Oh my gosh you guys. I cannot even begin to tell you how IN LOVE I am with these AMAZING pretzels!! Oh. My. Word. They’re soft, they’re chewy, they’re buttery. They’re perfect little pillowy pretzel bites covered with a fabulously crunchy cinnamon sugar crust and finally — the pièce de résistance — they’re dipped in THE most heavenly salted caramel sauce ever. Seriously. I ate this caramel sauce right out of the jar with a spoon. Maria had to wrestle the jar away from me. We had words. I tried to sneak it home with me. The combo of these two together is 100% perfection. If you want the BEST mini appetizer-dessert-snack EVER… This is it. So insanely good. I am jealous of past-Amanda for getting to eat these, since present-Amanda currently doesn’t have any. I kind of hate her. Let’s make these right away before I get too bitter. You have, have, have to make these. ASAP. They are so good! :)
Okay, let’s get started. :) I always love getting together with bloggy friends, but I especially love it when we can get together and bake!! :) I had so much fun baking with Maria and Josh in the Two Peas and Their Pod Kitchen. Maria asked what I wanted to make, and I knew it had to be their famous homemade soft pretzels! They were so easy and fun to make. I am definitely making these at home ASAP!! :) Here’s what all you’ll need — just a few basic ingredients. Nothing too complicated. We used bread flour, but you can easily use all-purpose flour as well.
Here’s the kind of yeast we used.
To start, combine warm water from the tap, yeast, sugar, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Mix for about 30 seconds until just combined.
And let sit for about five minutes until the yeast “blooms” and it looks like this.
Next add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until just combined.
Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
Perfect! Remove the dough from the bowl and knead into a ball.
Coat a bowl with a little vegetable oil, add the dough, and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a clean towel or foil and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about an hour. You can use the bread proofing setting on your oven, or just set it in a regular oven turned off. The oven is a great place for dough to rise because it’s generally free from drafts.
Meanwhile, we’ll make the salted caramel sauce. Yay! Salted caramel party time! All you need is sugar, butter, cream, and salt for the most perfect, most pure, most delicious caramel sauce ever. Be sure to measure your ingredients out ahead of time so you have them ready while you’re making the sauce (it goes quickly), and it helps if the butter and cream are at room temperature.
To begin, heat 2 cups of sugar over medium to medium-high heat in a heavy 2-3 quart saucepan.
Whisk constantly. The sugar will start to melt and clump up as it transforms, just keep whisking.
It’s starting to melt! Keep whisking. :) This is the most heavenly fragrance in the entire world. You know the saying warm vanilla sugar? This is so much better than that.
Keep whisking, keep whisking… :)
Once the sugar is completely smooth and melted, add 12 tablespoons of butter, piece by piece. Three Land O’ Lakes half-sticks are exactly 12 tablespoons.
Whisk after each addition until fully incorporated.
When the butter is fully incorporated into the sugar, remove the pan from the heat.
Slowly pour in one cup of heavy cream.
Whisk until the cream is fully incorporated and the caramel is smooth.
And finally, whisk in one tablespoon fine sea salt.
That’s it!! See how easy that was?? :) Pour the sauce into a jar and cool to room temperature. You’re going to need to taste-test SEVERAL times with a spoon though. Several. See? That jar was full before I got to it. ;)
I seriously need to have this on hand at ALL times. It’s so good on everything!! :)
Meanwhile, our dough has doubled in size! It’s pretzel time, baby!
First, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Once the water comes to a boil, add 2/3 cup baking soda.
While you’re waiting on the water to boil, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
Here’s where Maria and Josh took over. They are the perfect, cutest little team in the kitchen! Yes, we were all very comfy in our PJs this fine Saturday morning, lol! Roll each piece into a rope about two feet long.
Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.
Boil the pretzel bites in batches, about 15 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon.
Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching.
Here’s where I forgot to take a picture! I must’ve been sneaking caramel out of the jar while Maria wasn’t looking. ;)
Bake the pretzel bites at 425 for 8 minutes, then remove from the oven and immediately place the pretzel bites on a cooling rack. You could also use a sheet of wax paper or foil if you do not have a cooling rack. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. You want to do this over a cooling rack and not on the pan you bake the pretzel bites on or else the sugar will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Then put the pretzel bites back on the first pan and continue baking for an additional 8-10 minutes until golden and cooked through.
Tada! The sweet, cinnamony, crunchy shell combined with the soft, pillowy, salty pretzel is absolute perfection.
But then you’re gonna wanna do this.