My sister-in-law, Carolyn, sent us a picture of homemade soft pretzels she made, and I couldn't resist. I had to make them.
A closer look at the pretzels led me to my Valentine's epiphany. The pretzels were shaped like hearts! It was as if the baking gods had spoken. I couldn't NOT make these.
Admittedly, I was a littler nervous when I saw that the recipe included yeast. I had never worked with yeast before, and just seeing that ingredient left me feeling intimidated. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy these pretzels were.
It is rumored that these are supposed to taste exactly like the pretzels found at Aunt Annie's, which you can find in any mall across America. While I confess it's been awhile since I've had an Aunt Annie's pretzel, I can't compare. What I CAN say is that these are so, so, SO good.
Aunt Annie's Soft Pretzel Clones
1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup bread flour
3 cups regular flour
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp baking soda
4 Tbsp melted sweet butter
Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don't have parchment paper grease your baking sheet.
Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water in mixing bowl; stir to dissolve.
Add sugar, salt and stir to dissolve.
Add flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic.
Let rise until dough doubles in size, roughly 90 minutes.
While dough is rising, prepare a baking soda water bath with the 2 cups warm water and 2 Tbsp baking soda. Be sure to stir often.
Preheat oven to 450.
After dough has risen, pinch off bits of dough, a bit smaller than the size of a baseball.
Roll dough into a long rope, about 1/2 inch thick, or less. (The longer and thinner you make the dough rope the more like Aunt Annie's they will be.)
Dip pretzel in soda bath solution and place on parchment covered baking sheet.
Allow pretzels to rise again, 20-30 minutes.
Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove pretzels from baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack.
Brush pretzels with butter.
Topping with coarse salt, or parmesan garlic would be tasty, too!
There were reservations that Marcus might not like these. The kid is so hit and miss with food. However, I'm pretty sure he enjoyed these.
What are some sweets you're sharing with your sweeties this Valentine's Day?
Recipe source: cdkitchen