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Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls

Stephen Bonnet’s Salted Chocolate Pretzel Balls

A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Beyond the Books

“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.

Salted Chocolate Pretzel

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…

Salted Chocolate Pretzel

(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!


  • 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.

Salted Chocolate Pretzel



  1. Lee Ann
    January 19, 2012 at 5:01 am

    LOL…sorry I missed that FB exchange…

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

      You would have loved it Lee Ann! Next time…

  2. Jen
    January 19, 2012 at 5:09 am

    OMG – hilarious!

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

      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. 😉

    • Lior
      January 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      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. 🙂

  3. Sara
    January 19, 2012 at 5:24 am

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

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Glad it made you smile, Sara!

  4. outlanderfan
    January 19, 2012 at 6:46 am

    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 = )

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

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

  5. Donna
    January 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for the morning laugh!

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

      My pleasure, Donna!

    • Donna
      January 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      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!!

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      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…;)

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

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

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

  7. mrs graham
    January 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

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

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

      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….;)

  8. Alayna
    January 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

    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.

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:50 am

      hahaha! And yes, I am a lady.

  9. Lesley
    January 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

    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.

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

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

  10. Faith
    January 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    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!

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

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

  11. Lior
    January 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    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!

    • Theresa
      January 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

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

    • Kristine
      December 21, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Lior, did you ever make these gf? My daughter has Celiac and I’m always looking for new and fun things for her. She is only 8 so I’d give her the Island Vittles version of course!!

  12. Lior
    January 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

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

  13. Mary
    January 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    You are soooooooooo naughty!

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm

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

  14. Jayne
    January 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    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!

    • Theresa
      January 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm

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

  15. ruaTimeTraveler2
    January 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    OMG that looks so good!

    • Theresa
      January 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks! They are TimeTraveler!

  16. Maggie
    January 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

    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!

    • Theresa
      January 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm

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

    • Mycah
      January 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Well, since he is lacking in that department…

    • Theresa
      January 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

      lol, Mychah!

    • Mary Joslin
      January 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      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!!!

    • Theresa
      January 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

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

  17. Carol
    January 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Oh my gosh…YUM!!!

    • Theresa
      January 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

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

  18. Denise Twist
    February 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    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!

    • Theresa
      February 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

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

  19. Lisa K
    February 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    *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!

    • Theresa
      February 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Way to get into those balls Lisa! 🙂

  20. LisaK
    September 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    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!

    • Theresa
      September 2, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Great tip, Lisa! Thanks!

  21. Paulette Akers
    November 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

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

  22. Terri
    December 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    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!!

    • Terri
      December 31, 2012 at 9:38 am

      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. 🙂

  23. Barb
    January 18, 2013 at 10:55 am

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

  24. Kerri
    September 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    You can also use TRADER JOE’S BUTTERCOOKIE (there is one that has chocolate with in) – DELICIOUS!

  25. Marina
    April 29, 2015 at 6:40 am

    The nuttela looks great, but can I use peanut oil instead? Or something else instead of vegetable oil?

    • Theresa
      April 29, 2015 at 9:34 am

      use whatever you want!

  26. Anna Lapping
    December 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    That was hilarious! I can only imagine what led you to create these!!!And they sound wonderful.

  27. Tracy
    April 16, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I refrigerate the Nutella before I wrap them… I just spoon out dollops of Nutella onto a cookie sheet and put them in the fridge or freezer. It makes it much easier to wrap the dough around them. I LOVE this recipe; I’ve made it quite a few times! Everyone loves the taste, and the name!!

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