We make soft pretzels all.the.time at my house. My preschooler thinks they are some kind of manna - necessary for life. At first, we made them all in the standard pretzel shape, but we've since grown more inventive. These can be shaped like letters, numbers, or even cut out with cookie cutters. My preschooler's current favorite are "Christmas pretzels." They are his favorite snack - even in late January!
This recipe is so easy, I had to share. I use my Gluten Free Flour Recipe #1 and it does not have xanthan gum added. If your flour includes xanthan gum, do not add more. If you do not need to eat gluten-free, you may use all-purpose (gluten) flour and omit the xanthan gum.
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
2 tsp. honey
2 2/3 cup flour mix (possibly more if dough gets sticky)
1 tsp. xanthan gum (if not included in your flour mix)
1 egg for brushing over the top (or melted butter or oil)
Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease cookie sheet. In large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water (NOT hot). Add honey, flour and xanthan gum (if needed) to yeast mixture. Blend into dough. Knead until well mixed. If necessary, add more water if dough is too dry to work with, or flour if dough is too sticky. Form dough into snake shapes (I do small pretzels, but any size will work), and shape as desired. Beat egg in a bowl. Brush pretzels with egg (or oil or melted butter) and sprinkle with salt. The egg will cause the pretzels to brown, so spread it as thoroughly across the pretzels as you can. My picture above shows what happens if you don't get it over the whole pretzel!
Bake 8-12 minutes, or until pretzels begin to brown on top.
With the Super Bowl coming up, I've begun planning a "snacky foods" day for my little family. I thought pretzel dogs would be good, but I wanted to test them out before game day to make sure it turned out. I learned some tips along the way, and by the end, I was a pretzel-dog-rolling pro.
You need wax paper for this project in addition to hot dogs and all the ingredients for the pretzel recipe above.
I think they are worth the work. My two-year-old ate two whole pretzel dogs, and she normally eats like a little bird.
Prepared pretzel dough (see recipe above)
8 hot dogs (make sure they are GF)
Lots of wax paper and a rolling pin
Mix pretzel dough. On clean work surface, spread out wax paper. Place dough on wax paper. Top with second sheet of wax paper. Roll dough out until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Trim edges of dough to form neat rectangle or square shape. If you are using standard length hot dogs, cut dough into 4 inch by 4 inch squares. With knife, gently go under dough to release it from wax paper. Place square away from the rest of the dough. Put hot dog on the dough, just like this picture below.
Here's where it gets a little tricky. GF dough is notoriously brittle. What worked for me was lifting the wax paper as I rolled. Roll slowly and patiently. If dough starts to stick, gently encourage it with your fingers or a knife to release from the paper. If it starts to break, press it back together with your fingers. It will hold together, you just have to be patient.
Once the dog is rolled up in the dough, place it (seam down) on a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat until all hot dogs are wrapped. Brush hots dogs with egg and sprinkle with salt. I use kosher salt because the crystals are larger.
Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes. The tops won't brown a lot, but they will brown some. Bake until the bottoms are a nice golden color.
The pretzel dog closest to you in this picture is the last one I rolled. As you can see, I got better as I went along. They tasted great, and we look forward to having them for the big game!