Today’s recipe has long been one of my favourite snacks. When I was a kid nothing was better than a trip to the mall for an Aunt Anne’s pretzel. The soft, salted, buttery dough with their honey mustard dip was pretty much my idea of perfection. Now, as a grown up I don’t live near an Aunt Anne’s and need to get my fix another way.
This is how I finally came up with this recipe. Its not identical but it is so yummy that it easily fills the void. This dough is pretty versatile and can be shaped into full sized pretzels if you prefer.
Sometimes I make pizza pretzels topping them with sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Other times I will use the dough to wrap hot dogs and than boil and cook the same way and serve the kids pretzel dogs for lunch…ok, for me too.
Alright, lets get started!
Start by adding warm water, not too hot, to the bowl of stand mixer. Sprinkle brown sugar and active dry yeast. Let mixture stand until foamy.
While waiting for the yeast, I like to prep the rest of the ingredients needed. Melt butter and set it aside. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper and grease a large bowl then set it aside until its needed.
Now that the yeast has woken up we can add the remaining ingredients into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add melted butter, salt, and all purpose flour.
Once all the ingredients are added knead the dough on low speed until everything is incorporated and the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. If it is still sticking to the sides and not forming into a ball you can add a little more flour if needed.
Once the dough has cleanly pulled away from the sides of the bowl and forming into a ball I like to stop the mixer and finish kneading by hand. You can keep going but I think hand kneading to finish prevents over doing it, and I think the dough likes it lol.
Just lightly flour your counter and place the dough on top and fold and knead until it is smooth but elastic. If you gently poke with your finger the dough should rebound back out.
Once the dough is finished with kneading it is time to place it in the prepared greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap, or a damp tea towel, and let rise in a warm area for about an hour. Or until doubled in size.
During the last 10 minutes of rise time I fill a large pot with water and set it over medium high heat to reach a boil. This will be where we give our pretzels a bath before they get baked in the oven.
After the dough has had a chance to double in size its time to move on to the next part of the recipe, and really after this you will be pretty much eating them. Start by lightly flouring your counter and than punch the dough down on to the counter and shape it into a log.
Then, using a sharp knife cut the dough into sections, you should have 9 pieces roughly the same size. If they aren’t perfect no worries they will still taste great, we are making pretzels not a wedding cake!
After you have cut the pieces let them rest on the counter while you prep everything else. Preheat your oven so it will be ready once the pretzels have had a bath.
Speaking of the bath if the water in your large pot has come to a boil add baking soda, just be careful as you add the baking soda as it will really foam up. But don’t worry it disappears quickly.
By now the dough has had enough time to rest, working one piece at a time roll the dough into a long rope. Cut into pieces and let rest on floured counter while you repeat this step with the remaining pieces.
At the end you should have a counter filled with lovely little pillows of pretzel dough, give or take the odd piece here or there lol. It should look like this.
Its bath time! The water in your pot should be at a rolling boil as you add the pretzel pieces, about 10-15 pieces at time, into the water. It may foam up a bit but only for a moment, let the pieces enjoy the bath for until they have puffed up in size.
Using a slotted spoon remove the boiled pretzel bites and place them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat this step, working in batches of 10 -15, until all the pretzel bites have been bathed and arranged on the parchment lined baking sheet. Brush melted butter, very generously, over the pretzels.
Once they have all been brushed with butter,sprinkle with coarse salt to finish them. Again this dough is versatile so do as you like, but for this recipe just that traditional sprinkle of salt seems perfect.
Now place the tray of pretzels into the preheated oven. These bake until golden brown. I like to turn the tray halfway through to make sure they bake nice and evenly. While they are baking let’s make a quick honey mustard dip. Of course you can do a nacho cheese dip…or pizza….or whatever. You do you.
For the honey mustard its just three ingredients, Mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and honey. Mix it all up until everything is incorporated. Feel free to taste and adapt to your preference, maybe you like it sweeter, or more of a dijon kick. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Once the pretzel bites have finished baking remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Put the pretzel bites onto a plate, add little of the honey mustard dip to a bowl, and serve. Make sure to grab a few before you call in everyone to share, they usually don’t last long.
Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!
Perfect Pretzel Bites
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 -2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a dough hook attachment, place 1 cup of warm water, add brown sugar, and yeast. Mix to just combine. Let the yeast mixture stand about 5-10 minutes until foamy. While waiting lightly butter the inside of a large bowl, this will be for rising the dough, then set aside.
- Once the yeast mixture is foamy add 2 1/2 cups ap flour, salt, and butter. Using the dough hook attachment mix until all ingredients are well combined. You may need to scrape down the bowl occasionally.
- Dough should cleanly pull away from the sides of the bowl and not be too sticky. If it is still very soft, or sticking to the sides, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it cleanly bowls away from the sides of the bowl. You shouldn’t need to add more than a 1/4 cup this way.
- Knead the dough about 3-5 minutes in the mixer until it is soft and elastic. The dough should rebound when gently poked with your finger. I like to start the first few minutes kneading with the mixer but doing the last little bit by hand to avoid over kneading and having tough dough.
- Once the dough is ready place it the large bowl that has been lightly greased with butter and cover with plastic wrap, or a damp tea towel.
- Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size punch it down onto a lightly floured counter.
- Form the dough into a log about 18″ in length
- Cut the dough into 2″ pieces, you should end up with 9 in total.
- Let the dough pieces rest ten minutes while you line a baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare the water bath for the pretzel pieces.
- To make a bath fill a large pot with 10 cups of water and set over medium high heat to reach a boil. Once it has reached a boil add 2/3 cups of baking soda, just do this carefully in a pot with space as it will foam up quiet a bit. It does subside quickly.
- The dough should be ready for the final step. Take one of the dough pieces and roll into a 10″ rope. Slice the rope into 1″ pieces for about 10 pieces total.
- Repeat this with the remaining 8 dough pieces.
- Once all the dough has been cut its time for the water bath. Working in batches of 10-15 pieces at a time place the pretzel bites into the prepared water bath. They will only stay in about a minute, maybe two. Once they puff up and double in size its time to remove them from the water using a slotted spoon.
- Place the boiled pretzel bites onto the parchment lined tray, organized into rows, then repeat this step until all the pretzel pieces have been boiled in the water bath.
- Now you should have a tray full of pretzel bites all that is left is to prep them for the oven. Melt 1/4 cup of butter and generously brush over all the pretzel bites.
- Once they have been generously brushed with the butter give them a liberal sprinkle of coarse salt. They are now ready for the oven.
- Bake in a 450 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn the tray halfway through baking time for even results.
- Once they are finished remove the tray from the oven and allow the pretzel bites to cool for about five minutes before plating and serving with honey mustard dip. Recipe to follow
Quick Honey Mustard Dip
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Place all the ingredients into a small bowl, mix until everything is well combined and smooth.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.
Note: This is also our family favourite dip when we make chicken fingers…..yum.