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.
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 roommate
s are is waiting…
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
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!
- 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.
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.