I have another Super Bowl party idea for you! This one is a little bit different from the usual, but equally football friendly: pretzels with beer cheese sauce. It has three of the necessary components to a football watching spread: bread, cheese, and beer (others include hot sauce, chicken, grease, and napkins).

When this idea first snuck its way into my head,  I shied away from it because the thought of twisting a pretzel sounded scary. How on earth do I get it into that shape? Will they look horribly deformed? Will they cook unevenly because I’m an incapable pretzel twister? But I decided to go for it, and I’m glad I did. Even if they are a little odd rustic looking.

To make the dough, start by proofing yeast in water and a bit of sugar.

Wait about ten minutes. It should look like this when it’s ready.

Nice and foamy. Add the salt and garlic powder. Instead of using oil as you normally would with a bread recipe, we’re going to use melted butter to give it that pretzel flavor and texture. Add that, too.

Beautimous. Now add about four cups of flour, one cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky. Have your mixer knead the dough for about five minutes, or do it by hand. Place dough in a lightly floured bowl.

Let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled. My dishwasher was conveniently on its “dry” cycle, so I just stuck the bowl on the counter above it! It rose very nicely. This is a new trick for me and I’m excited about it. I understand if you don’t share my enthusiasm.

Now here’s the fun part: twisting them. I watched this video before I started to pump myself up.

First, roll out some of the dough into a very long strip.

Then start twisting! Here are some photos of me rocking it at pretzel twisting.

I’m sorry my hands look bizarre in some of the above pictures. But I did it! And even if they aren’t perfect Auntie Anne’s style pretzels, they actually look like pretzels. And that’s good enough for me.

Now, grease a baking sheet with butter.

And throw on the pretzels. Spread an egg wash over the tops of them and sprinkle on a good helping of Kosher salt.

Throw ’em into an oven preheated to 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are golden. If you like your pretzels really soft, you may want to pull them out around 12 minutes.

While they’re cooking, make the beer cheese sauce. Shred a nice helping of cheddar cheese. You could also you sharp cheddar cheese, throw in some ramano, maybe some gouda. Whatever your heart desires. I had cheddar on hand, so that’s what I was usin’.

For the beer, I used the last of our growler fill from Oakshire Brewing, a Eugene brewery. This particular beer was their Watershed IPA. Which is fabulous, by the way.

Pour the beer into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Let it boil for a few minutes, then add the cheese, some flour, ground mustard, pepper, and worcestershire sauce. I can never spell or pronounce that word. Wor-cest-er-shire always comes out wor-shter-shire. Is that right? Help.

Top with chopped green onions, if you’re feelin’ fancy. Pull the pretzels out of the oven.

And inhale, because nothing in this world smells better than bread fresh out of the oven. Let cool just a tiny bit and serve with the beer cheese sauce. These babies are best warm.

Serve them at your Super Bowl party and they will not disappoint.

Pretzels with Beer Cheese Sauce
Makes 8 pretzels

1 tbsp yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour

1 egg
1/2 tsp water
1 tbsp Kosher salt

Beer Cheese Sauce:
1 1/2 cups beer
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups cheese
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp worcestershire sauce

1. Combine yeast, sugar, and water in a mixing bowl. Let sit for ten minutes.
2. Add the salt, garlic powder, and melted butter and stir until combined. Using your dough hook on your mixer, add the flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is no longer sticky. Remove to a lightly floured bowl to rise for at least a half hour, or until dough has doubled.
3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Butter a baking sheet.
4. Pull off chunks of dough big enough to make a string of it 2 feet long and 3/4 of an inch thick. Form into a pretzel shape. Remove to buttered baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough until eight pretzels are made.
5. Mix the egg in a bowl with water. Brush egg wash over the pretzels and sprinkle on the Kosher salt. Bake for 12-18 minutes, or until tops of pretzels are just golden.
6. While the pretzels are baking, pour the beer into a saucepan and bring to a bowl. Turn heat to medium-low. Add the flour and whisk until thickened. Add the cheese, ground mustard, pepper, and worcestershire sauce and cook until cheese has melted. Serve cheese sauce and pretzels together.