Nutella-Filled Pretzel Balls

Some of you may have noticed that things have slowed down some around here.  It’s true — since late last year, I’ve gone from 3 to 4 posts/week down to 1.5.

Which is hard for me, ’cause I love Island Vittles.  This little blog is like my baby; I’ve watched it grow and evolve for 2+ years now, and I like the way it’s maturing.  It’s grown up a lot — it’s not overly whiney — but it does stand up and take a stand when appropriate.  The pictures have gotten way better, and it’s starting to show up on Google.

So what’s the problem?  Well, see, IV is still just a blip in the big blue ocean of food blogs.  My hundreds of views/day isn’t going to get me noticed on even the most sensitive radar.  This isn’t a hobby for me.  My dream is to make a living writing/talking about food.  I’m on the radio regularly and I write in various online/paper publications, but a gal’s gotta make a living.  I’ve been told I need a niche.

And that’s what this is all about.  I’ve found a niche, and I’ve been working away at it since November.  Outlander Kitchen features historical food inspired by the fictional world of Diana Gabaldon, the widely popular author of The Outlander series.


Outlander Kitchen hasn’t exactly been a secret.  The whole thing started as my Food from Fiction category here on Island Vittles, and I have mentioned it a couple of times since the  inaugural post.

But today is the first simultaneous post for the two.  They even share the same recipe.  Here, they are some delicious hazelnut and chocolate filled pretzel balls, with just a smattering of coarse salt.  Over on Outlander Kitchen, they’re called something a little different.

It’s my way of explaining why things have been a little quieter than usual around here.  At this point, I can’t imagine giving up Island Vittles, and we certainly don’t have to make any drastic decisions right at this moment.  But for the next little while, the majority of my energy will be elsewhere.  I have committed to continue here with 1 QUALITY post/week for the next few months.   Most likely tasty, fast eats that are relatively easy to put together.  That seems to be how we’re eating these days. (Except when we’re sampling 18th Century Scottish food inspired by a completely ficitonal world.) ;)

PS:  If you like smart historical fiction with a little time-travel, romance and fantasy thrown in for good measure, pick up Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.  You can thank me later.


: Nutella-Filled Pretzel Balls

: Hazlenut and chocolate-filled pretzel balls – yum!

  • All-Purpose Flour – 2½ cups (350 g)
  • Instant Yeast – 1½ tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Malt Powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Butter (soft) – 1 Tble
  • Water (room temp.) – ¾ cup (180 g)
  • Nutella, homemade or store-bought – 1 Cup (recipe below)
  • Water (boiling) – 1 Quart (1 kg)
  • Baking Soda – 3 Tble
  • Egg (lightly beaten) – 1
  • Coarse Salt – 2 Tble
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, yeast, salt, butter and malt powder (if using) on med-low speed.
  2. Slowly pour in the water, holding back about 10% at first. Once the dough has formed a rough ball, change over to the dough hook and continue on low speed. If the dough is too dry, add the rest of the water.
  3. Knead on low for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and knead for another 7 minutes. The dough should be hard, smooth and not even the slightest bit sticky.
  4. Cover the dough with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap, and set aside until doubled in size, about 1 to 1½ hours.
  5. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces, about 40 g each.
  6. Working one piece at a time, flatten the dough into a rough circle, spoon 1 tablespoon of nutella into the center, then gather up the edges, pressing them together well to seal. Place seam side down on the counter and rock and roll it gently under your palm to make a smooth ball. Cover with clean towel/plastic wrap and repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.
  7. Set aside for 30 minutes to proof (second rise).
  8. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Bring the quart of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a medium pot. Whisk the egg with 1 teaspoon water for an egg wash.
  9. Once the pretzel balls have proofed, drop them, top down, gently into the boiling alkaline water bath in batches of 4 or 5. Do not overcrowd the pot. Flip after 30 seconds, boil another 10-15 scones, then remove with slotted spoon to a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet.
  10. Quickly brush each ball with egg wash, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake until a deep golden brown, about 12-18 minutes.
  11. Cool completely on a rack before serving — that’s near-molten nutella/chocolate in there!


