A couple of weeks ago I had a craving for homemade pretzels. I didn't act on the craving except to look for recipes and buy some ingredients. Last Sunday I was sitting around doing laundry and binge watching Gilmore Girls and I decided to make the pretzel bites. I didn't really follow any one recipe. The cooking technique was pretty much the same on all the recipes I looked at and it was the preparation of the dough (from scratch or from frozen rolls) that varied.
I didn't make them from scratch, though, so really they should be called semi-homemade (thanks for the term, Sandra Lee!) I started out with frozen dinner rolls. I pulled out six of the little frozen dough balls and put them on a floured cookie sheet, covered them lightly with plastic wrap and let them thaw. It didn't take too long, maybe about 44 minutes or one Netflix-sized GG episode. When the dough balls were soft, I squished them down, one at a time, into a squarish shape, then I cut them with kitchen scissors into four pieces. I put the pieces back on the floured cookie sheet, covered them again and let them rest and rise just a little.
While the resting and rising was happening, I put on a pot of water to boil. I added baking soda to the water. I'm not sure what the purpose is, but it's supposed to make the dough balls more chewy and pretzel-like. When the water was boiling, I dropped in several of the little dough balls. I fished them out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon when they rose to the surface and put them on a paper towel-lined tray. After that, I put the boiled dough on a cookie sheet lined with foil, gave each of the little boiled dough balls an egg wash and popped the cookie sheet into the oven at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes.
My little pretzels didn't get very brown. Maybe I should have cooked them a little bit longer, but they were soft and a little chewy. I them rolled them in melted butter and sprinkled coarse sea salt on some and rolled others in a bit of cinnamon sugar. I was heavy handed with the salt and ended up scraping most of the salt off the pretzel. The cinnamon sugar pretzels were good. I liked the salty pretzels with a little squirt of yellow mustard. MT liked them, too. T didn't want to try it, but got the last cinnamon sugar pretzel and was sad that he hadn't got into the action earlier.
I learned a couple of things from this cooking experiment that I will use on my next try - and there will be a next try. First, I will boil the dough balls a little longer. I'll check with different recipes and see how long other pretzel makers let their dough boil. Second, I will let the boiled dough cook in the oven a little bit longer to see if I can get a more brown, pretzel-like color on the treat. Third, I'll put a couple of flakes of salt on the pretzel before I put them in the oven. Fourth, I will experiment with some different flavors. I think Parmesan cheese would be really good!
Overall, this was an easy little snack that was fun and different. I saw a recipe for some cream cheese dip to go with the cinnamon sugar pretzel bites. That may be something I try for dip day at work.