I know, it seems like everyone is jumping on the soft pretzel bandwagon these days, but they are so good! Back when I was in middle school my home economics teacher decided to open a little cafe where we'd sell baked goods and lemonade to the teachers and students. The two things I can vividly remember making- snickerdoodles and soft pretzels. I swear I've made about 1,000 of these... maybe even more! When I broke out the recipe that I had tucked away and started making them, it all came back to me. They're so easy and quick! I had them shaped, brushed and in the oven in less than 15 minutes! I'm always a fan of a quick recipe, especially when it's just for a snack. I decided to make salted pretzels and whipped up a pan of jalapeno cheddar dipping sauce to go with them, but they're just as good when they've got cinnamon and sugar sprinkled all over them too (oh, and Stephen says they're also tasty when salted and covered in spicy mustard)! I hope you'll give these a try, I think you're going to like them!
Soft Baked Pretzels
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
¾ c. warm water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten- combined with...
1 tbsp. melted butter (barely warm)
1 tbsp. coarse sea salt OR 2 tbsp. sugar combined with 1 tsp. cinnamon, to sprinkle on top
Jalapeno cheddar dipping sauce:
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. milk
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
½ tsp. salt
½ of a jalapeno minced
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, line one baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat, set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add warm water. Sprinkle yeast and allow to dissolve for 2-3 minutes. Add sugar and mix for 15 seconds. With mixing speed on low add salt, then flour a half cup at a time. When all of the flour is gone, switch to the dough hook attachment (or place dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 minutes), mix on low for 4 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
3. Divide dough into 4-6 equal size pieces (or more if you want smaller pretzels). Roll each ball into a long rope, about 18-22 inches in length. Take the ends of the "rope" and bring together to form a circle. Twist the ends together once and bring down to the bottom of the circle. Press ends into the dough so that they will stick. Place onto prepared baking sheets.
4. Using a pastry brush, coat each pretzel with egg/butter wash. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt (or cinnamon sugar). Place sheet of pretzels into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, turning half way through for even baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before serving.
5. To make dipping sauce, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add butter and jalapeno. Sautee until soft. Add flour and whisk till thick. Add mix and heat mixture until thick. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese until smooth and silk. Add salt and enjoy!
Note: For a healthier alternative, try substituting 1 c. of all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.
Adapted from an old home economics class recipe, source unknown | Makes 4-6 large pretzels