Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls

Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls

“A bit more tea, Doctor Fentiman?” I urged a fresh cup upon him, willing him to stay awake. “Do tell me more about it. The surgery must have been quite delicate?”

In fact, men never like to hear that the removal of testicles is a simple matter, but it is. Though I would admit that the fact of the patient’s being conscious during the whole procedure had likely added to the difficulty.

Fentiman regained a bit of his animation, telling me about it.

“…and the ball had gone straight through the testicle; it had left the most perfect hole… . You could look quite through it, I assure you.” Plainly he regretted the loss of this interesting specimen, and it was with some difficulty that I got him to tell me what had become of the gentleman to whom it belonged.

“Well, that was odd. It was the horse, you see…” he said vaguely. “Lovely animal…long hair, like a woman’s, so unusual…”

Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Chapter 56)

Hmmm. Where to start? How do I explain the progression regression from Nutella-Filled Pretzel Balls to Stephen Bonnet’s Salted-Chocolate Balls?

There’s a really simple explanation, honestly. But it involves me naming names, and, at this point, I’m not sure that these people’s families know how deep their loved ones’ Outlander obsessions go…and I’m dead certain that they don’t want to know what they we talk about online.

So yes, this titular evolution happened on Facebook. Amongst a group of complete Outlander nutbars. And I think it’s better if I just leave it at that.

pretzel-dough

If you’re more comfortable with the idea of feeding your children Nutella-Filled Pretzel Balls (and I wouldn’t blame you), then head over to my (other) blog, Island Vittles, where you’ll find this very same recipe under that much more appropriate title.

If, on the other hand, you’ve always wanted to take your own piece out of that green-eyed, one-balled Irish bastard, then stick around and scroll on down. Leroi’s roommates are is waiting…

nutella-filled-pretzel-balls

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls

One is never enough.

Yield: 15 pretzel balls

  • All-Purpose Flour – 2½ cups (350 g)
  • Instant Yeast – 1½ tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Malt Powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Butter (soft) – 1 Tble
  • Water (room temp.) – ¾ cup (180 g)
  • Nutella, homemade or store-bought – 1 Cup (recipe below)
  • Water (boiling) – 1 Quart (1 kg)
  • Baking Soda – 3 Tble
  • Egg (lightly beaten) – 1
  • Coarse Salt – 2 Tble

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, yeast, salt, butter and malt powder (if using) on med-low speed.

Slowly pour in the water, holding back about 10% at first. Once the dough has formed a rough ball, change over to the dough hook and continue on low speed. If the dough is too dry, add the rest of the water.

Knead on low for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and knead for another 7 minutes. The dough should be hard, smooth and not even the slightest bit sticky.

Cover the dough with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap, and set aside until doubled in size, about 1 to 1½ hours.

Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces, about 40 g each.

Working one piece at a time, flatten the dough into a rough circle, spoon 1 tablespoon of nutella into the center, then gather up the edges, pressing them together well to seal. Place seam side down on the counter and rock and roll it gently under your palm to make a smooth ball. Cover with clean towel/plastic wrap and repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.

Set aside for 30 minutes to proof (second rise).

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Bring the quart of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a medium pot. Whisk the egg with 1 teaspoon water for an egg wash.

Once the pretzel balls have proofed, drop them, top down, gently into the boiling alkaline water bath in batches of 4 or 5. Do not overcrowd the pot. Flip after 30 seconds, boil for another 10-15 seconds, then remove with slotted spoon to a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet.

Quickly brush each ball with egg wash, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake until a deep golden brown, about 12-18 minutes.

Cool on a rack completely before serving — that’s near-molten nutella/chocolate in there!

Notes:

  • You can make this dough by hand, but notice the kneading time in the recipe — knead for about 20 minutes by hand. The dough is very stiff. Consider enlisting a kneading partner to trade off with every 5 minutes.
  • No Nutella? Wrap the dough around a square or two from your favourite chocolate bar.
  • When wrapping the dough around the nutella, work carefully to avoid a mess. If this is a project you’re doing with little helpers, squares of chocolate will be much easier and tidier.
  • These are best eaten the same day. They will keep overnight in a closed container, but you will notice some “sweating” the next day — that is completely normal, and a reaction between the salt and baking soda bath. Warm slightly in the oven to refresh.
  • Once you’ve wrapped the dough around the filling, the balls can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Defrost, covered, on the counter for 3-4 hours before baking as directed.

