Ham and Cheese Pretzel Calzones

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, I’ve got football food on my mind. You know, wings, pizza, nachos, pretzels….all the things that don’t jive well with New Years resolutions. But you can’t really eat salad for the Super Bowl. That would be sad and wrong. Instead you should eat calzones made of soft pretzel dough and stuffed with two cheese and ham. That sounds much better. Salad can happen the next day.
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Joel was born and raised in Kansas City so we were cheering for the Chiefs to go all the way so it was a major disappointment when they lost on Saturday. But we’ll still watch the game and will continue to hope the Patriots lose. We don’t hold a grudge or anything.
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We usually do wings or order pizza but this year, it’s totally going to be these Ham and Cheese Pretzel Calzones. One day I was dreaming about the pretzel bites I made for New Years Eve and this magical idea to make them into calzones popped into my head. Then my brain automatically went to ham and cheese because they go hand in hand with pretzels.

Then this deliciousness was born. My brain can really fail me sometimes these days {hello mom brain} but it was really there when I needed it this time.

These calzones are stuffed with ricotta, sharp cheddar and black forest ham that is crisped to give it more texture. They take a little work but not much time and it’s absolutely worth the effort.

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After the dough is made, it rises for about an hour then is cut into fourths and rolled into round discs. Then you stuff them with all the goodness, seal them and boil them in a baking soda solution for 30 seconds to produce the famous chewy, pretzel texture.

Brush them with butter, sprinkle with salt and bake for 20 minutes for football food perfection. Or Sunday pizza night.

These could be a main dish or if you are having lots of food you could cut these into small wedges or strips to serve as more of an appetizer. Either way, your family and guests will definitely love you for making these nuggets of ooey gooey cheesiness.
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Ham and Cheese Pretzel Calzones
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For the pretzel dough
  1. 1⅓ cups warm water
  2. 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  3. 2 tablespoons honey
  4. 3½ cups all purpose flour
  5. 1 teaspoon salt (regular fine table salt)
  6. ⅓ cup baking soda
  7. 1 tablespoon melted butter
  8. coarse sea salt
For the filling
  1. 1 cup ricotta
  2. 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  3. 1/2 Tbsp.
  4. 8 oz. deli ham, diced into bite size pieces
  5. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast and honey. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add flour and salt and knead for 5 minutes, until smooth and tacky but not too sticky. Form a ball and place on a well floured surface. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and ham and cook until crisp, 3-4 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix ricotta, shredded cheddar, ham and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Fill a large stockpot with 2 to 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (be careful as it will bubble up). Lower to a simmer.
  4. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each out into a round disc about 6 inches in diameter. Place 1/4 of the filling on each dough disc, keeping it to one half of the disc. Fold over dough and seal tightly.
  5. Carefully place each calzone in the simmering baking soda water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to a greased baking sheet or stone. Brush each with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Let cool a few minutes before cutting.
Adapted from Le Creme de la Crumb
Meg's Everyday Indulgence http://megseverydayindulgence.com/

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