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Auntie Anne's Copycat Pretzels

 *Sorry about the low quality photos.  It was late when I made these, and I was really impatient to eat them.


Saturday was National Pretzel Day.  And as a foodie, I knew I just couldn't pass up a "holiday" like that.  So, after dinner, I set to work making a very, very small portion of this recipe.  Literally, I eighth-ed it.  Yeah.  The measurements got a little wonky, but it was a perfect amount to not have a ton of leftovers sitting around the house begging me to eat them.

Now, I have had several different soft pretzel recipes over the years.  And I have to say, these were by far the best I've ever had.  I did really like the One-Hour Soft Pretzels I tried a few weeks ago, but they weren't the consistency of a regular soft pretzel.  These, however, were so soft.  They were perfectly flavored.  They were amazing.

My pretzels browned really quickly while baking, and I wanted to make sure they were done in the middle before I committed to taking them out.  So I took one off the baking sheet and tore it in half right out of the oven.  Of course, I tasted it to make sure it wasn't doughy... And ended up scarfing the whole thing down, juggling it back and forth in my hands and blowing on it and still burning my mouth.  It was that good.  I didn't even wait to brush on the butter or sprinkle a little extra salt on top of that one.  These. were. amazing.

Auntie Anne's Copycat Pretzels
Makes: 12 pretzels
Adapted from: Cooking Classy

Ingredients:
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons light-brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
coarse salt, to taste
6 Tbsp butter, melted

 Directions:
  1. Warm the milk to approximately 110 degrees.  Add the yeast and stir until dissolved.  Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium-large bowl, combine the yeast/milk, brown sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 cup flour, and salt.  Whisk together until blended.
  3. Add the remaining 3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  (You can use a stand mixer with the dough hook if you have one; I just did it by hand.)  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Punch the dough down and divide into 12 portions.  (Or if you want smaller pretzel bites or sticks, divide as you see fit.)
  6. Roll each portion into a long rope.  Cooking Classy suggests 32-36 inches.
  7. Combine the baking soda and warm water in a shallow bowl.  Dip each pretzel rope into the mixture, making sure it gets completely coated.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and shape as desired.  Sprinkle with small amount of coarse salt.
  8. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until golden brown.  Melt the 6 tablespoons butter.
  9. Brush each pretzel with melted butter and sprinkle with more salt if desired.
You absolutely must try these pretzels.  They are the most delicious pretzels I've ever tasted that I did not buy at Auntie Anne's.  Enjoy!

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