Homemade Nutella
Yield – about 2 cups

  • Hazelnuts, shelled – 1½ Cups
  • Cocoa – ⅔ Cup
  • Icing Sugar – 1 Cup
  • Vanilla Extract – ½ tsp
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Vegetable Oil – ¼ to ⅓ Cup

In a food processor, grind the nuts until they’re a butter — almost pourable in consistency. Add the cocoa, icing sugar, vanilla and salt. Pulse to combine. Then, with the machine running, slowly pour the oil through the chute, until you have nutella with a spreadable consistency.

Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator indefinitely. Remove from the fridge to soften for about 10 minutes before serving.

nutella-pretzel-balls

 

I am a professional chef, a food writer and an unabashed fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

53 Comments

  1. Lee Ann

    LOL…sorry I missed that FB exchange…

    Reply

    • Theresa

      You would have loved it Lee Ann! Next time…

      Reply

  2. Jen

    OMG – hilarious!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      I will admit to feeling slightly relieved by everyone’s reactions. I was afraid it was a bit too over the top! Apparently, you’re all nutbars. ;)

      Reply

      • Lior

        LOL over the top? never! now, had you actually named them “bonnet’s crusty balls” as mentioned on facebook (no idea who would EVER discuss something like that haha) then…maybe to the non-obsessed it would have seemed a bit much. LOL.
        nutbars. :-)

        Reply

  3. Sara

    Oh. My. Goodness! Thanks for the laugh today!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Glad it made you smile, Sara!

      Reply

  4. outlanderfan

    Outlander nutbar? I resemble that remark, lol!

    Seriously though, my kids love nutella; I might have to buy a food processor just to try this recipe! Thanks again for bringing a piece of Outlander one step closer to the real world = )

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Jenn — it’s probably actually cheaper to buy a jar…but this version is a lot less sweet. You can really taste the hazelnuts!

      Reply

  5. Donna

    Thanks for the morning laugh!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      My pleasure, Donna!

      Reply

      • Donna

        The photo of the risen dough is just….so…beautiful and perfect. I’m so weird – but I find it somehow soothing! That’s why I love baking bread!!

        Reply

        • Theresa

          Donna…you are not weird at all! I actually had written something about the perfect beauty of that round ball of dough — but then Stephen Bonnet got in the way…;)

          Reply

  6. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    Looks better than Alec Baldwin’s Schwetty Balls. You crack me up.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      LOL! I believe the Chef’s “Chocolate Balls” from Southpark has also been mentioned this morning…:)

      Reply

  7. mrs graham

    you just called me a nutbar, on the interwebs?? I’M FAMOUS!!
    love this recipe, you nutbar.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Yes, you are a now a self-outed Outlander Nutbar for all the world to see, “Mrs. Graham.” Just don’t blame it on me….;)

      Reply

  8. Alayna

    Nothing like a “lady”-like conversation first thing in the morning. They look yummy. *wink wink* I’ll be there in a few… yes I know left turn @ Vancouver.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      hahaha! And yes, I am a lady.

      Reply

  9. Lesley

    Theresa you are FAB.
    The kids just asked me what I’m laughing at, ” Oh just something to do with the books” says me, cue lots of eye rolling and tutting from them lol. :-)

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks Lesley! The kid safe version is over on IslandVittles.com…lol theresa

      Reply

  10. Faith

    I think my eyeballs almost popped out of socket when I read the quote–then saw the picture lol! Oh my–this is masterful and scrumptious I’m sure!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Faith — life is better with a few surprises. Don`t you agree? Theresa

      Reply

  11. Lior

    this is so fabulous. i cannot wait to try these! i say this about all of your recipes…but seriously…one of these days i’m going to make them with a gluten free flour. mmm bonnet balls. hahah!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks, Lior! I’d love to see a picture of those GF balls if you get a chance…Theresa

      Reply

  12. Lior

    PS i am sitting here laughing out loud reading this post. gotta love facebook!

