Ranch Sourdough Pretzel Bites

You can sit down and eat pretzel bites out of the bag and think, “Hey, these are pretty good”. Or with just a few more ingredients, you can sit down with a bowl of these Ranch sourdough pretzel bites and know that you’ve just had something truly incredible. Each bite has a hint of butter. A hint of herby Ranch dressing, and a really awesome citrusy pepper flavor that’s just barely there, but oh does it make a difference.
Ranch Sourdough Pretzel BitesI often make appetizers like these Ranch sourdough pretzel bites using just oil, or melted butter. I recently came across the idea of using popcorn oil, which of course combines both oil and butter. The flavor is more fantastic, and it doesn’t get any easier than just measuring the oil out of a bottle. I’ll definitely make all my snacks this way from here on.

I couldn’t find my lemon pepper seasoning (I am reminded that someday, maybe, I’ll arrange the spices in my pantry in alphabetical or at least some sensible order). I substituted lime pepper seasoning I have to say it was fantastic. The citrus flavor in either case isn’t going to scream out at it, it just adds that special something.

Also check out my balsamicpizza,and spicy garlic Ranch and Buffalo Ranch sourdough pretzel bites! They are all out of this world good too!

Ranch Sourdough Pretzel Bites

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 1 pound

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce bag pretzel bites
  • 1/2 cup Orville Redenbacher popcorn oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Ranch dressing mix half of a packet
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning lime pepper is also fantastic!
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200 F.
  • Place pretzel bites in large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the oil, Ranch dressing mix, lemon pepper, garlic powder and dill weed.
  • Pour the oil mixture over the pretzels and toss to coat well.
  • Pour pretzels bites out onto a large baking pan and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

Cheese Straws

My first attempt at making these cheese straws was a learning experience. If the dough mixture is too thick it’s a nightmare to get through a cookie press. If the dough mixture is too thin the straw will flatten out as they bake and you’ll end up with a pan full of sadness. But, I did finally get it just right and oh, man, are these cheese straws more than just a little addicting! Crunchy and packed with cheese flavor you can’t eat just one handful.

Cheese StrawsI dusted the baked cheese straws with cayenne and smoked paprika, but you could try other flavors too. Italian seasoning for example, for a more savory approach. Or perhaps a little Ranch dressing mix.

I think you could also try other cheeses, specially something like a Monterey Jack or Swiss.

Cheese Straws

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 -20 sticks

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter plus 1-3 more tablespoons softened
  • 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese divided
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  • Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place 1/2 cup of the butter in a mixer with the paddle attached.
  • Add 1 cup of the cheese and mix for 5-7 minutes until smooth, scraping down the sides as it goes.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cayenne, smoked paprika, black pepper and garlic powder.
  • With the mixer still running, slowly add the flour mixture.
  • Add the remaining cheese.
  • Test the consistency of the batter. If it is really thick it might not go thru your cookie press or dessert decorator. If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of the softened butter and mix. Continue until just thin enough to press but not thin and runny.
  • Spoon mixture into your cookie press with a large star tip on the end.
  • Pipe out onto the parchment paper.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and dust with cayenne and smoked paprika, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Balsamic Pretzel Bites

My goodness. Putting a bowl of these balsamic pretzel bites in front of me requires me to exercise self-control like I’ve rarely been forced to do before. Balsamic pretzel bites are a totally different take on the usual salty, often cheesy, tasty morsels. The balsamic glaze takes about 20 minutes to make, but it’s so worth the effort. You want the glaze to be a bit thick, thick enough that it sticks to the back of a spoon. The tart sweetness of the balsamic vinegar works perfectly on pretzels.
Balsamic Pretzel BitesYou can use any glaze actually. You don’t have to use ‘just’ balsamic. I’m contemplating trying some of the same glazes I use even on the grill, such as peach mango habanero, or sweet and spicy apricot. It often pays to think outside the box!

Balsamic Pretzel Bites

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 cups pretzel bites
  • Balsamic glaze divided, from below
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

For the balsamic glaze

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  • Place the pretzels in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle 3 tablespoons of balsamic glaze over the pretzels.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the cheese and seasoning and toss to coat.
  • Serve drizzled with remaining glaze and sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

For the balsamic glaze

  • Combine vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk until the brown sugar dissolves.
  • Reduce heat and let simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before using.