There are certain things that will always correlate with visiting the mall: trying to avoid people you know, clearance racks, the youth, 25 cent gumball machines, throwing pennies into fountains, and Auntie Anne’s.
You can smell Auntie Anne’s eight stores down-the buttery, salty, cinnamon-y sugary goodness. And on the way there you’ll pass Wetzel’s Pretzels without a second glance.
Ah how I love carbs.
My sister requests cinnamon sugar pretzel nuggets whenever we go to the mall. And I can understand why. They’re warm, fluffy, and messy. My mom usually steals one, I steal one, she steals another one, and then my little sister gets a bag with about four left.
There’s no guilt. It’s not like she paid for them anyway (well, neither did I. I work off of my Christmas money the whole year).
And they’re not as hard to make as you would think. The pretzel itself only needs 5 ingredients. Also, the yeast in this recipe doesn’t need to rise, so you save 2 hours.
Remember how I said I don’t like the half whole-wheat half white flour thing? That you should just do it all the way or go home? Well… I found an exception. Making these 100% whole wheat doesn’t make them the fluffy, light pretzels that you would hope for- instead they are more chewy and dense. Not to say that they would taste bad, but they’re just not what one would expect if they were presented as “Copycat Auntie Anne’s Pretzels”. Plus I was making these for a bunch of little kids at a party, and they have standards. And I didn’t want to see sad puppy faces.
You start off with the easy dough and cut it into cute nugget shapes (nugget is such fun word to say). Meanwhile, you can also cringe at my size inconsistencies.
Dunking them in a quick baking soda bath gives them a crispy golden shell while you bake them.
Then you get to try not to eat them as they come fresh out of the oven (sorry kids-there’s a few missing).
Now because I was gonna serve this at a party with little kids, I did not dare to include a dipping sauce unless I wanted a sauce full of double dips. But a nice caramel sauce or cream cheese sauce would pair nicely with these.
Also, if you just wanted regular pretzel nuggets, just brush them with an egg wash and sprinkle on salt before baking.
Look at me experimenting with angles in my pictures! I’m growing!
Now go bribe some people to be your friends with food. It works, trust me.
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Nuggets
makes about 30 nuggets on a good day- it depends on the size you make them and how many you eat before you remember that you have to count them
For the pretzels:
- 3 cups flour (I used a mix of 1 cup whole-wheat 2 cups all-purpose) plus more when necessary and more for dusting the kneading surface
- 1.5 cups lukewarm water (if you can keep your fingers in the water without them burning then that’s a good temperature- I usually mix half of cup of nearly boiling water with a cup of room temperature water and let it cool)
- one packet of instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
For the cinnamon sugar coating:
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 425° F.
- In a large bowl, mix the lukewarm water and yeast with a wooden spoon (using a metal utensil may give it a metallic taste). Stir the yeast until almost completely dissolved-some clumps will be present and that’s perfectly fine. Add the salt and sugar and stir to combine one again.
- Add one cup of flour at a time, stirring the dough in between each addition. At some point, you may have to use your hands.
- If the dough is sticky, add more flour. You do not want a sticky dough. If you poke the dough and it springs back up, you are ready to begin kneading.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and cut into four sections.
- Roll each section into a rope anywhere from 12 to 24 inches long- it depends on how big you want the nuggets to be. ** Remember, they will expand considerably while baking. Cut the rope into small pieces, each about 1 inch long.
- Boil some water so you have about 4 cups. Pour in a bowl, add 1/4 cup of baking soda, be momentarily fascinated by the fizzing, and stir to combine. Making sure the water is still hot, quickly place in a few nuggets in the bath at a time, only allowing them to stay in the water for about 10 seconds or so before taking them out with a slotted spoon and allowing the excess water to drain off. (If they stay too long in the water they will taste weird.)
- Place nuggets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or greased. Make sure they are well spaced apart so they don’t merge together while baking.
- Bake for about 9-11 minutes, keeping a close eye on them as the bottom can burn easily.
- After you take them out of the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack, melt the butter in one bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Dip the nuggets in the melted butter then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Tap on the side of the bowl to let any excess sugar fall off.
- These are best served warm, so serve them asap!
Who needs Auntie Annie’s now? No one because Auntie Annie’s doesn’t exist as I just discovered. I always thought it was Annie’s, and I just realized it was Anne’s. She’s lied to me all these years. And I was offered a job there. That interview would’ve been very bad haha. I don’t think they would hire someone who didn’t know the name of the store. Either that or I would melt from embarrassment.
(Sally’s Baking Addiction is my source for learning about working with yeast in recipes. This is an adaption of her recipe. I love her!)