There are so many things out there that I never would have in a million years considered making from scratch, and lately I've been defying all of these self imposed food boundaries I've made for myself and seeing what I can do. Case in point - homemade soft pretzels. I never would have thought to try these at home, and surprisingly, these were pretty easy to make! I found the recipe below at Baking Bites, but I modified it to make it a sweet pretzel rather than a savory one (click the link for the original garlic pretzels). I'm still not very good with working with dough by hand, so my pretzels were rather ugly, but they really weren't hard to assemble at all. And they tasted great! I wanted to add raisins to the dough but I didn't have any more on hand, and I really wanted to make a cream cheese dip to go along with it, but by the time all was said and done it was too late to attempt to make one. Just something to consider if you decide to make the pretzels :) Aside from the resting time, it didn't take as long to make as I would have assumed. I think next time I will employ the services of Things One and Two and let them shape their own pretzels and sprinkle their own toppings on - that seems like something the kids would get a kick out of. Definitely a fun recipe! Can't wait to try other flavor combinations and dips!
Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels
Yields 8 pretzels
1 1/4 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (100˚-110˚)
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting
2 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups warm water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine dried yeast, flours, salt, cinnamon and sugar and pulse to blend. With the motor running, stream in water. Process for 1-2 minutes, until dough becomes smooth and satiny. Add an extra tablespoon of flour if the dough is too wet, but after a minute or two the dough should start to pull into an elastic ball that is only slightly sticky.
2. Divide dough into two and shape each piece into a ball. Place on a lightly floured surface and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap or a clean dish towel. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
3. Dissolve baking soda in warm water in medium bowl.
4. Preheat oven to 400˚.
5. Take the two pieces of dough and gently deflate on a lightly floured work surface. Divide each into four equal pieces (for a total of eight). Work with each piece individually and roll out into a log/snake (like you might do with clay) about 20 inches long. Bring the ends of the dough up into a U shape. Cross the arms over once, then once more. Fold the crossed part down to the base of the U and press lightly into place.
6. Repeat with remaining dough. Let pretzels rise for about 10 minutes, then dip each pretzel into baking soda mixture and place on parchment covered baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Serve immediately or cool on a wire rack. Pretzels can be reheated by baking them in a 350˚ oven for about 5 minutes, but are best they day they are made.