As a kid, I remember begging my mother almost every single time we went to the mall to buy me a pretzel from Auntie Anne's. Now, whenever I pass one of those little blue and white stands, that delicious, buttery smell instantly takes me back to being an impatient four-year-old who wants a pretzel right now.
The only bad thing about Auntie Anne's is that you usually have to deal with annoying places like malls and airports to find one. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just whip some up at home instead?
Well, thanks to the folks over on The Daily Meal, you can! All you need is some basic baking ingredients, and probably a little patience when it comes to molding them into a pretzel shape.
The first step is the dough. You have to let the yeast sit in warm milk for about 3 minutes to activate, then combine it with the sugar, butter, and dry ingredients and knead it for 8-10 minutes. Before you can use it, it has to rise for about an hour.
Once it rises, divide it into 12 pieces and roll each one into a long, thin rope. Here comes the tricky part—the shape. Bend the rope into a U shape, then cross the ends over each other (see photo below), then fold the ends down and press them into the bottom of the circle.
Before baking, dunk each pretzel into a solution of baking soda and water, then place them onto a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes, and brush with melted butter when they're done.
You can also skip the salt and dip them in butter and a mixture of cinnamon and sugar if you want a sweet version. Check out the recipe and slideshow on The Daily Meal for more details and mouthwatering photos.