Cider Cheese Soup Shooters in Mini Pretzel Bread Bowls.
Could I BE any more excited to tell you about soup and bread?
No, I definitely cannot. Chandler Bing style. !!!!
Mini foods are obviously fun to eat (um, plus, like I always say – you get to eat MORE), but mini soup shooters in mini bread bowls are double the fun! You can have your soup and eat your bread too.
And tiny poppable soup bites with cheese, bacon and pretzel bread? Ooomph. My heart hurts with how much I love these little guys.
Toppings pretty much make my life right now. Nachos, baked potatoes, salads, omelets. The more toppings, the better.
It seems like I’m really having a thing for pretzel bread at the moment. I am! It’s totally true. And not soft pretzels – I want homemade, salty pretzel bread fresh out of the oven and TRUST ME I will find a way to work this into whatever meal we are having that night.
I’ve worked it into pasta and meat sauce. Smoked sausage and roasted peppers. Crockpot pot roast earlier this week! I swear. Pretzel bread can do no wrong.
The soup itself is also a cheesy dream. It’s a longtime favorite of my family and one I first shared a few years ago in a similar recipe. Basically, you can’t have bread without this soup. It’s fantastically creamy and cheesy and packed with flavor and eating it off a spoon is nothing to hate whatsoever.
But eating a chunk of bread dipped in this soup? Life changing.
Up until recently I’d only ever made this soup with regular old beer. Becoming a big fan of cider though, I determined that I needed to try it – especially with apple! – and see how it turned out. I wanted it to be super Octoberfesty up in here.
But also, my brain was spinning because should I try apple or pumpkin cider? Which would work better?
Problem solved: try both. I tried both and actually, really loved both. It depends on what flavor you’re going for. If you want a bit more spice, maybe even a nutmeg-like hint, do the pumpkin.
If you want a this-tastes-like-fall, apple cider, maybe-even-close-to-a-bath-and-body-works-leaves-candle-but-in-a-good-way kind of flavor, go with apple.
The one thing I didn’t do was mix half pumpkin and half apple cider, but you could totally try that too!
You’d just have two different kinds of cider to finish.
…. problem? Not at all.
These are super fun for a party but might not be 100% practical if you have a crazy busy life. The soup itself is something you can throw together on a weeknight and eat with sandwiches – complete and utter comfort food. If you can find bakery-baked pretzel rolls, try ’em out! Anything to get this flavor combo in your face ASAP.
Soooo if you were looking for a detox from yesterday’s brownie? This is not the place. But worth it. Swear.
Cider Cheese Soup Shooters in Mini Pretzel Bread Bowls
1 batch of pretzel rolls
3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 sweet onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups of your favorite hard cider (apple OR pumpkin versions work! depends on the flavor you want.)
1 cup half and half
8 ounces sharp white cheddar, freshly grated
4 ounces colby jack, freshly grated
fresh herbs (I like cilantro and chives) for garnish
sour cream or greek yogurt for topping
Note: I made the pretzel roll recipe as noted but ended up making smaller balls before dropping them in the water bath. I made dough balls that were about 1 to 1.5 ounces in weight and slightly bigger than 1 inch in diameter. I cut 3 minutes off the bake time. Once the rolls were cool, I used a serrated knife to cut out the center and fill it with soup! The rolls take about 2 hours from start to finish and can be made the night before. You can also buy pretzel rolls and go from there!
Note #2: I've made this soup now with both hard apple cider AND hard pumpkin cider! I love both. It just depends on what flavor you are looking for.
To make the soup, heat a large pot over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook it until crispy and the fat is rendered, them remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain. Reduce the heat to low and add the onions and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high and add in butter. Once it's sizzling, whisk in the flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until you have a roux that is nutty and golden. Slowly stream in the cider while stirring constantly. Cook for 5 minutes so they alcohol cooks out and the mixture somewhat thickens.
Stream in the half and half and reduce the heat to low. Gradually add in the cheese while stirring, only a few handfuls at a time until each is melted. Stir until smooth, then fold in half of the bacon. Taste the soup and season if needed - it may need a bit of salt and pepper. Spoon it into the mini pretzel rolls. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs, chives, the leftover bacon and sour cream.
[slightly adapted from my beer cheese soup]
can we do a soup bite contest?? Yes yes.