Having grew up eating Auntie Anne’s pretzels where each and every pretzel is made fresh, I was naturally skeptical when I came across this Auntie Anne’s Copycat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites recipe. Could I really achieve that soft, fluffy, chewy and sinfully delicious biscuit by making them at home?
The moment they came out of the oven, I rolled a couple into the cinnamon sugar mixture and ate them immediately. Crispy on the outside with a chewy yet soft centre, I was quite impressed. Consider the time and effort required to them is less than bread-making, I would definitely be baking (and eating) more of these. However, I would probably half the quantity as stated in the recipe next time.
Oh and if you are wondering about the purpose of the water dip mentioned below (I know I did), the addition of baking soda + water turns it into an alkaline solution. By dipping the dough into the solution, it will give the pretzels that signature brown crust and taste.
1 ½ cup (192 g) bread flour
1 cup (128 g) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup (235 ml) warm water (approx. 43C/110F)
1 packet (1/4 oz. / 7 g) active dry yeast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cups hot water
5 tbsp baking soda
½ cup salted butter – melted
½ cup white sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Dipping
4 oz (125 g) cream cheese – softened at room temperature
2 tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter – softened at room temperature
1 cup (128 g) icing sugar
2 tbsp whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Combine 1 cup warm water (approx. 45°C/110°F) with ½ tsp sugar and yeast. Stir and set aside for 10 mins. It will turn foamy.
In a mixing bowl, add in yeast solution, both sugars, salt, oil and mix well. I’m using an electric stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment. You could use an electric hand mixer too.
Add in the bread flour slowly and mix until well blended.
Switch to a dough hook and add in the all-purpose flour.
Knead until it forms a smooth elastic dough. It should be slightly sticky.
Transfer to a lightly greased large bowl and cover with plate or cling wrap. Let it rise in a warm spot (in a microwave or cooled oven for 60 mins or until it doubles in size.
While waiting, prepare the cream cheese dipping.
Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk them together until smooth and fluffy.
Add in icing sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined.
Lastly, pour in the whipping cream and whisk for another 2 mins.
Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
15 mins before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 210°C/425°F.
Prepare ingredients for coating. Place the melted butter in a medium bowl and in a separate bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
Punch down the dough and remove from bowl.
Divide into 6 equal portions and cover with a cloth.
Mix the hot water and baking soda together in a large bowl. It will bubble up and that’s OK.
Take 1 portion and roll it into a long rope about 60 cm/24 inches long.
Cut into 1 inch bite size pieces.
Dip a few pieces into the hot baking soda solution and transfer onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 – 10 mins, until golden brown.
Remove and dip each pieces into the melted butter. Let them absorb the butter for 2 mins before rolling them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Allow the cream cheese dipping to thaw at room temperature before serving with the warm pretzel bites.