We’re all about the healthy food, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love a sweet treat sometimes. For a while, our Friday nights were spent at the mall, and somewhere along the way my son discovered a treasure that now ranks among his short list of favorites: soft pretzels.
Despite my best efforts, he fell head over heels for the cinnamon sugar ones, and I’m OK with him enjoying them once in a while. What I’m not OK with is spending almost $10 every time we want to indulge a little! So now, we make them at home thanks to this recipe. The cost per serving is SO much cheaper. Add a Redbox movie, and it’s a 3-year-old’s dream date on a dime.
And even though the instructions look long and involved, these really are super quick and easy (even with little helpers!)
This recipe is a great opportunity to teach kids that every food they like from a store, the mall, wherever, can be made even better at home.
Just mix the dough:
Roll out and cut:
Soak in baking soda and water, bake off, then coat in butter and cinnamon sugar yumminess.
If you’re going to do it, make sure to do it right and get them good and crusted with cinnamon!
So forget standing in line for mall food. Make these at home, and you’ll get the warm ones every time. We have yet to see a batch get cold in our house!
Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzel Bites
adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 7/8 to 1 cup warm water (King Arthur Flour’s note: Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar mixture (I use a premade mixture from our local farmer’s market, but you can mix your own to taste.)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1) To make dough by hand, or with a mixer: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag or tightly covered bowl and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
OR: To make dough with a bread machine: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (no need to let it rise), then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag or covered bowl, as instructed above.
OR: To make dough with a food processor: Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with the steel blade. Process for 5 seconds. Add the water, and process for 7 to 10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process a further 45 seconds. Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2) While the dough is resting, prepare the topping: Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler).
3) Preheat your oven to 475°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper or a silpat.
4) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces (about 70g, or 2 1/2 ounces, each).
5) Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Pour the baking soda/water into a shallow pan.
6) Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 28″ to 30″ long), then cut each rope into 6 pieces for large pretzel bites or 8 pieces for smaller bites. Working with 6–8 bites at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops; leave them in the water for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet. This baking soda “bath” will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color.
7) Transfer the pretzel bites to the prepared baking sheet. (If you’re doing any salted instead of cinnamon sugar, now is the time to sprinkle with salt.) Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
8) Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Meanwhile, put cinnamon sugar into a large plastic zip-top bag.
9) Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. While still warm, toss pretzel bites, a few at a time, into the bag containing your cinnamon sugar. Shake until each bite is well-coated. Repeat with the rest of the warm pretzel bites. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave.
(Makes approximately 48 large or 64 small pretzel bites.)