Soft Pretzel Bites

This gem comes to you courtesy of the No Nutritional Value Whatsoever department – it’s just a mouth-poppin’ bunch of YUM!

I stumbled across a recipe for these soft pretzel bites today over at Marcella’s when I was catching up on my blog reading. I love me some soft pretzels, and couldn’t resist the temptation of making an organic, vegan-friendly version at home. I mean, pretzels aren’t exactly healthy, but they’re not terrible, right?

Boy, was I in trouble. These things were easy to make, and GOOD. I made a garlic-y nutritional yeast based sauce to dip them in, and while I knew I was blowing a few hundred calories with my little snack of delicious goodness, I hadn’t yet input the recipe into my nutrition calculator. YIKES!! I ate about 2 servings’ worth and gobbled up 800 calories of nutritionally devoid carbo-bliss. Oh well. Good thing I’ve taken up running!

I have a feeling my memory card for my Canon G9 is going bad. (I do most of my food shooting with the G9, part out of being too lazy to go grab my real camera, and part out of not wanting to touch my real camera with sticky hands or spill something on it or drop it in a pot of boiling water). The last few image imports, half of my images have been completely garbled. At least, it had better be the memory card and not the actual camera! I guess the only way to find out is to try a new memory card.

But enough with the techno-babble and the woe-is-me calorie-count lamenting. Let’s get on with the pretzel making, shall we?!

To make this recipe vegan-friendly, I eliminated the egg wash (the part that makes pretzels turn all nice and brown) and swapped the butter for Earth Balance spread. I used all organic ingredients, so while this isn’t the most nutritious snack in the world, at least it is clean food! No crazy chemicals or preservatives or pesticides or other junk.

First up, I used my bread machine on its Dough setting to prepare the dough. The original recipe suggested a mixer with a dough hook, and while getting one of those is almost my #1 reason for wanting to get married, alas, I have not made it down the aisle and therefore have no mixer with a dough hook. (Well, not really “alas,” but that’s another story!)

Here’s my bread machine, after it did its magic. I let the dough rise for an hour.

Bread machine pretzel dough

Dough blobNext up, the dough was to be split into 8 sections of about 4.5 ounces each – about the size of a small fistful or a baseball. I used my food scale to be sure, but that was more of me just being a kitchen gadget geek than anything.

Weighing pretzel doughEach dough-ball was stretched and rolled out into a dough-rope. The original recipe called for 22″ ropes, but I could only get mine to be about a foot long. I’d have pretzel bites the size of 2 bites – no biggie!

Cutting pretzel doughThe next phase was to boil the bites for 30 seconds. I did this in batches. While one batch boiled, I quickly rolled and cut the next dough-rope. Lather, rinse, repeat until they’re all boiled.

The pretzel swimming pool:

Boiling bathSome pretzel bites, post-boiling:

Boiled pretzel bitesI’m not entirely sure what the point of boiling them is – I just follow directions. But it seemed like the boiling made them puff up a bit.

Once I had boiled all of the bites, I arranged them on 2 baking sheets so that they weren’t touching each other (all the while picturing my little brother waving his finger in front of my nose taunting, “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!”). Then, I sprinkled a bit of salt over them and some Garlic Gold garlic nuggets (a discovery I came across while reading Kath’s KERF blog – yummy!)

Pretzel bites ready to bakeI ended up baking them for about 16 minutes and they came out perfectly! They did not brown up like “regular” pretzels, because I eliminated the egg wash step (which makes them brown), but they tasted DIVINE and I ate way too many of them, warm and fresh from the oven!

Soft pretzel bitesI served mine with “cheast” sauce (yes, stealing the term from Emily @ The Front Burner) – a faux cheese sauce made with nutritional yeast (great for vegetarians for its abundance of B vitamins). Here’s Emily’s recipe for Cheast Sauce – I eliminated the ground mustard, and used ordinary organic all-purpose flour instead of millet flour, but otherwise followed her recipe. It was garlic-y and wonderfully delish!

So, while I think I will have to cut my serving size in half to make this a calorie-affordable snack, it totally hit the spot. I was thinking it would be a great snack for parties. Very easy to make and very yummy. I love finger foods! I’m sure my thoughts toward these soft pretzel bites will turn more aggressive and dark when I’m out on the trails running them off.

But until then… nom nom nom!

[recipe-show recipe=”soft-pretzel-bites”]

2 thoughts on “Soft Pretzel Bites

  1. Yum! I love your garlicky inspiration. It makes me want to make them again just to try it out. The baking soda bath does add shine to the pretzels, it looks like you skipped the baking soda. Wonder if you added that back in if you would get better browning even without the egg? Frankly the whole egg wash part was a pain the the tookas and other recipes I’ve looked at don’t have it. I think the baking soda is really the browning and shiny pretzel secret.

  2. I totally didn’t even realize that I missed the baking soda part!!! That could very well be part of my problem (but ohhhh I must say, they are delicious anyway!) They’re almost gone! I wish I had a party to go to so I could make more and share 🙂

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