Pretzel Wrapped Smoked Sausages & Cranberry Mustard

I’ve made it to Challenge #4 in Project Food Blog from foodbuzz.com! I am having so much fun being part of this competition and I need to thank you so much for your continued support!  The prompt for this challenge was: “Sure, you can take a pretty picture. But your task here is to go above and beyond and use photography to create a step-by-step, instructional photo tutorial. It could be anything from how to bone a chicken to how to make your favorite recipe, but your photos need to guide the reader through the steps.”

The only chickens around here are quite alive and would probably not appreciate having their bones removed just now, so I’m opting to share one of my family’s all-time favorite foods.  Tighten up those apron strings and join in because this recipe is a must have for football or hockey viewing and upcoming holiday parties.  Maybe you should make it just because you can.  I’ve been known to do that…

A sausage in the hand is worth two on the fork.  Or so I’ve heard it said.

That everyone loves finger food is one of the immutable laws of the universe.* Portable and filling, hand-held foods are a real kid,  husband and crowd pleaser.

*The law -as written by me- states that any food that may be transferred from plate to mouth by way of hand or stick is exponentially more appealing and tasty than one which requires utensils or cutlery. I have yet to meet anyone who contests the law.

Soft pretzels and cocktail sized smoked sausages are in the upper echelon of snackery.* Soft pretzels at their best are a chewy, salty, satisfying contribution from the bread world. Cocktail sized smoked sausages offer a low-effort delectable umami punch in a cute little package.

*Their superiority is also an immutable law.  I offer proof.  What disappears first on a party buffet? If they are present, the answer is unquestionably soft pretzels and cocktail sausages. On another note, is snackery a proper word?  If not, I claim this newly coined word in the name of Foodie With Family.  I have a flag and everything.

These morsels?  These are the cream of the crop.  Pretzel Wrapped Smoked Sausages (with or without the divine Cranberry Mustard) combine the best of everything from the grab-and-go food world into two savory, chewy, dunkable, adorable-to-behold bites.  And oh, what bites they are!  This is far and away the most requested birthday, special occasion, just-because-I’m-craving-it recipe in my arsenal.

A word of caution… Make the whole batch.  Don’t be tempted to halve or quarter this because you will eat more than you thought you would and so will anyone standing around you.  That tray of pretzel sausages above was cleaned in 5 minutes flat. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about leftovers.  But, leftovers -if, by some miracle, you have them- freeze beautifully when wrapped in foil and a resealable bag.

Don’t think for a moment, though, that in the presence of such glorious snack food that this Cranberry Mustard is a throw-away recipe.  You have never had a mustard quite like this one before.  Ruby-hued, tart, thick, and sweet with that mustard pop, it compliments everything from smoked sausages to venison to roast turkey.  More unique than its lovely color is the fact that, unlike most homemade mustards that have to age for weeks, this one is ready to eat straight from the pan.  May I make a suggestion that will have you naming your next-born children after me? Have Cranberry Mustard at your next Thanksgiving table.  I have six words to say  that will convince you: Leftover turkey sandwiches with Cranberry Mustard. I believe that says it all, no?

For a printer-friendly, photo-free version of these recipes, click here!

Pretzel Wrapped Smoked Sausages

Yield: About 76 pieces.

Ingredients for the pretzel dough (Ingredients and bread machine method from the Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook):

  • 4 cups (1 pound and 1 ounce by weight) bread flour (High-gluten flour)
  • 1 tablespoon malt powder or sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

Ingredients for the pretzel bath:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

Additional Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 ounce) packages cocktail-sized smoked sausages
  • 1 egg white whisked together with 1 tablespoon of cool water until frothy
  • coarse salt

Optional:

  • melted butter for brushing the finished pretzels

To prepare pretzel dough with a bread machine:

Add all pretzel dough ingredients into the pan of the bread machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Program the bread machine for the dough cycle and press ‘start’.  Allow the machine to complete the cycle.

This is how the dough looks when it is completed.  If you are using one of the alternate dough preparations listed below, your dough should still be smooth and elastic like this.

To prepare pretzel dough with a stand-mixer:

Fit your stand mixer with a dough hook. Add all of the pretzel dough ingredients to the work bowl. Turn the stand mixer on using the lowest setting.  Keep the mixer on ‘low’ for 6 minutes.  After 6 minutes, remove the dough hook from the bowl.  Cover with a damp tea towel.  Allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy and doubled in bulk; about 35 minutes.

To prepare pretzel dough by hand:

Add dry pretzel dough ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix lightly with a whisk.  Add the milk and water to the bowl and stir well with a sturdy spoon until a shaggy dough forms.  Turn out onto a lightly floured counter top and knead until a smooth and elastic dough forms.  Place in a clean bowl covered with a damp tea towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy and doubled in bulk; about 35 minutes.

