I have some pretty fun memories of my childhood that seem to mainly revolve around soft pretzels.
Going to the mall? Get a soft pretzel. Baseball game? Soft pretzel. First trip to New York City? Soft pretzel, obviously.
So when I started cooking seriously one of the first things I wanted to master was, you guessed it, the soft pretzel.
There are two fun reasons why you should definitely make soft pretzels at home: 1) They’re the best when they are super-fresh. When you see them hanging under a heating lamp you can bet that they won’t be top-notch. 2) If you make them yourself, you can mix in other fun things.
And that’s how the chocolate soft pretzel
Pretzel dough is one of the easier doughs to make, actually. It’s very pliable and easy to work with. To start it off, just add your water, yeast, salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl.
Let this sit for about 5 minutes just to make sure your yeast is active. It should start foaming a bit.
When it comes to the flour part of this recipe, it’s actually fairly important to weigh the flour. If you refuse to do so, it works out to about 4.5 cups, but don’t blame me if your pretzels come out dry.
Weighing is always the way to go with doughs.
Add the flour to the liquid mixture and mix it all together with a dough hook on low for about 5 minutes. Now, I was making these before I had a stand mixer, so you definitely don’t need one.
If you don’t have one, just knead the dough vigorously in the bowl with one hand until it forms a soft ball.
Whether you have a stand mixer or not, once the dough is mostly formed, stir in your chocolate chips and continue to mix so the chips get evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Then lightly coat the dough ball with vegetable oil and let it rise for about an hour. It should double in size easily.
This amount of dough will make about eight pretzels so divide your dough up into eight smaller balls. If you want to be a perfectionist, you could weigh your smaller balls so they are all the same.
When you’re ready to shape your pretzels, don’t fret. It’s not all that hard. Just roll a dough ball out into an 18-inch strand. Try to keep it the same thickness. If there are parts of the strand that have a lot of chocolate chips, it might want to break apart. Just take your time and roll slowly and you should be fine.
Then just wrap the left end around to the center and then wrap the right end on top of it. That’s all there is to forming a pretzel!
If you were to bake these guys just like this, they would be okay, but they wouldn’t have that super-soft interior and crunchy outside that makes a soft pretzel really delicious. To get that texture, we need to boil the pretzels in a baking soda mixture.
So bring one gallon of water to a simmer in a large pot and stir in 1 cup of baking soda.
NOTE: Be careful when stirring in your baking soda. It’ll foam a lot so add it slowly. If you just dump it in, you’ll have a big mess in your kitchen.
Once the liquid is simmering, add one or two pretzels at a time and boil them for about 30 seconds per side. Use some tongs to flip them over.
Pull out the pretzels and set them on some baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Now for the salt.
Salt is very important to a pretzel. It’s so important, in fact, that they make a special salt just for pretzels called…pretzel salt. You need to get your hands on some of this if you’re going to make real pretzels.
See the difference between pretzel salt and kosher salt?
Brush the pretzels with a bit of egg wash and sprinkle on some pretzel salt.
Now slide these guys into a 450-degree oven for about 14-15 minutes. They should be a deep golden brown.
Of course, the best part about these pretzels is taking a bite when they are fresh out of the oven. Then the pretzel is warm and salty and the chocolate is still melted and delicious.
I’m not a huge chocolate guy but this is the perfect amount of chocolate in something like this. It’s salty and sweet and one of the best snacks ever created!
You Can Knot Make These - More Pretzel RecipesNick has had thoughts of opening up a custom pretzel shop, but then his wife reminded him that that is a pretty horrible idea because then he could cook nothing but pretzels. TRUE. Check out the other stuff he’s cooking on his blog, Macheesmo, and on his Tablespoon profile.