National Pretzel Day is celebrated on April 26th–so our first thought is to head out to buy some. We’re in a big city. We can buy all kinds, from crunchy to soft in all sizes. They’re fresh, too, which is pretty good for the world’s oldest snack. (The first pretzels were made by Monks that baked thin strips of dough which were shaped as a child’s arm folded in prayer.)
But while we’re always happy to buy food, we know in our hearts that pretzels are fun to make. And we’re always looking for sneaky ways to get the kids comfortable in the kitchen. So here are two recipes for homemade pretzels. One’s kind of complicated, but the first one is a perfect basic pretzel recipe–and from there, you can teach the kids all about dips for pretzels, with options including butter, melted cheese, pepperoni slices, and even ranch dip. This whole thing can lead to a proper pretzel party, and there sure are worse snacks for your kids to be indulging in….
Hot Soft Pretzels
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1 ½ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 egg
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix sugar, flour, and salt. Beat egg slightly with one tablespoon of water.
In a large bowl, work flour mixture into the yeast mixture. With about 3 cups of flour mixture worked in, begin to knead the dough on a pastry board of counter top. Continue to mix in the remaining flour. Divide the dough into 20 to 25 pieces. Roll with your hands and shape the dough into pretzels and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with egg water and add salt. Bake the pretzels at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
Spiced Chocolate Pretzels
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied orange or lemon peel
- Confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place chocolate and almonds in a food processor or blender and finely chop them. Combine with 1 ½ cups of flour, cinnamon, cloves and baking powder. In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Mix in the orange peel and the two tablespoons of flour. Work into the dough with your hands.
Divide into 30 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 9-inch rope. Bend into a pretzel shape.
Place the pretzels 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake them for 10 minutes or until they are firm to the touch.
Cool the pretzels on a wire rack, then sprinkle tops with sifted confectioners’ sugar.