My daughter's favorite thing in the world are soft pretzels from the mall.
They are her favorite.
As in last summer I took her on an honest-to-goodness shopping spree because she had outgrown ALL of her warm weather clothes and the thing she cared about most when I told her we were going to the mall was not that she was going to get a bunch of new stuff- it was that she was going to get a pretzel while we were there.
Anyway, last week we went to the mall to grab some new jeans and I was in such a hurry to get home that we couldn't stop by Auntie Anne's- she was crushed.
So yeah...remember how I mentioned that my kids have been out of school for 9 out of the last 10 school days because of snow?
She's been getting a tad bit stir crazy. Just a bit.
The fact that I've been busy with popcorn craziness that I would normally try to accomplish during school hours hasn't helped her boredom at all, especially on the days when I literally haven't been able to see our driveway and haven't gotten the kids out of the house at all.
She was in desperate need of some mommy attention and fun.
I remembered the pretzel promise and we broke out the aprons!
I love cooking with her so much- I love teaching her why we do things, explaining how yeast works, working math and fractions into this mix, and overall just spending time with her. It's pretty much my favorite thing in the world, or at least it's up near the top of the list. :-)
So the recipe was supposed to make twelve pretzels, but she decided that the pretzels looked a little small so we made six instead- lol make twelve guys, make twelve...we ended up with MASSIVE pretzels! I mean...if you want massive pretzels go ahead and do what we did, otherwise just stick to the recipe :-)
One of the best things about making your own pretzels is that you can shape them however you want- make them a heart, your initial, or whatever other shape you want. We had exactly one pretzel that was actually shaped like a pretzel, and that was the one that I made because I'm old and I lack imagination...
These would be great with cinnamon and sugar as the recipe submitter suggested, brushed with flavored butter, or even with seasonings added to the dough.
Me? I'm a purist. Give me a nice, soft, warm pretzel and some mustard and I'm a happy girl!
Regardless of how you like your pretzels, these are great and fun to make too- perfect snow day fun.
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour.
2. Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. Line 6 baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner. Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place onto parchment covered baking sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt, garlic salt or cinnamon sugar.