Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels. A delicious bundle of carbs.

The last time I went to a Mall was Black Friday 2012 to do "Market Research" with my friends.  I say "Market Research" but I actually did get paid to go to the mall, which is about the only way to get me to go shopping these days. (If anyone was curious about my conclusions, I found that people must be truly mad to engage in Black Friday shopping. What a weird consumerist tradition).  

On this last trip to a Mall, I also learned that Auntie Anne's is not open at Midnight despite the swaths of people yearning for a soft cinnamon sugar pretzel (by swaths, I mean at least one pregnant lady was hoping for a pretzel).  I associate malls with cinnamon sugar pretzels because it was a frequent childhood treat that I split with my mom. 

Oddly, as I am writing this, I am having a very clear flashback to my first Auntie Anne's pretzel. I was at the mall with my Mom, my Auntie Leslie, Greta and Spencer (I have no idea where the other siblings were).  I was eight years old; it must have been summer because I remember flip flops, burnt skin, and the smell of chlorine.  We entered the food court which at the time was a little bit sketchy I think the "court" part may have been under construction. This means whatever I am referring to was just an oddly dark hallway with three benches and 4 food stalls. Then, my mom pulled out two Happenings book coupons and went on to purchase four pretzels: Jalepeno, Glazin' Raisin, Cinnamon Sugar, and Parmesan.  I loved all the flavors. I had never had a soft pretzel before, and these were magical. So magical that I can actually remember it all these years later.  This might be the only food that I have a clear recollection of a first.  

Later on, my mom actually made homemade pretzels, but we didn't have things like recipes on the interwebs in those days, so I don't think they were as good.

Anyhow, a recent craving for a mall pretzel almost led me to extreme lengths (going to a mall!) to satisfy my craving.  Thankfully, a quick Google search yielded a half a dozen almost identical recipes for pretzels.  I haven't mastered the technique, but the tips that I have are listed in the recipe.  While these look a little awkward (more testing required for dough elasticity), they are mighty tasty.  The sweet cinnamon sugar with the chewy pretzel is a match made in heaven.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

This mall food classic is something that you can whip up at home.  One tip to remember is that if you are working by hand, it will be nearly impossible for you to overknead the dough, so if you mess up, just ball it up and start over.

  • 2t (or one package) Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1.5 Cups Warm Water (110 Degrees)
  • 4.5 Cups Flour
  • Large Pot 1/2 Full Water
  • 1/3 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Tablespoons Melted Butter or Margarine
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Cinnamon

1. Combine Warm Water, Yeast and Sugar in a very large bowl. Allow yeast to proof at least 5-10 minutes
2. Add flour to proofed yeast and water and mix until well combined
3. Knead dough for 4-5 minutes
4. Wash the bowl you used to create the dough, then cover it in oil or melted butter and margarine. Add dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise (one hour minimum)
5. Divide dough into 10 even pieces.
6. Take each piece, roll it out (play-dough style) to about 1cm diameter and 50cm long rope (sorry for the metric about 1/2" and 18" respectively)
7. Form a U shape with dough rope then cross the ends to form a pretzel shape
8. Once you have made all shapes, bring a pot of water to boil, and add baking soda to it
9. Drop pretzels (one at a time) into the water for 30 seconds.
10. Remove from water using a spatula or large slotted spoon and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet
11. Brush pretzels with a beaten egg yolk (use a pastry brush, a paint brush or a spoon)
12. Bake at 450 for 10-14 minutes (until they take on a nice caramelly brown color)
13. Combine Cinnamon and sugar in a bowl
14. Dip warm pretzels into melted butter then cinnamon sugar. Allow to rest at least 10 minutes before eating


  1. I wish I remembered this.

    1. You were too little. It was when you still wore a hat and two headbands :)