  • You can make this dough by hand, but notice the kneading time in the recipe — knead for about 20 minutes by hand. The dough is very stiff. Consider enlisting a kneading partner to trade off with every 5 minutes.
  • No Nutella? Wrap the dough around a square or two from your favourite chocolate bar. When wrapping the dough around the nutella, work carefully to avoid a mess. If this is a project you’re doing with little helpers, squares of chocolate will be much easier and tidier.
  • These are best eaten the same day. They will keep overnight in a closed container, but you will notice some “sweating” the next day — that is completely normal, and a reaction between the salt and baking soda bath. Warm slightly in the oven to refresh.
  • Once you’ve wrapped the dough around the filling, the balls can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Defrost, covered, on the counter for 3-4 hours before baking as directed.

Preparation time: 2 hour(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Copyright © 2009-2012 Island Vittles/Theresa Carle-Sanders. Don’t Steal – Karma’s Real.

nutella-filling: Homemade Nutella

: Hazelnut & Chocolate. Need I say more?

  • Hazelnuts, shelled – 1½ Cups
  • Cocoa – ⅔ Cup
  • Icing Sugar – 1 Cup
  • Vanilla Extract – ½ tsp
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Vegetable Oil – ¼ to ⅓ Cup
  1. In a food processor, grind the nuts until they’re a butter — almost pourable in consistency. Add the cocoa, icing sugar, vanilla and salt. Pulse to combine. Then, with the machine running, slowly pour the oil through the chute, until you have nutella with a spreadable consistency.
  2. Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator indefinitely. Remove from the fridge to soften for about 10 minutes before serving.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegan

Number of servings (yield): 12

Copyright © 2009-2012 Island Vittles/Theresa Carle-Sanders. Don’t Steal – Karma’s Real.


22 thoughts on “Nutella-Filled Pretzel Balls

  1. Claudia

    I love that you are going for the brass ring. My blog is absolutely a hobby and I don’t stress over it – but my playwrighting – not a hobby! Niches are very helpful and they can launch. I had a playwrighting niche I used as a launch pad. I hope you can do the same. I love food from fiction – it tickles my fancy and makes fiction so accessible. And your delectable bites – sweet and salty always bring me to the table.

  2. Trysh Ashby-Rolls

    Thought you were quiet and wondered what you were up to. Outlander Kitchen is an awesome idea, and branding, blogging, flogging and platform–ah, so important. Get yourself all over social media too.

    Might be an idea to do another article on your progress sometime soon.

    Congratulations on building towards a very successful career. My hat’s in, with three thousand cheers. Take Manhattan and the rest of the www! You’ve got the balls, Nutella and otherwise, to do it.

    Trysh Ashby-Rolls
    Author & Journalist
    “writing on challenging social issues”

  3. Kiri W.

    This is somewhat mind-blowing. I love, love, love Nutella, and being German, I love pretzles, too. However, I don’t like sweet things with my pretzels (chocolate-covered? Yikes), so now I am trying to imagine this, and find it irresistible yet think I’d not like it. You mess with my head! Great idea, though :)

    1. Theresa Post author

      Kiri! You must try them…they’ll win you over! Sweet and salty? Yum! And the pretzel recipe is from a German chef who I worked with a few years back…just like home… ;)

  4. C&C Cakery

    One quality post a week is just enough, don’t worry! And thanks for linking your other blog – I’ve never seen it before. It sounds (and looks) like you’re doing well with it!

    Also, these are amazing. I love baking pretzels (they’re one of the only yeast breads I can put together successfully) – the homemade nutella will for sure be a hit! Thanks for sharing – I look forward to next week’s post :)

  5. Eliot

    I’m right there with ya’ girl! Things at “my day job” got put into perspective for me this week. In an ideal world, my life would revolve around food—writing, eating, cooking, baking, talking, creating, etc. But, life does get in the way. I really enjoy IV and I hope you can find that niche while keeping it going with a post or two a week. Good luck in all things!

  6. Bullrem

    I love both of your blogs and if you have to cut back, you do what you have to do for you. You could just repost some favorites when you are in a tight. I am going to make your yeast balls, but I do not like nutella. I can make them with nothing I suppose, but I wonder if you have a couple ideas for substitutions. Thanks for all your hard work. Helen in Ark

    1. Theresa Post author

      Just saw your question now, Helen…did you see my suggestion at the bottom of the recipe to use squares of milk chocolate instead? No nutella…and a little less messy too :)

  7. Jenn

    I made these last night and they were a hit! I cheated by using my bread machine for the dough portion, but other than that followed the instructions. Amazingly enough they looked just as delicious as your photos!

    Great recipe! Thanks,


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