Did anyone watch the Superbowl? I admit, I’m in it for the commercials, but it was apparently a hell of a game. Whether you watch for the athletic contest, the commercials (the puppybowl!) or just to be polite at a party, game day REQUIRES snacking. And I promise that if you make these bad boys, you’ll have your guests and fans eating out of your hands. Literally. Bet you didn’t know that the first pretzels (made by monks back in the 600’s) actually symbolized good luck? So apropos, am I right??
I’ve been itching to make pretzels for a long time, ever since my sister Kitty and I took a trip to Boston 6 or 7 years ago and we stumbled upon a tavern that served cold cider and warm pretzels. SOOOO good! These little nugs, though maybe not the healthiest snack on the planet, remind me of those warm pretzels we were served in Bean-town. Salty and crispy on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside. Served with your favorite dippity-do, they are sure to be the hit they were in my house. I used my creamy cheese recipe to dip them in but you can use ketchup (a personal fave;) ) spicy mustard, barbecue sauce-whatever suits. They are even delicious dip-free 🙂
And leftovers? Forget about it! These guys re-heat beautifully…a quick zap in the microwave or a 10 minute warm up in a 350 oven, and you can serve these as they were meant to be served…nice and hot! (with a cold beverage or two for good measure 🙂 )
Ok so pretzel-making requires yeast but DON’T BE INTIMIDATED like I was. If you have a thermometer and can read it you are good to go!
First, warm your almond milk (I chose this rather than water to step up the nutrition). Measure the temperature and when it’s around 110F., add the yeast and sugar and mix well. Wait for 5-7 minutes until it starts to bubble…that means the yeast is ALIVE!
Next add the flour, salt and a wee bit of olive oil.
Give everything a nice stir, then let the dough hook do the work.
Once you have a nice, slightly sticky but solid mass of dough, you’re ready to rest (actually, ready to let the dough rest but no one said you can’t grab a nice 90 min lay while the dough is rising). Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover lightly and leave it in a warm place for about and hour and a half. Bonus if your oven has a “proof” setting-just pop it in there.
Now that the dough is ready, set a large pot of water mixed with baking soda to boil. Why the baking soda? Well, according the pretzel experts, baking soda makes the water more alkaline. The Kitchn further notes that after the dough is dropped in the soda bath for a minute, the outer part of the pretzel gelatinizes giving the pretzel its chewiness and signature flavor. The alkaline water also helps the pretzel to brown nicely.
While the bath is getting ready to boil, punch the dough down and divide it into fourths and then each fourth onto fourths and you’ll have…wait for it…16 dough pieces. Roll each piece to about a 6-8 inch rope and cut into 6 or so nuggets.
You can drop about 12 pieces into the boiling soda bath at a time.
Set timer for two minutes then scoop out with a sieve or large slotted spoon and place directly on a lined baking sheet. (Now’s the time to sprinkle with salt because the dough is slightly wet and the salt will stick.)
Bake at 450F. for about 8 minutes until the vegan pretzel bites are a beautiful golden brown.
Vegan Pretzel Bites. So good and so easy, give them a try…your friends and family will be very impressed!