To assemble the pretzel wrapped sausages:

Empty the sausages into a bowl for easiest access. Line 3 half-sheet pans with parchment paper.  Spray the parchment paper lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Turn the risen dough out onto a clean counter top. (Do not flour the counter top!)  Use a bench knife or spatula to pinch or cut off a piece of dough about the size of a ping pong ball.  Cover the bulk of the dough with a clean towel to keep it from drying.

Squash the piece of dough flat.  Using the pads of your fingers and the palms of your hands, roll the piece of dough back and forth, gently moving hands away from each other. If you call on your play-dough snake making experience to get the right feel for the movement you’re on the right track.

Continue rolling the dough until it forms a long cord with a diameter of about 1/4-1/2 of an inch.  Hold the end of the dough cord to the end of the cocktail sausage with one hand. Use the other hand to coil the pretzel dough around the sausage down to the other end.

Use a bench knife or spatula to cut the excess dough cord.

Wind the last bit of dough cord tightly at the end and pinch the loose ends  into the dough coil. Don’t worry about perfection.  You’re working with sausages and pretzel dough.  Whether it ends up a perfect finished coil or not it will still taste like a dream!

Place, pinched sides down, on the prepared parchment lined pans.  Let rise, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

To boil and bake the pretzel wrapped sausages:

While the pretzel dough is rising, preheat oven to 400°F and bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the baking soda to the boiling water.  Carefully lower up to 8 pretzel dough wrapped sausages into the boiling water with your hands.  Take care not to drop them from on high as that will cause the boiling water to splash.  Allow them to simmer for about 45 seconds. The pretzel dough will become puffy and some ends may come untucked.  As soon as you reach this stage…

…Use a slotted spoon to lift each piece from the water, drain and return to the pans.  Brush each piece with the frothy egg wash.

Remember that the sausage is already salty, so use a light hand in sprinkling the coarse salt.

Bake the trays for 16 minutes each, or until the pretzels are a glossy golden brown.  Remove from the oven.  If desired, brush the finished pretzels with melted butter and cool for 5 minutes before transferring the pretzel sausages to a serving platter.

Cranberry Mustard

Adapted gently from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Yield: A little over 8 ounces.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 2 generous pinches ground allspice

Bring red wine vinegar to a boil in a stainless steel pan.  Remove from heat, add yellow mustard seeds, swirl the pan and cover tightly.  Let the pan sit at room temperature for about an hour or until the seeds have absorbed almost all of the red wine vinegar. Scrape the soaked seeds into a blender or food processor fitted with a stainless steel blade.

Process until most of the seeds have been crushed.  Do not process until completely smooth as you still want a grainy texture with some whole seeds.  Add the cranberries, Worcestershire sauce and water and process until the cranberries are finely chopped.  Here is where you start getting an idea of just how gorgeous this mustard will be.

Use a silicone or rubber spatula to scrape the cranberry/mustard seed mixture back into the stainless steel pan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil gently for 5 minutes.

Whisk in the sugar, mustard powder and allspice until completely incorporated. Simmer until reduced by third, about 5-10 minutes.  Transfer into a clean jar with a tight fitting lid.

The mustard is ready to use immediately, but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. This is the only mustard I’ve ever found myself sneaking by the spoonful straight from the jar.  Yes, it is that good.

This is my fourth entry in Project Food Blog over at Foodbuzz.com. Did you like this recipe and the post?  I’d appreciate your vote of support! Voting is now open.  To show your support for Foodie With Family, you can click here or on the orange “Vote for Me” tab in the Official Project Food Blog Contestant widget in the upper right sidebar. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting me this far and for your continued support!

Comments

  1. That cranberry mustard looks absolutely amazing! Good luck this round!!!

  2. Okay, first off your photos are GORGEOUS. Seriously beautiful. Secondly I love what you’ve made here and your step-by-step – I totally want to make some of these now!

    Great job ;)

    Jax x

  3. Cherry mustard! Wowza… Gotta try that for sure. Great entry. GREG

  4. I only stumbled on to your site last night, but have already sent the kids up to the grocery so that I can start baking!

    I just called the hubby at work to ask him to pick up a bread machine on his way home. He is crazy about smoked sausage pigs in blanket. This ups my recipe by miles. I cannot wait to make the cranberry mustard, and I will be making it for the family Thanksgiving dinner.

    You have my vote any time!

  5. I’ll have what she’s having.
    And people, for the love of all things beautiful and tasty… trust her with the leftover turkey and cranberry mustard. Because oh.my.heavens. it’s amazing.

