This has to stop. So, I happened across this awesome recipe for Auntie Anne's Copycat Pretzels over on CookingClassy's Blog! (I'm having trouble getting her Blog to show, so I have written the Recipe Below) I have made this recipe twice since discovering it a few months ago -- it's my husband's new favorite recipe (just to give you a visual, every time I mention 'hey, I'm going to make those homemade pretzels again' he lets out a Homer-esque drool...yes, they're that good!) and those frozen pretzels are all but a faded memory at this point. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT....the original recipe left me frustrated beyond belief!! The first time, I spent hours trying to perfect my pretzel twist, twirl and flip but never even got anything resembling a pretzel to form. The second time, I figured I would go with the pretzel nugget, and spent just as long trudging through gooey pretzel slop trying to chop everything into perfect little nuggets...frustrating..... THIS TIME I thought, what on Earth is keeping me from just taking handfuls of dough, rolling them into balls and then dredging them in the pretzel bath!? Nothing! So, that's what I did -- saved myself TONS of time, and frustration, which is music to this mom's ears!! Here Is the Original Recipe:
Auntie Anne's Copycat Pretzels
1 cup Milk
3/4 Tbs Active Dry Yeast
3 Tbs Light Brown Sugar
2 Tbs Butter, melted
2 1/4 Cups Flour, plus an additional 1/2 cup as needed
1 tsp Salt
1/6 Cup Baking Soda
1 Cup Warm Water
Warm milk in a microwave safe bowl for 1 1/2 minutes on high. Pour milk and yeast into the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk until combined. Let rest for 5 min.
After 5 min, add brown sugar (yeast will bloom), butter, 1/2 Cup Flour and salt to milk mixture and whisk until blended.
Switch attachments to the dough hook, add remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and knead on medium low speed until elastic. If needed, add an additional 1/4 cup flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or line with silpat or parchment paper. Ready the pretzel bath by combining baking soda and warm water in a shallow bowl. Uncover the dough and punch down several times to deflate. Pinch off dough and roll into balls (aim for about a ball the size of a ping-pong ball). Once all of the dough has been rolled into balls, begin dunking each ball into the bath and transferring to the baking sheets.
Bake pretzels in oven for 7-8 min. Until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool slightly. When ready to eat, drizzle melted butter over top and sprinkle with coarse salt or cinnamon sugar! If you will be serving several at once, you can also use a large ziploc to toss the pretzels in butter. These also taste terrific without the butter along side a mound of mustard or cheese sauce! I've even had them with honey and cinnamon cream cheese! Experiment with different sides!