Close your eyes and imagine with me (oh wait...then you wouldn't be able to read this post...hmm) Ok-just pretend your eyes are close and imagine with me!
You're walking through the mall and what do you start smelling? It's warm... freshly baked... sweet (or maybe a tad salty)... Cinnamon-y perhaps...
Soft, sweet, dense, chewy, amazingly addictive pretzels! They are calling you like a long lost friend and you need some, STAT! Maybe salted, maybe coated in cinna-sugar, maybe BOTH! You don't care, you just want them and YOU WANT THEM NOW!
Don't do it-don't go there! You can't, you shouldn't... you really shouldn't...
Why? Why you ask? Well-Pretzels are mostly empty calories... especially those 'mall food court' kinds. Most of them are so heavily coated in salt they make up over 25% of your daily sodium needs. If you get them with sugar the calories are through the roof-and don't get me started on the fake cheese you can get to dip them in! To top it off-you can almost bet your bottom dollar that they're made completely out of white flour which will send your blood sugar levels sky-rocketing, and then crashing!
It's such a shame... pretzels could be such a wholesome snack...
And they will be! (When the Blissful Baker gets done with them that is!)
Let's just do a little bit of substituting shall we?
...a little more whole wheat flour, a little less sugar, a heck no to the frying in grease part, and there we have it! A snack worthy of our consumption!
I promise you, they are every bit as chewy, soft and delicious as their 'bad boy' counterpart!
-1 cup warm water (80-90*)
-1 TBSP. salt
-1 TBSP. brown sugar
-3 cups whole wheat flour
-1 small pkg. active dry yeast
-Desired Toppings (ie cinna-sugar, sea salt, etc.)
For Cooling Water Bath:
-2 cups water
-2 TBSP. baking soda
1. Place all ingredients in bread machine as listed (up to desired toppings); If not using bread machine: mix water and yeast-let sit to proof. Then add sugar and mix, add salt. Finally, mix in flour-knead for 6-8 minutes-let rise until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).
2. After first rise...
Roll your dough into a long snake and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Then we begin the boiling process...
bring 2 inches of water to a boil in pot
boil pretzels for one minute, flip and boil one more minute (if you rolled them into balls, just stir the pot after one minute)
drop the bites into cold water mixed with soda, remove and pat to dry
For cinna-sugar bites:
throw boiled pretzels into a large bag with cinna-sugar (or whatever toppings, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, seasoning blend, etc.) and toss to coat. If using sea salt crystals-just sprinkle those on after placing on your baking sheet
BAKE: After boiled and dipped in cooling bath, and topped (if desired), place bites on a cookie sheet and place in preheated oven set on 425*.
Bake until golden brown, between 15-20 minutes.
Place on a cooling rack-they will be EXTREMELY hot-don't try to eat them! I know it is very very tempting.... don't say I didn't warn you!
So gooey and delicious! And way healthier than any Pretzel-Maker variety!
I love topping them with just a pinch (or three) of sea salt...
Look at how soft and chewy they are! Perfect for a party, late night snack, heck-breakfast!