Sweet & Spicy Bratwurst Pretzel Bombs: fluffy balls of baked pretzel dough, filled with chopped bratwurst, cheese, diced fresh jalapenos, and caramelized onions. Homemade beer cheese dip will make these everyone’s fave appetizer!
This post has been sponsored by Dr Pepper® and Johnsonville® . All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Do you ever think back to your senior year in high school? A time when you felt like you had so much potential – like you could do anything, be anything.
I admit I had plenty of aspirations…but they had no real direction. I applied at all of the major Florida universities, auditioning for their music programs as a vocal major. Funny thing about my senior year: I had no idea what I really wanted to be.
I did my final project on journalism, spending the better part of the year researching and interning in print. I was more interested in broadcasting, but this was fresh after 9/11, and there were no newsrooms that would allow student interns as they had in the past.
I was excited to be accepted to my favorite school (in a city that begins with a ‘G’,) among others, but ended up staying closer to home.
Nana had cared for me my entire life up to that point, and I couldn’t bear to leave her by herself as she was in her late eighties. I opted to go to Daytona State College/University of Central Florida, a mere 20-minute drive from home.
But you can bet I still (secretly) rooted for my favorite team. Every football game and tailgate or homegate party I could get to, I was there for.
I never brought anything like this to the parking lot, though. If Abe has anything to say about it, though, I’m pretty sure I’ll be making these at least once a month.
I guess it’s because these Sweet & Spicy Bratwurst Pretzel Bombs are seriously magical.
How do you feel about caramelized onions? Or beer-braised? How about caramelizing them in Dr Pepper®?? Believe me, they’re about as deliciously paired as anything you’ve ever eaten.
I’d say they’re my favorite part of this recipe, but I’d be lying. I can’t narrow down one specific part and call it the best because everything is just so damn good together.
Before these sassy little bombs, I’d never made pretzel dough before. Yeah, me, the girl with all the bakery experience (of course, our bakery never jumped on the pretzel train.) Essentially, it’s just…a basic bread dough. After you bathe those little balls of joy in a hot water and baking soda bath, however, they magically become these fluffy clouds of pretzelly goodness that are hard to resist.
Then you mix up this simple yet beautifully cheesy filling, loaded with your fave Johnsonville® brats, jalapenos, and those onions.
(Conveniently, all things you can pick up on your next trip to Publix.)
Stuff it inside, ball them up, give them a bath, salt ’em real good, and bake them to utter pretzel perfection.
Oh, and don’t you dare forget the beer cheese dip. It’s what helps take these bratwurst pretzel bombs to the top of the “best football apps ever” list.
And when they inevitably make you thirsty? Grab some of that Dr Pepper®! Dr Pepper® is the one fans crave and is practically synonymous with college football season.
I know I talk a lot about how much I love fall – football season is one of the reasons! No other time of the year can you get together with your best friends and enjoy food like this while yelling at your TV.
Unless you’re watching Game of Thrones, that is.
Become the Party QB and win tickets to the SEC Football Championship on December 2, 2017 in Atlanta, GA! Three Grand Prize winners will win 2 tickets to the game, airfare, and hotel accommodations thanks to Dr Pepper® and Johnsonville Sausage®. 50 other lucky winners will win a $50 Publix Gift Card! Don’t let your team down! Visit TailgateToVictory.com for your chance to win. Enter between 9/11-10/13/2017. Dr Pepper and Johnsonville are proud sponsors of the SEC.
Sweet & Spicy Bratwurst Pretzel Bombs
- 12 ounces bratwurst chopped
- ½ large red onion thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup Dr. Pepper soda
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar
- 3 fresh jalapenos diced, with seeds
- 1 ½ cups warm beer 110°-120° F
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast 1 packet
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more for garnish
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 cups hot water
Beer Cheese Dip
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup stout beer
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper plus more for garnish
- 3 cups cheddar cheese
- Add chopped bratwurst to a skillet set over medium heat and cook halfway. Stir in sliced onion and brown with brats for 5-7 minutes until tender. Reduce heat to low, add salt, and stir in 3/4 of the Dr Pepper. Cook for 16-18 minutes, caramelizing the brats and onions and adding the rest of the Dr Pepper as needed while they cook. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon liners; set aside.
- When caramelized brat/onion mixture is cool, combine with cheeses and fresh jalapeños in a medium bowl. Mix together well and set near large open workspace.
- Pour the beer into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (you can also knead by hand in a large bowl.) Stir in the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast on top and stir again. Allow mixture to sit, blooming the yeast for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
- In a small bowl, beat egg; set near workspace. Sprinkle clean counter top (workspace) with a 1/3 cup of flour.
- Add flour and salt to beer/yeast mix. Knead for 3- 5 minutes until the dough comes together in a ball, adding more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed to get it to the proper consistency. Dough should be slightly tacky when you pull it out of the mixer.
- Remove dough to floured counter top and knead in flour until it is no longer tacky, 1-2 minutes. Form dough into a ball, then cut ball into quarters using a bench knife or other large blade. Roll each quarter into a log, then cut that into 3 pieces. Roll each of those pieces into logs, then cut them into 3 pieces - yielding 36 pieces of dough.
- Fill a medium bowl with 2 cups of hot water and stir in baking soda (you will have to do this about every 12 balls.) Set near workspace.
- Working with one at a time, roll each dough piece into a ball and flatten it into a circle in your palm. Use a small cookie scoop to add about 1 tablespoon of bratwurst filling in the center. Carefully pull each side over the filling to cover it, then pinch the edges closed. Once again roll the dough into a ball, being careful to repair tears so there is no exposed filling. Set aside and repeat until you have 3 completed dough balls.
- Transfer the dough balls into hot water mixture and make 3 more. Remove dough balls from water mixture with a slotted spoon and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with the 3 newly prepared balls. Repeat until all dough balls are on the baking sheets, arranging them as best you can so they are not touching.
- Brush the balls with egg wash and sprinkle each with kosher salt.
- Bake on center racks for 15-20 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, then serve with beer cheese dip.
Beer Cheese Dip
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt butter.
- Whisk in flour and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add milk, beer, and spices. Mix well.
- Return pan to heat and stir for 2-3 minutes until mixture begins to bubble.
- Add cheese 1 cup at a time, whisking well until melted. Remove from heat and season as desired with more salt. Pour into serving bowl and sprinkle with more cayenne pepper.
Hungry for more Game Day apps? Try these other tasty two-bite treats!
Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs
German Potato Skins
Isadora Guidoni says
Wow, these look so delicious!! I will definitely try this for sure. Looking forward to more recipes, Thanks for sharing!!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
Brats and cheese dip…oh my!!
That cheese dip is nuts, girl. 😉
Art from My Table says
This recipe is perfect all the way around!
Thank you so much! I hope you try them out!!
Lisa S says
Great recipe! Can these be “made ahead” (either all or just part) for a future event?
Hi Lisa, and thank you! They can be prepped up to sealing the filling inside. I would probably chill or freeze them at that point, and wait to dip them into the baking soda-water mixture until you’re ready to bake them. I hope you love them! 🙂