I think we’re all familiar with Pinterest, and one of my favorite things about it are the Pinterest fails. Not because I like to see people fail, but because I’ve been there. Many, many times. And I applaud those willing to share their fails so we can all laugh while we learn a lesson.
Recently I experienced my own “Pinterest Fail”. Over the holidays I was asked to bring some desserts for Christmas dinner and my brother specifically requested that I bring candy cane sugar cookies I’d made earlier in the month. They weren’t homemade – just the refrigerated Pillsbury cookie dough. But being me, I decided to try and be cute and shape them like candy canes. What could go wrong with that? Oh, a bunch of mutated cookies? Right.
In my defense, I did come up with this brilliant plan at 5am Christmas morning and wasn’t fully awake to consider the possible outcomes, but still I did it. Luckily my brother is a huge fan of Pinterest fails and he got a kick out of the cookies. And they tasted great!
Luckily not everything I try is a failure and I had sweet success a couple of weeks later.
That same brother came over for dinner this past Sunday and that morning I realized I didn’t have enough flour to make a cake or cookies for dessert. Much to my pleasure however, I did have enough to try a new recipe I found on Pinterest that I’ve been dying to try. Here’s the recipe (Please note, there are actually two recipes here – one for pretzels, one for pretzel bites. I tried the cinnamon pretzel bites!):
- 1 cup milk
- 1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt or kosher salt
- Warm the milk in a saucepan or microwave to about 110 degrees. (I usually just use a finger test. You don’t want it too hot or it will kill the yeast. Just a nice warm temp that doesn’t hurt your finger.) Pour the milk in to a medium sized bowl or your mixer bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it soften, about 2 minutes then stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup of flour.
- Dice 2 tablespoons of the butter into small pieces and soften it (don’t melt it!) Stir the butter into the mix. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cup flour and the fine salt to make a sticky dough. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead or just knead it in the mixer if you have one (use the bread hook). You want a smooth dough but still slightly tacky. Knead for about 5 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray. Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups of water in a shallow baking dish (I use a 8×8 pan). Set pan by the prepared baking sheet.
- Punch the dough and then turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 pieces.
If you want to make 6 pretzels:
- Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands (using flour if necessary) into a 24-30 inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.
- Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the coarse salt.
- Bake until golden 10-12 minutes for pretzels. While they are baking, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in a shallow dish (I use a pie pan). Set it next to a cooling rack.
- Dip the warm pretzels in the melted butter then place on a wire rack to let excess butter drip off.
- Serve the pretzels warm with mustard or we like cheddar cheese sauce. Sprinkle with additional salt if needed. Makes 6 pretzels.
If you want to make pretzel bites:
- Roll and stretch each pieces into a rope but instead of shaping into a pretzel, cut the ropes with a pizza butter into the desired size of bites (about 2 inches is what I usually do).
- Gently dip each pretzel bite in the soda solution, then arrange on the baking sheet.
- Bake until golden, 8-10 minutes for bites. While they are baking, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in a shallow dish (I use a pie pan). Set it next to a cooling rack.
- Dip the warm pretzels bites in the melted butter then roll the bites in a bowl of cinnamon/sugar mixture after you dip it in the butter. (about 1 cup sugar and 3 T. cinnamon or personal preference)
- Eat plain or make a chocolate or glaze dipping sauce. Makes about 60 pretzel bites.
NOTES: The baking soda mixture is what makes the pretzels turn the golden color. Although you could skip the last butter bath, it’s highly recommend! And if you’re making these for a bigger group, triple the batch.
The recipe is quite simple. The only thing I was worried about was using yeast because it’s been awhile since I’ve made anything using it. Which explains why I became very excited to see it rise successfully. (Just ask my husband, every time I’d check on it I’d squeal, “It’s rising!”)
And here’s a picture of our final outcome!:
They tasted divine and turns out they’re super addicting! I want to try them with a cream cheese filling at some point.