We’re not here to cause no trouble, we just came to make some Superbowl Stuffles™!!
Are you ready for some football?!?!?!?!?!? I’m not sure if anyone knows this, but beyond the talk of Ray Lewis, deer antler spray, and brothers coaching against one another…there’s a football game this Sunday!! In fact, its the LAST football weekend of the season. There is a whole mix of emotions since it is the biggest game of the year as well as the end of an exciting season. Sadly, my Redskins were knocked out in the playoffs but props to them for an amazing season and we look forward to RGIII and his bionic leg to hoist the trophy next year……
Now–Superbowl parties are a plenty this weekend regardless of whether you are legitimately rooting for one of the teams, watching the million-dollar-a-second commercials, or just looking for an excuse to be drunk one last Sunday evening. Beyond the staples of chips, dips, and beers…why not make these DELICIOUS stuffed football shaped pretzels aptly called Superbowl Stuffles™. What does this name mean? you might ask…Well, for those of you who are not familiar with the ’85 Chicago bears–they made a video you can see here. I know, I know…its truly one of the more amazing musical works of the era! The lyrics, the musical score, the high tech video. Well this supremely tasty snack is named in honor of this supremely genius song. They really are easy and they don’t even have to be filled if you just want to make awesome football shaped pretzels and serve them with mustard (which I then call Pigskin Pretzels™). Better yet–you can make the dough tonight, chill it overnight and finish them tomorrow. Easy. Delicious. Go make now! : )
1 package dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (about 110 F)
2 3/4 cup (plus extra if needed) all purpose flour
1 1/2 t salt
4T soft butter
Coarse salt for sprinkling
Fillings of your choice!! I used bacon and cheddar and these little chicken sausages called Chicken Littles and provolone but use what ever you want!
For the wash: 4% solution Sodium Hydroxide (or 1t baking soda per cup of water) and latex gloves **more on this below**
In a bowl of a standing mixer, combine the yeast and warm water. Whisk to blend. Add sugar, then flour, salt and butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix dough on medium speed until a smooth, soft dough form, about 4-5 minutes. Adjust with additional flour if needed. Dough will be slightly soft and moist, but not sticky.
**Alternately, dough can be mixed by hand. Bring together in a bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula and then knead on lightly floured surface until smooth
Place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise until double, about 45 minutes- 1 hour.
**Alternately you may rise the dough overnight in the refrigerator at this point
Divide the dough into 8 even pieces (for regular sized footballs) or 16 even pieces for mini 2 bite footballs. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray well with nonstick cooking spray (or brush with oil)
Pat dough out into a rectangle–try to leave the center slightly thicker than the edge so when you slash the tops the cheese will not bubble out. Place filling in center and fold dough over top, sealing the seam on the bottom and tapering the ends to mimic the shape of a football. Place seam side down on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Once all the footballs are formed, lightly spray the top of the dough, lay plastic wrap on the surface (no need to wrap tightly) and chill for about 1 hour in the refrigerator. Its ok if a skin starts to form on the surface of the dough.
After about 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 F (I have a convection so use 400F if you have a still oven). If you have access to food grade Sodium Hydroxide, I highly recommend it. It gives pretzels that beautiful shiny brown crust. However, please use caution when using it and read the directions carefully. I mix 20g sodium hydroxide with 500g room temperature water. Mix well until dissolved in a bowl large enough to hold the footballs. Remove the footballs from the refrigerator. Have another baking sheet ready lined with parchment paper. Spray well with nonstick spray. Using the latex gloves, dip them into the solution for about 20 seconds, turning over to be sure the entire surface is coated. Remove footballs from solution, letting the excess drip back into the bowl.
Place onto prepared pan, evenly spaced apart. Using a sharp blade, slash the tops of the dough like the football laces and two slashes at either end. Sprinkle the tops with coarse salt. Bake the Stuffles™ right away for about 15-18 minutes, turning halfway through baking.
An adequate substitute is baking soda. If using baking soda, mix 6 cups water with 2T baking soda. Bring this mixture to a simmer. Poach the footballs in this solution in batches for about 15-20 seconds. Follow instructions above just the same for finishing and baking.
Tips from A Cook:
Don’t forget you can make the dough and rise it over night! You can also form them and let them rest overnight in the refrigerator as well.
Don’t spend a lot on a “lame” or a the tool used to slash bread. Buy the double sided razor blades at the store and thread them on a coffee stirrer
Looking for a small amount of Sodium Hydroxide? Look here! Kalustyan’s is an endless source of ingredients. I’m sure you can find a lot of other items you never knew you needed!!