Last updated January 2, 2015
Peppadew Pepper Pretzel Bites are soft-baked pretzels at home with a fun, Zestuous twist.
I love walking into a mall or airport and smelling the fresh baked pretzels. They’re smothered (maybe dipped) in butter and covered in salt. As you bite into the warm pretzel, you break through a slight crust before reaching the tender, airy inside.
These Peppadew Pepper Pretzel Bites are inspired by that famous mall food, but they’re bite-sized, packed with a sweet heat and topped with a playful combination of salt, sugar and pepper.
You can use any pepper in these bites (green chiles or pimentos would work well), but I prefer the Peppadew. The bright red small peppers have a unique sweet flavor with a mild bit of heat.
You can usually find them on the olive bar at your grocery, and the recipe only calls for 5 peppers, so it’s a great way to try an exotic fruit on the cheap.
What really brings out the peppadew pepper in these bites is the salt mixture sprinkled on top. For festive color, I combine pink salt, pink sugar and ground pink peppercorns. You can find all of those at Whole Foods.
I like the pink peppercorns because they’re a little fruitier than black pepper. No worries though. If you don’t want to go all pink, just use kosher salt, sugar and fresh ground black or white pepper. The flavors will be essentially the same.
Once you bake these bad boys, cover them in butter and sprinkle more pink magic on them, they’re ready for the popping…and popping…and popping. It’s so hard to stop. The sweet salt and butter dance on your tongue, the dough is so airy and the peppers add a little “hello world” to each bite.
If you manage to save a few, I recommend using them as mini sandwich buns. Slice them in half, spread one side with cream cheese and the other with raspberry vinaigrette and layer the bottom with turkey slices, Swiss cheese and radicchio.
You can also use this dough to make larger buns…or even mall-sized pretzels. Enjoy!
- 1 cup (250 grams) milk
- 1 packet dry yeast or 20 grams fresh cake yeast
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) brown sugar
- 2 ¼ cups (285 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter, melted
- 5 peppadew peppers, minced
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp. pink salt
- 1 tsp. pink sugar
- ½ tsp. ground pink pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
Microwave milk in a small bowl for 45 seconds. Stir in the yeast and brown sugar and let it proof for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, 1 tsp. salt and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Pour in the proofed yeast and milk. Using a dough hook, knead on speed 6 for 7 minutes.
Stop the mixer and add in the minced peppedew peppers. Slowly increase the speed back up to 6 and knead for 3 minutes.
Cover with a towel and let rise for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425F (220C) degrees.
Cut off a piece of dough and roll out a log about 1-inch thick. Using a pastry cutter, cut off one-inch size pieces. Continue with remaining dough.
In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons baking soda (Note: it won’t fully dissolve). Dip each piece of dough into the water and place on a silpat lined baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the pink salt, pink sugar and pink pepper. (Note: if you use regular salt, sugar and pepper, that’s fine.)
Sprinkle the salt mixture onto each piece of dough.
Bake in a 425F (220C) degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with more of the salt-sugar-pepper mixture.