Last week, I decided to take a couple day off to relax with family. That did not end up going well, because I had my nose in work. Before I knew it, it was Sunday, and I had to go back home. I missed the train to get home by two-minutes; I was stuck in Penn Station for an hour.
When I got to the main waiting area at Penn Station, I let out a sigh of relief; it was practically empty. Practically two-hundred empty seats for me to sit on; I found a seat, then rummaged through the mess of my suitcase for my planner. I wrote down a few events, checked things off my to-do list, and closed my planner to look up and find a woman sit a seat away from me in the middle of an empty waiting area.
The woman sat a seat away from me; after opening my planner back, as though to show her that I was not suspicious as to why she sat next to me in a practically empty waiting area. She pulled out a can of Pepsi from the inside of her purple coat, opened the can, took a sip, let out a burp, and placed the can on the seat between us.
A minute or so passed and the waiting area was bombarded with people; a younger woman sat next to me with the music on her iPod as loud as a jet engine. Then I smelled it. I smelled dirty feet. Purple coat lady took her shoes and socks off, and placed them right next to her can of soda. It’s rude of me to call her “Purple Coat Lady;” from here on we’ll call her June. The young woman sitting next to me sniffled, and I felt the hairs in my nostrils begin to shrivel into complete nothingness.
I got up politely, as to make it seem as if I was not offended by the smell of her feet. With my backpack weighing me down, and the weight of my suitcase practically pulling my arm out of its socket, I walked to the Amtrak area to find something to snack on (I could hear my stomach shout at me) while waiting for my train to get home. I passed a Krispy Kreme, a couple of deli’s, and decided on cinnamon sugar pretzel nuggets from Auntie Annie’s. When hunger strikes, even foods I would never eat, taste better than I would normally think they tasted. To my mind, those pretzel nuggets and the icing package that came along with them were the best things I had ever eaten (dare I mention that it was the first time I ate a cinnamon sugar pretzel?). After finishing my $4 investment, I felt guilty. I ate something that would have normally tasted like poison and cardboard to me (no, I’ve never tasted poison before, and I intend to keep it that way).
After convincing myself that it was better of me to spend $4 on cardboard than spend more money at a dirty fast food joint (Aunti Annie’s had an A for cleanliness!), the idea to re-create a better and tastier version of the pretzels at home hit me.
So, my dear friends, thanks to
Purple Coat Lady June, I’m sharing a recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels with you today. Yes, I know- I’ve recently shared pretzels with you, but you’ll thank me for this small burst of warmth in your home. Oh, and if you are feeding your kids this- put them in a cage first and leave them in there until the sugar high is gone. I am only kidding. Sorta.
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels Recipe
Adapted from THIS post
I suspect that maybe adding a pinch of nutmeg to the cinnamon sugar mixture might enhance the flavors of the topping a bit. As for the glaze, if you prefer using vanilla instead of the coffee simply use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and instead of 2 teaspoons of milk, make it 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon).
When it comes to making any bread dough, I do everything by hand. No machinery is needed for this recipe, but if you are short on time, or don’t have the energy to knead for a good 5-10 minutes, I’ve included instructions on how to make the dough in a stand mixer.
When measuring the flour for the dough, I used a scale (if you don’t have one, it’s time to make the best $25 investment you will ever make). If you do not own a scale, when measuring the flour, be sure not to compact the flour into the measuring cup; fluff the flour in its container and spoon it [lightly] into the measuring cup, and use the back of a knife (or a spatula) to level the flour. Do not tap the sides of the measuring cup, as this will compact the flour.
For shaping the pretzels, refer to the four photos in this blog post.
2 ¼ teaspoons (¼ ounces; 1 envelope) active dry yeast
⅛ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons (8 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup (8 fl. oz) warm water (100º to 110ºF)
1 cup (128 grams) Bread Flour
2 cups (256 grams) All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
Vegetable oil, for bowl and baking sheets
¼ cup (72 grams) baking soda
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons strong coffee
2 teaspoons milk
2/3 cup of powdered sugar
Mix yeast, sea salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes (Kamran Note: I let it sit for about 8 minutes).
Place flour into a large bowl. Using two butter knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon or your hands to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.
Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size. About 1 hour. (Kamran note: If you want, you can place the bowl of dough in the refrigerator over night)
Cut dough into 12 equal pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portions backward along center of U shape to form a circle, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal. Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475ºF.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda and 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, 30 seconds per side. Transfer to wire racks to drain. Place pretzels on an oiled baking sheet. Mix the 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and the pinch of salt in a bowl; set aside.
Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of baking, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and prepare the coffee glaze (recipe below).
Brush the warm melted butter onto the tops of the pretzels, once they are immediately out of the oven, sprinkle on some of the cinnamon sugar, then drizzle on some of the coffee glaze (recipe below) and serve immediately.
If you want to keep the pretzels (without melted butter, cinnamon sugar, and the glaze) they will keep uncovered at room temperature for up to 12 hours; just warm them up in a 250ºF oven, and brush on some melted butter, sprinkle on some of the cinnamon sugar, and if desired, drizzle on some of the coffee glaze.
Coffee Glaze Preparation:
Mix the milk and coffee in a small bowl. Slowly stir in the powdered sugar, making sure there are no lumps.