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Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites with Salted Caramel

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When I made these Caramel Apples the other day, I made two different kinds of caramel. One was a really sticky one (which I ended up using) and the other  was a runnier, topping like caramel perfect for drizzling. I was left with quite a lot of  it and had the brilliant idea of using them in a cookie. I wanted a cookie like Picky Palate’s Oatmeal Butterscotch Caramel ones so I played around with the ingredients but didn’t get exactly what I wanted. Maybe it was because I used my own, homemade caramel but I was left with a flat cookie that was a little on the browner side but it was just okay.

Even after the cookies, I still had caramel left and to keep things easy, I decided to use it as a drizzle on something. Since it’s salted caramel, I wanted a little something that was sweet and buttery to  compliment the saltiness. Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels is what hit the spot. (Plus, I’ve had my eye on this recipe from Alton Brown AND figured it’s appropriate since it’s Oktoberfesty).

To give me an excuse to eat more, I made pretzel bites instead of full, big ones. (Teehee). I tried making a couple regular shaped pretzels too and it’s quite fun once you get a hang of the loops.Pretzel making is easy but it requires some tedious steps. Since I made bite-size pieces, I had to boil them a couple at a time for 30 seconds then drain them. When they were free of the excess water, I laid them on a baking sheet and brushed each piece with melted butter before popping them into the oven. When they turned a beautiful golden brown, I pulled them out of the oven and rolled the pieces in some more melted butter. This step is important because it helps the cinnamon sugar mixture stick well. (And, like Paula Deen says, “You can never have too much butter”).Now for the fun part:Drizzle time was my favorite part! Once again, Alton Brown’s recipes win my heart.

Recipe from Food Network’s Alton Brown

Pretzel Dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
2 oz. butter, melted
 
Additional ingredients: (these are only to boil the pretzel dough in before placing in the oven)
5 cups boiling water
1/3 cup baking soda
 
 
1/2 cup sugar (this is the mixture to roll the pretzels in once baked)
3 tsp. cinnamon
 
1. Combine water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer
2. Sprinkle yeast on top
3. When foamy (about 5 minutes), stir gently
4. Add flour and melted butter, 1/2 cup at a time and mix until dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl
5. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead with your hands until smooth (5-7 minutes)
6. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap
7. Let sit for at least one hour or until the dough has doubled in size
 
8. Divide the dough into equal sized pieces (I got 7 rods)
9. Roll dough on a lightly oiled surface into a 12 inch rope
10. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-inch pieces
 
11. Drop pieces into boiling water mixture and boil for 30 seconds
12. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet
13. Brush each piece with melted butter
14. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown
15. When out of the oven, brush again with melted butter (or roll in butter) and then in cinnamon sugar mixture
16. Drizzle with caramel
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