Making Banana-Chocolate-Cheese Stuffed Pretzels
My entry for the Tumblr Food Challenge.
I took a glance at my schedule last night and saw that I only have a 7-9 seminar and nothing for the rest of the day. I should really have used the time to study for my block exam (which is in 8 days) but I had to go play landlord and hustle rent money and that threw off the dynamics of studying and so I thought I might as well make these and scratch it off of my to-do-list *takes a deep breath*. Ironically, this was not what I had planned to make for the challenge at all. I’d planned (and bought the ingredients) to make a Chocolate Charlotte Royale filled with Banana Bavarian Cream. Highly pretentious - trust me, I know. But I might make that during the weekend just to see how it would end up. For now, let’s just marvel over the fact that I just made a piece of crusty pretzel stuffed with a combination of sweet banana, slightly bitter chocolate paste and salty,tangy cheddar. If I ever open a bakery in this (or another) life or the next , this will definitely be on the menu. So if you should ever stumble to said fantasy shop, then do ask for these with a side of melted butter.
Soft Pretzel: (Dough Recipe from Food Mayhem. I made 1/2 the recipe)
[1 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F) + 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon white sugar, divided + 4 teaspoons active dry yeast + 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided + 1 teaspoon kosher salt + 1/2 teaspoon table salt + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil + 4 tablespoon butter, melted (for brushing)]
In a small bowl combine warm water, 1 teaspoon of white sugar, and yeast.
Let stand for 10 minutes or until creamy and frothy.
Put 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and both salts in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment for a few seconds.
Add vegetable oil and yeast mixture and just mix until moistened.
Switch to dough hook and knead on low for 5 minutes. Add in the remaining cup of flour while dough is kneading. You can add up to 2 tablespoons of water if dough looks dry.
When dough is done kneading, place in a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise till doubled in size, about an hour.
While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the filling.
[2 ripe but firm bananas + 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese + Chocolate Paste (recipe below)] OR you could swap the grated cheese & chocolate paste with long sticks of cheese and shards of chocolate - it’ll be much easier to handle. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that when I did this)
- Chocolate Paste (recipe and pictures from my previous post - Baked Banana Wontons):
[3/4 cup cocoa powder + 1/4 cup soy milk (or milk. Or even just plain water) + 1/4 cup icing sugar]
Combine the cocoa powder and icing sugar in a bowl.
Add in the soy milk 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing all the while until it reaches the consistency of a chocolate spread. Add more soy milk if the paste is still too thick. Set aside.
Put the chocolate paste inside ziploc or piping bag. Cut the tip before using.
Cut the banana into thin strips and set the fillings aside.
Preheat oven 450 degrees F, 30 minutes before you are baking. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
When dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 (6 in my case) equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, roughly 1/2″ diameter.
**From this point on we will deviate from the good ol’ pretzel recipe.
You will now take each rope and roll it flat with a rolling pin to make a rough 3cmx25cm rectangle.
Lay 2-3 slices of banana on one side of the rectangle
Squeeze a line (or 2. Or 3) of chocolate paste on top of the banana slices.
** The amount of chocolate paste you put in is a compromise between the amount you want and the amount that could fit inside the pretzels without leaking out. Be clever with it and eyeball the right amount. I had trouble fitting 3 lines of squeezes so use that as a guide of sorts.
Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
Pull and fold the other side of the rectangle over the filling and seal the edge tightly.
Proceed with shaping the stuffed rope to a normal pretzel.
After all pretzels are shaped, dip them into the boiling solution for 10-15 seconds. Place on baking sheet and brush with melted butter.
- Boiling Solution:
[1/2 cup baking soda + 4 cups hot water]
Dissolve baking soda in hot water.
Bake the pretzels for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
** To ensure maximum crustiness, I baked these in the middle rack and put a tray of boiling water in the rack under it.
Serve while still warm.
- Instead of chocolate paste and grated cheese, I’d recommend using splinters/tiny bars of chocolate and sticks of cheese instead - simple reason: they can be fitted inside the dough easier without leaking out.
- Be sure to leave gaps in between the banana slices or else you won’t be able to twist the pretzels into shape.
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