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Mini Pretzels with Avonlea Cheddar Cheese Dip

August 22, 2017

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dairy Farmers of Canada. All opinions are 100% mine.

Guys. Adulting is hard.

I’ve been in this 6-month cycle of wake up… go to work… get home… work some more… walk the dog… make dinner… work some more… sleep a little… wake up… and do it all again!

Sometimes I find myself wishing I could transport myself back to the good ol’ days… you know… those early college years when you still lived at home and the extent of your “adulting” was making sure you got to class on time and had enough cash to enjoy a night out with your friends! My twenty-year-old self sure had it good!

While I haven’t quite figured out how to transport myself back in time physically (if you know anyone who can help me with that, holler), this recipe certainly helps my mind and taste buds take a trip down memory lane. Beer. Pretzels. Cheese Dip. It’s like the three main food groups for college students. I’ll admit, back then the pretzels may have been whatever was on sale and the cheese dip was likely microwaveable… and the beer was most definitely of the budget-friendly variety, but hey, you have to start somewhere!

So last week when I was feeling especially nostalgic, I decided to give my favourite college meal an adult makeover! Lucky for me my new friends at Cows Creamery sent me their award-winning Avonlea clothbound cheddar to try as part of my ongoing Dairy Farmers of Canada Cheese Club! You’ll be very pleased to know this highly recognized cheese is produced right here in Canada – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to be exact – meaning you don’t have to travel the world to find amazing cheese!

Aged for 14 months, this cheddar is firm in texture and has a rich full-bodied flavour. Cows Creamery uses local Holstein milk to create their prized cheeses. The milk is gently heated, but not pasteurized, allowing the many natural and beneficial micro-organisms and enzymes in the raw milk to thrive and give its cheddar character and flavour notes unmatched by other cheeses! The distinct flavour would be the perfect match for my soft and salty mini pretzels!

Mini Pretzels with Avonlea Cheddar Cheese Dip

Avonlea Cheese Dip
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup 1% milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 large jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 cups Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, shredded
Garnishes: Crispy bacon and jalapeno slices

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and stir in flour. Stir in milk while constantly whisking. Add garlic, onion powder, nutmeg and jalapeno. Whisk until blended and remove from heat. Immediately stir in shredded cheese and stir until melted. Top with crispy bacon and sliced jalapeno. Enjoy hot with soft pretzels!

Soft Mini Pretzels
Slightly adapted from Food Network

1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp fine salt
3 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons coarse salt

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat warm the milk until it reaches 110 degrees; pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in yeast. Let sit for 2 minutes then stir in brown sugar and 1 cup of flour. Add butter and stir. Add remaining flour and salt. Dough should come together into a sticky ball. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed; about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until double in size; about 1.25 hours.

Preheat oven to 450°F (230 °C) and line a baking sheet with parchment. Punch dough and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 12 balls. Roll each ball into long rope and form into pretzel shape. Dissolve baking soda in warm water. Gently dip each pretzel into soda water then arrange on prepared baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until golden, 8-10 minutes. Enjoy warm with cheese dip!

I have to say, my 20-year-old self would have been VERY impressed by this spread! The buttery pretzels and slightly spicy cheese dip were perfectly matched by the refreshing and flavourful Hefeweizen beer. And I’ll admit, while blissfully enjoying this treat my yearning for a simpler time went away… as much as I love and look fondly back on my snacks and beers of my 20’s, it’s so much better having the taste-buds of a grown-up!

Looking for More Cheesy Inspiration?

Every month I’ll be working with the Dairy Farmers of Canada to showcase a brand new #CanadianCheese! Check out all my cheese recipes and posts here!

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