Do you ever get a craving for bite-sized food? What about “football food” – snack-sized food traditionally served while watching football (even though I never watch football) – like nachos, pigs in a blanket, or wings? I think soft pretzels are a great addition to that list, and when you make soft pretzel bites instead of full soft pretzels, that’s a winning combination!
Normally I’m all for the classic salted pretzel, but sometimes I want a sweet snack. Like, cinnamon-and-sugar goodness, with a sweet dipping sauce. Ahhh I’m in heaven. And by eating bite-sized pretzel pieces, I feel 100% less guilty. 🙂 Enjoy!
Tip: You can make these ahead of time: simply freeze on a baking sheet before the boiling step. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and freeze until ready to use. When you’re ready to make them, proceed as directed (no need to thaw before boiling).
Soft Pretzel Bites
(inspired by Annie’s Eats)
Prep time: 20 min + 1 hour inactive waiting time | Cook time: 10 min | Makes: a TON of pretzel bites
For the Dough:
- 1 1/2 c. warm water (110-115 F)
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) instant yeast
- 22 oz. all-purpose flour – YES, please weigh it!
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil or cooking spray, for greasing bowl
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 c. baking soda
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
For Classic Salted Pretzel Bites:
- kosher salt
For Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzel Bites:
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted
- 3/4 c. sugar + 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, mixed together
- 1-2 tsp milk or cream
- 1/2 c. – 3/4 c. confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
For the dough:
- Add the water, sugar, salt and yeast tothe bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed (using paddle attachment) to dissolve the yeast.Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil/cooking spray, turning once to coat the dough with the oil/spray.
- Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in size. (You can just sit it on the counter if you’re making these in the summer, but if it’s cold out you might want to put it in a warm oven: turn the oven to the lowest temperature (usually 175F – 200F) and immediately turn it off. Place the dough and bowl in the oven with the door closed.)
For the pretzel bites:
- Preheat the oven to 450° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate it. Divide it up into approximately 6 equal portions. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a long rope about 1-inch in diameter. Use a pizza cutter to cut the row into small segments, no longer than 1-inch each. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Place the pretzel bites into the boiling water in batches so that they aren’t overcrowded. Boil each batch for about 30 seconds, stirring once or twice to submerge all surfaces in the water. Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and spread out on the prepared baking sheets.
- Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash.
- For salted pretzel bites: Sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with mustard, if desired.
- For cinnamon-sugar pretzel bites: Do not sprinkle with salt! Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. When cool enough to handle, dip the top side quickly into the melted butter, then dip in the cinnamon-sugar. Gently shake off any excess and repeat with the remaining pretzel bites. Let stand 5-10 minutes to allow the cinnamon-sugar to set on the surface. Serve with simple icing: slowly mix 1 tsp of milk or cream into 1/2 cup powdered sugar. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. If it’s too thick, add milk or cream 1/2 tsp at a time.