Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites

OH MY, the are good.  Seriously, the homemade, soft pretzel alone is to die for.  But add some ham & cheddar- it is are out of this world!!  You've got to try them.  They are perfect for a cocktail party, tailgating, or just for a fun snack!  Making this dough is easy & very similar to making pizza dough.  They take a little bit of time, but it's not difficult.  Definitely something I will make over & over again.
(I used my recipe for Homemade Soft Pretzels)
4-4 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter
1 1/2 cups warm Water
2 1/2 tsp Active, Dry Yeast
2 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
2 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
3/4 cup Baking Soda
1 egg beaten with 1/2 tbsp of Water
More Kosher Salt for top
1/2 cup Ham, diced
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
(for the egg wash)
1 egg
1 tbsp water
In a small sauce pan, melt the stick of butter over low heat. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, brown sugar, warm water, & melted butter. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then on low speed, add 4 cups of flour reserving the last 1/2 cup. When the flour is incorporated, increase the speed to medium & knead for a few minutes, until the dough is smooth & not sticking to the sides. If the dough is too wet, add the rest of the flour, a little at a time. Dump the dough out onto a counter & knead a few times with your hands. Lightly oil the mixing bowl, add the dough, flipping to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel & let rise until it doubles in size. I always, pour hot water in a large bowl, put it on the bottom rack of my oven (turned off) and put my dough on the top shelf to rise. It seems to be the perfect, warm place for dough to rise. Let the dough rise for an hour. Then dump it our onto a lightly floured counter. 
Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Dust your hands & a rolling pin with flour.  Gently roll & stretch 1 piece of the dough into a 12" rope. 
Then roll the rope to about 4" wide. 
Gently press 1/4 of the ham & then 1/4 of the cheese into the lower third of the rectangle.
I used Black Forest Ham from the deli.  I had the deli slice the ham extra thin, then I sliced it up with a knife.  I used Cheddar Cheese, but you could use any cheese or ham that you like!
Stretch & pull the bottom of the dough over the ham & cheese, pressing to tightly hold the filling inside.  Roll into a rope. 
Cut the rope into 1" (approx) pieces.  Repeat with the other 3 pieces of dough. 
Prepare 2 sheet pans:  line them with parchment paper or tin foil & spray with non stick spray.  Mean while, in a large sauce pot or dutch oven, bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil.  When you have made all of the pretzel bites & have prepared your sheet pans.  Add the baking soda to the boiling water & reduce the heat slightly. 
Boil the ham & cheese bites, a few at a time in the boiling solution for about 20-30 seconds each.  Remove with a slotted spoon, or a spider & place on the prepared baking sheets.  Repeat with all the bites. 
In a small dish, lightly beat 1 egg with 1 tbsp of water.  Brush the ham & cheese bites with the egg wash then sprinkle with kosher salt.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Yummmm.  Look at all that cheese!
I served them with dijon mustard to dip. 
So, so good!! 
This was adapted from a recipe on Gourmet.com.

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