How go the preparations this Valentine’s week? I bet a lot of you are busy prepping homemade red-tinged desserts for romantic dinners already, with matching Jo Malone candles and beautiful China for the special night. Something personal and intimate in a place where you can be free to just be yourselves— that’s the best type of date in my opinion.
If I were to describe my perfect date, it would be something along the lines of a little picnic up on a rooftop. The sort where you can prepare a bit of food, then simply relax and enjoy each other’s company. The sort where you end up talking about pretty much anything under the stars. These days technology and social media have made chatting face-to-face so underrated, but I happen to think getting to sit down to actually talk to the people who are important in your life is a luxury I always want to have. You get to spend time with them and laugh with them and bask in the impact of their presence in your life. It’s cause for the heart to flutter and feel content.
I’ve chosen to share a pretzel recipe today because the shape of it reminds me of a heart. And as a Valentine’s gift to my lovely readers, I also made a little how-to-make video featuring these awesome cinnamon pretzels with a chocolate dip. You can watch it after the jump! 🙂
So pretzels– one of the best things in life. Period. Regardless of whether it’s Valentine’s or not, if you’re dating or not, pretzels are your friend. Especially when it’s covered in cinnamon AND chocolate. Actually I’m a huge fan of savoury pretzels (sour cream and onion’s my fave!) rather than sweet ones, but since being introduced to this combination I’ve been hooked! Cinnamon pretzels are normal, okay classics in my book, but when I get that into my chocolate dip, I forget about my cravings for savoury pretzels. How come I’ve overlooked cinnamon pretzels with chocolate all my life???
I don’t know how chocolate manages to make everything better. It just does.
As you can see in the short video above, these pretzels are pretty basic. (I’ve actually made these before and dressed them up in different flavours but this is the first time I’m making a dip for them.) I always use my mixer with its dough hook when I’m in a hurry because it’s faster and easier that way, but of course you can ALWAYS knead the dough by hand. It’s therapeutic and also fun. For me at least.
But the most fun part is shaping the pretzels, and you do it first by rolling out the dough to a long log, then tugging the rope into a U-shape. Holding the ends of the rope, twist them over each other twice (or simply just cross them over each other for a simpler pretzel), and press onto the rounded bottom of the U. Easy peasy. Believe me!
Another thing I want to mention is to NOT skip the boiling in baking soda water part. Your pretzels go in there to get their nice and firm (sometimes even crunchy if baked long enough) exterior, but the inside crumb will remain wonderfully soft!
Cinnamon Pretzels with Chocolate Dip
Makes 8 large or 16 medium-sized pretzels
For the dough
- 1½ cups warm water, 110-115° F
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
For the cinnamon-sugar topping
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the chocolate dip
- 145 grams bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
Make the dough
- 1. Combine the water, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with a spoon to dissolve the yeast.
- 2. Add in the flour and melted butter and, using a wooden spoon, mix just until the a shaggy dough forms.
- 3. Attach bowl to the mixer and using the dough hook, knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth, not longer sticky, and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. (You can also knead by hand.) Transfer the dough to a lightly-greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about an hour or until doubled in bulk.
- 4. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan or stockpot.
- 5. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 8 or 16 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.
- 6. Make a U-shape with the rope. Holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other or twist them over each other twice. Press ends of the dough-rope onto the bottom of the U. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- 7. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer or spatula, and return to the baking sheet. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash.
- 8. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before topping.
Make the cinnamon-sugar
- 9. While the pretzels are cooling, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Mix to blend. In another small bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.
- 10. Once the pretzels are cool enough to handle, dip the top side briefly in the melted butter, then dip in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Gently shake off any excess. Repeat with the remaining pretzels. Let stand about 5 minutes to allow the mixture to set on the surface of the pretzel.
Make the chocolate sauce
- 11. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream just before it comes to a boil. Pour hot cream over the chocolate, and let stand 2 minutes. Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms. Reheat as necessary to keep consistency appropriate for dipping.