Having family in town is a great reason to try out some new recipes that make things in bulk and are thus too large for just Luke and me. I LOVE soft pretzels. When I used to go to Annapolis to visit Luke, I was always bummed when I was waiting in the airport for my flight to head back home. Since retail therapy in the airport is limited to heavy hardcover books, neck pillows that make me sweat profusely, and Baltimore souvenirs, I resorted to eating my feelings, and Auntie Ann was always there for me. A hot cinnamon sugar pretzel got me through many goodbyes. This recipe is not for cinnamon sugar pretzels, but the pretzel turned out to be amazing. I am going to try this recipe again to make cinnamon sugar in the near future, and I will not require house guests to help me eat them. I found a recipe similar to this on Pinterest.
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp if you're using jarred yeast)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 quarts water
2/3 cups baking soda
1 egg, beaten
Buffalo Cheese Dipping Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3 oz Neufchatel cream cheese
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup buffalo sauce
To make the pretzels, combine the 1 1/2 cup water, sugar, yeast, and butter, in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and flour and mix it on low speed until it's combined. Increase the speed to medium and let it knead until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Coat a big bowl with non-stick spray, and put the dough in the bowl to rise. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and let it rise for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil, and add the baking soda. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and roll them into pretzels. Boil the pretzels 2 at a time for about 30 seconds, and put them on a baking sheet. Brush the tops of the pretzels with the egg and season with sea salt. Bake them for about 15 mins.
While the pretzels are baking, melt the butter for the sauce in a sauce pan over medium heat. When it is melted, add the flour and whisk together. Add the milk, and turn the heat to low. Continue stirring this until it thickens. Add the cheeses, stirring until all of the cheese melts and is smooth. Stir in the buffalo sauce, and season with salt and pepper if you want.
This was seriously so delicious. The picture is awful because I just wanted to dig into it. I really might make these again, even though I'd be eating them solo....