  6. Wow, these look incredible – I’m racking my brain for the next get-together we’re attending so I have a good excuse to make these!!

  7. Oh. Holy. Cow.

    You’re definitely one of my favorites!!! AAH! I love sausage, but wrapped in chewy pretzel, into mini cute bites like that? be still my heart…You make the whole process look so neat and easy, too. The mustard is also HEAVENLY.

    Now, all I need is a pitcher of draft beer. Oh, and for the voting to start.

  8. Double yum! I loved the whole entry. Story, photos, end product. Guess what? You have my vote! Again!

  9. What a great post! The pretzel sausages look fantastic and cranberry mustard??…WOW! You’ve got my vote! :)

  10. I am making the cranberry mustard. Uh huh. You betcha.

    Your photos are spectacular, friend, as is your grasp of the tutorial-style post. Wonderful, wonderful job!!

  11. AND cranberry mustard? I’m coming over.

  12. Wow. These look delicious! Nicely done. What a great little appetizer. And the tutorial is really lovely. I voted for you!

    Good luck! hope to see us both in round 5!!! =)

  13. Beautiful! Sounds like a perfect snack!
    You’ve got my vote :)

  14. I could probably gobble up a whole batch of these little sausages all by myself, but that’s not the only reason this tutorial is awesome… great job with the photos, and with providing really clear and simple steps along the way. That cranberry mustard is the perfect finishing touch, too.
    Good luck! You’ve got my vote.

  15. These look delicious! Will definitely have to give this a try…loved your step-by-step photos. Good luck and hope to join you in the next round :)

  16. These are totally the perfect football game food!! My boyfriend always wants me to make “pigs and a blanket,” but I resist. These are MUCH more up my alley!! Totally delicious looking :)

  17. Cranberry mustard? Hello, genius. I love to make pretzels and I think I just found my new favorite dip. Voting for you!

  18. I love that cranberry mustard! The color is so beautiful. And I am also glad you made your pretzel dough from scratch, well done! Good luck, voted!

  19. i have a girlfriend who is going to flip her shit when she sees this. pigs in a blanket are her alltime favorite guilty pleasure, and this is just amazing!

    you have my vote for sure!!

    Whit @ Amuse Bouche

  20. I’m actually afraid to make these … because I’m pretty sure I’ll eat the entire batch all by myself! I’m going to save this recipe for a day when I have friends, lots of friends, over though. And that cranberry mustard looks incredible! Good luck this round!

  21. What a great idea! My kids would love these yummy bite – I can’t wait to make that cranberry mustard. Got my vote! -Chris

  22. So cool! I never knew how pretzels were made, but you totally went above and beyond that, with cranberry mustard too. Great post.

  23. Love the tutorial, those look delicious and fairly easy to figure out. Great job! Good luck in round 4!

  24. Mmmm…Pigs in Pretzels instead of Pigs in Blankets! Great photos, clear and fun instructions, and a fun and unique condiment with the cranberry mustard! You’ve got my vote…good luck!

  25. These look fabulous! And great to know how to make pretzel dough too!
    Voted for you, hoping we both make it through to Round 5.
    Cheers, Fiona

  26. I’m coming over too! This looks amazing, and I love your writing. You have a vote from me!

    My own post is a romp through croissant making that’s filled with humor, exhaustion, and a little bit of popstar glamor. Come see if you’d like :)

  27. These look amazing, I’m used to making puff pastry wrapped sausages but never thought of this. I know a certain 4yr old that will love this!
    Good Luck !!!

  28. I’m making these, today. They look delish and will be a big hit for our next get-together. That mustard looks amazing, too. I might just make some for gifts, this holiday season. I’ve got that Ball book so I’ll be able to process the jars the right way. Thanks for this wonderful post. Am voting for you, today!

  29. Our son is 14.5 right now. We believe the first half of 14 might be the worst half. I am eagerly awaiting his transition from “punk boy” to “junior man”. There are not enough hours in the day to find him in a good mood. (This morning, we rejoiced that nobody cussed or cried before school.) I will be surprising him today with an after-school pretzel making session. Just like “preggo-pizza” with anchovies is supposed to start labor, maybe the pretzels will start his man quest. Thank you for the part you are about to play in recovering tranquility in our home…

  30. That cranberry mustard seals the voting deal!

  31. brilliant…this will be great for potluck!

  32. Prepared it myself following your recipe and it was fantastic. I’m a beginner at cooking

  33. This looks fabulous! Can i make in advance, or better yet freeze?

  34. Your pictures, presentation, and directions are great! This looks like a winner! You certainly have my vote.

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