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water
- 2 Tbsp. Ghost Pepper Salt or Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
Pour ½ cup cold water into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle in the yeast. Rest for 3 to 5 min. until the yeast foams. Stir in brown sugar, salt, olive oil and vanilla. Lastly, pour in beer and let the yeast react. After bubbling stops, add 1 cup flour and, using the hook attachment, slowly knead in flour.
Continue adding 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough forms into a smooth ball that pulls away from the bowl sides. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around so all sides get a light oiling; cover with a towel and let sit in a warm area of the room. Allow to rise and double in size (about an hour).
Preheat oven to 425. Grease 2 baking sheets or cover with parchment paper and set aside.
Pour remaining 4 cups of water and baking soda into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, divide dough into 12 equal sized balls. Roll each ball into a ½-inch thick long rope. Curve each into a “U” shape and double-cross over the ends into a classic pretzel shape. Press point where ‘legs’ cross slightly so they don’t separate. Working one by one, boil each pretzel for 30 seconds. Remove each with a slotted spoon and place 4 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush each pretzel with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle with Ghost Pepper Salt or Kosher salt. Bake 15 to 18 min. until golden brown. Immediately brush with butter and serve.
Best served warm with mustard for dipping.
Adapted from recipe by Mike Johnston, Savory Spice Shop founder