Everyone is obsessed with cronuts–you know, the croissant/donut hybrid that has become the biggest deal ever the world!? In Philly we have but a few bakeries turning out these babies but they are still hard to come by. So, like an idiot, I convinced myself that I could make them myself. They didn’t really turn out looking exactly like cronuts because I improvised in a few spots and because I have really, really bad luck with yeast…and because I probably had no business trying in the first place.
Making soft pretzels from scratch has been on my never-ending to-do list for some time, but only because I seriously underestimated how laborious the project would be. After researching recipes, Andrew and I finally agreed upon one that we adapted from Bobby Flay. The directions seemed simple enough, and the short list of ingredients led us to believe that making pretzels would be no sweat.
Now that I’ve had some time to digest the process, and the pretzels for that matter, it wasn’t as labor intensive as it seemed at the time…but I’m waiting awhile before I take a project like this on again!
We only encountered real trouble once, during the boiling stage. When we put the dough into the pan filled with boiling water and baking soda, the dough got too wet and soft and could not retain its shape on the baking sheets. We put the pretzels into the oven for just a few minutes prior to the boil and found they retained their shape better this way. We then proceeded to add the egg-wash and salt before placing them in the oven for about 18 minutes.
We ended up with a few questionable looking pretzels but overall they were delicious! The Brown Sugar Dip made the dish. We couldn’t find any recipes to follow as guidelines, so we just winged it. It turned out amazingggg. I mean, you can’t go wrong with mixing together cream cheese and brown sugar, ever!
If you have a lot of time, you should definitely give this a shot. For a normal person this is probably just a fun, everyday activity, but for someone like me who gets super frazzled in the kitchen real fast, it was a little overwhelming. Happy pretzel making!
Brown Sugar Dip
- 1 8 ounce package of regular cream cheese
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Soft Pretzels (adapted from Bobby Flay)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil or Vegetable oil spray (for lining the bowl where you will let the dough rise)
- 12 cups of water
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 2 whole eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- Coarse sea salt
Mix 1 ½ cups of water with 1 package of yeast and ½ cup of white granulated sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes before moving on to mix the dough. The package of yeast we used only called for ½ cup of water but the reaction improved upon adding 1 more cup.
In a stand mixer, combine the yeast and water with the sugar and butter and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour and start by mixing on low-speed until the ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium and continue until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl for about 3-4 minutes. (If the dough seems too wet, add additional flour at 1 tablespoon at a time)
Remove dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Knead into a ball with your hands.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil and add the dough, turning to coat the ball with the oil. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap for about 1 hour, keeping it in a warm location. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small roasting pan, add 12 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add in baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/2 inches each. Roll each piece into a long rope about 22 inches long. To get the pretzel shape, take the rope and make a “U” shape. Next, take the top of each side and bring down to the opposite bottom corner of the “U” shape.
Boil each pretzel for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the water using a wooden spoon. Remove with a large spatula or spider. Place on baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash and season with salt. Place into the oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.