    Reply

  13. Mary

    You are soooooooooo naughty!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Aaah, you know me, Mary…I sometimes find things hard to resist. ;)

      Reply

  14. Jayne

    This blog is so much fun. I enjoyed the humor of this! But also, seeing photos/descriptions of how the foods in the book most likely were made really brings that part of the story to life for me. Thanks for sharing with us!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks for letting me know you’re liking it, Jayne! Theresa

      Reply

  15. ruaTimeTraveler2

    OMG that looks so good!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks! They are TimeTraveler!

      Reply

  16. Maggie

    I found you on Tastespotting–my heart stopped a bit when I saw the name Stephen Bonnet. While these look delicious, the mention of Leroi in conjunction with food…it’s put my appetite quite off ;)

    Off to check out the rest of the blog now–thanks!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Yes, sorry about that, Maggie…sometimes there’s really no excuse for my behaviour. So glad to have another Outlander fan here! Theresa

      Reply

      • Mycah

        Well, since he is lacking in that department…

        Reply

    • Mary Joslin

      OMG, I thought no one else was as fanatical about the Outlander series as my family! This is so great and HYSTERICAL! Kudos Theresa for coming up with yet another way to enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s talents!!!

      Reply

      • Theresa

        That kind of enthusiasm is contagious, Mary! You’re very welcome in the Kitchen!

        Reply

  17. Carol

    Oh my gosh…YUM!!!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      I thought you might like the look of SB’s Balls, Carol! ;)

      Reply

  18. Denise Twist

    This is HYSTERICAL! I haven’t checked the blog in awhile (buying a house and moving at Christmas will wreak havoc on aimless internet wandering) and I see I have a lot to catch up on. Well Done!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks and I’m glad you liked it, Denise…hope you’re all unpacked! Theresa

      Reply

  19. Lisa K

    *GASP* I don’t own a stand mixer, but I found out you can knead the dough on a floured surface. A lot more work, and messier, but funner!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Way to get into those balls Lisa! :)

      Reply

  20. Introducing The OK Recipe Index! « Outlander Kitchen

    [...] There are now 24 Outlander-themed recipes, from the roast beef at J&C’s wedding feast to Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Nutella Pretzel Balls…and lately I’ve worried that newcomers have no (logical, organized) way of navigating [...]

    Reply

  21. Outlander Birthday Double Whammy! « Blue Moon Magnolia

    [...] And for dessert, we had Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls! [...]

    Reply

  22. LisaK

    Just an update – we found another spread you can put inside these (besides Nutella). It’s called Bischoff Spread and we found it at WalMart. It does contain wheat and soy, so those trying to avoid gluten *beware*. But it’s absolutely FAB!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Great tip, Lisa! Thanks!

      Reply

  23. OK’s 1st Anniversary, Tasting the Cherry Bounce & A Giveaway « Outlander Kitchen

    [...] top-viewed post of the first year is Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls…which is the first character-inspired recipe I created, after a rather randy on-line [...]

    Reply

  24. Paulette Akers

    I made a batch of these to celebrate Election Day. They were awesome!

    Reply

  25. Terri

    Hi Theresa. I’m planning to make these pretzel balls for a Christmas Eve dinner and just finished a “practice batch”. They taste great but did not come out quite as pretty as yours. :-) I had a little trouble getting them to seal up properly after putting in the filling (I went with the chocolate squares). I was wondering if there were any tips you might have for getting the dough to seal more completely? Again, they really are delicious even if mine look a little funny. Thank you! Terri
    BTW: I love your blog!!

    Reply

    • Terri

      Hi Theresa. Just wanted to let you know that I figured out my problem with getting the dough to seal properly. As I suspected, my dough was a bit too dry the first time around. That time, I had let it rise under a towel. On the second try, I used plastic wrap and was also much more careful to keep the waiting pieces of dough covered while my husband and I stuffed. This time, we were able to get perfect balls – Stephen would have been proud. :-)
      Terri

      Reply

  26. Barb

    Just came across your site…Love Love Love this!…thanks!

    Reply

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