Cheesy Bacon Ranch Stuffed Pretzel Bombs

SERVES 36  |  ACTIVE TIME 42 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 50 Min

2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm milk (110°-120°)
2 tablespoons honey
3¼ cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons ranch seasoning mix (I used Hidden Valley)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese
12 ounces bacon, cooked and diced into bite size pieces
½ cup baking soda
1 large egg
course salt

Preheat oven to 450°.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Pour milk into the bowl of a stand mixer (see cooks note if you do not have a stand mixer), sprinkle yeast over top, add honey and stir.  Allow yeast to bloom for 5-10 minutes.  Once it is nice and foamy, it is ready.

Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl combine cheeses and bacon.  Mix together.  You may need to use a wood spoon to get it well mixed. 

In a small bowl beat egg and 1 tablespoon water, set aside.  Sprinkle clean counter top with 2 tablespoons flour.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Fill a medium (4 cup) bowl with 2 cups of boiling water and add baking soda carefully (it will bubble up).  Place baking sheet, baking soda water and cheese mixture on the counter that you are working on.

Add flour, ranch seasoning and salt to mixer.  Knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough comes together in one ball.  Add more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed, if bread is too sticky to come together.  Dough should be tacky when you pull it out of the mixer, not sticky.

Place dough on lightly floured counter top.  Form dough into a ball.  We are going to cut this ball into 36 (somewhat) even pieces.  First quarter the ball of dough.  Roll each quarter into a fat log.  Cut that into 3 pieces.  Roll each piece into a log and cut into 3 pieces.  When you are done you will have 36 pieces.

Roll each dough piece (one at a time) into a ball and then flatten it into a circle.  Add a little less than 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture in the center *I used a tablespoon scooper.  Carefully pull each side over the filling to create a ‘cheese package’, pinching the edges closed.  Roll the dough into a ball.  Be careful to make sure you can not see the cheese through the dough.  Tap fingers in flour, pinch any tears and roll again. 

Set aside and repeat until you have 3 stuffed dough balls.  Transfer 3 stuffed dough balls to hot water mixture and allow to set while you prepare the next 3.  Prepare the next 3 dough balls.  Remove dough balls from water with a slotted spoon and place on prepared baking sheet.  Place 3 newly prepared balls into the water and prepare 3 more.  Repeat until all dough balls are on the cookie sheet.

Arrange all pretzel balls on parchment so they are not touching.  Brush egg wash onto each one and sprinkle with course salt.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are browned.

The ooey gooey cheese may escape some of your pretzel bombs.  That is a beautiful thing!  Scoop all that cheesy goodness up onto the plate and serve.  Your guests will go crazy over them.

Enjoy!

COOKS NOTE:  You can mix the dough by hand if you do not have a stand mixer.  Add milk, yeast and sugar to a large bowl.  Once the yeast blooms stir in the salt, ranch seasoning and flour.  Mix with a spoon.  Turn dough out onto floured counter top and knead for 3-5 minutes until dough is no longer sticky.  Proceed with remaining instructions.

Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
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