Mariel here. Every morning, I head out onto the mean streets of NYC and pound it out on the pavement for a full hour. Rain or shine, snow or wind, this daily jog helps clear my head and de-stress my perpetually anxious soul before hunkering down for an honest day’s work. It also has the added benefit of pre-paying penance for any lusty treats I may indulge in later. Unfortunately, my morning route takes me past a number of street vendors who sling crusty hot pretzels, hot dogs and coffee. Believe it or not, I want all of these things at 8 in the morning.
You can’t live in New York City without enduring the perpetual pretzel assault, but I rarely give into this particular temptation. The reasons aren’t caloric, they’re primarily germaphobic. Those street carts look grimy, they’re set up alongside busy intersections with idling cars that toot out all kinds of debris. And where on earth do street vendors go to use the bathroom? Surely they can’t abscond and leave their carts unattended. Just sayin’.
Since I’m constantly exposed to warm doughy pretzels but I rarely actually eat them, for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I decided to dip a finger into dough-making and whip up my own at home. I was assigned a blog dubbed The Boys Made Me Do it, which is stocked with weekly meal plans, family-friendly foods and giveaways galore, so when I landed upon her adapted recipe for Chewy Pretzel Bites, I knew my search was over.
These little nuggets are downright addictive, so beware if your will is weak (like mine is). I adapted the recipe very slightly by using active dry yeast instead of instant and I infused the buttery topping with honey and roasted garlic. These are absolutely heavenly and have helped fade my fear of soft pretzels…and of street carts named E Coli.
Oh and a second order of business – we just wanted to wish our blog a very happy three-year anniversary! Time has truly flown by…but my culinary skills are all the better for it. Here’s to many more!
Honey & Butter-Glazed Pretzel Bites with Roasted Garlic
Makes about 24 bites
Recipe from The Boys Made Me Do It
Ingredients for the Dough:
2½ cups of all-purpose flour – stock
½-teaspoon salt – stock
1 teaspoon sugar, divided – stock
1 Tablespoon dry active yeast – $0.89
1 cup very warm water, divided – stock
½-cup warm water – stock
2 Tablespoons baking soda – stock
Coarse salt – stock
1 jumbo clove of garlic – stock
2 Tablespoons melted butter – stock
1 Tablespoon honey – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $0.89
Cost per bite: $0.04
1. In a small bowl, combine ¼-cup of very warm water with ¼-teaspoon of sugar and 1 Tablespoon of dry active yeast. This is called proofing and basically it activates the yeast before using it. Stir together once and let it sit for five minutes, it will start to bubble up and rise.
2. In a large bowl, gently whisk together the flour, salt, and remaining ¾-teaspoon of sugar. Add the activated yeast and stir. Slowly pour in the remaining ¾-cup of water, bit by bit, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. Once all of the water is poured in, ditch the spoon and use your hands to work and knead the dough for five minutes. The goal is to get a soft, smooth dough that isn’t overly sticky. Lightly flour the ball of dough and place it in a large plastic ziplock. Seal the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest 30-60 minutes.
3. In the meantime roast the garlic. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and baste the skin of the garlic clove with olive oil. Wrap in two layers of tinfoil and roast for 15-25 minutes, or until the garlic becomes soft and starts to caramelize but isn’t burning. Set aside.
4. Once the dough has finished resting, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and divide the dough into four equal-sized strips. Twist the dough strips gently to stretch and elongate them. Allow the dough to rest, uncovered, for five minutes.
6. While the dough is resting, whisk together the ½-cup of warm water and the baking soda in a vessel deep enough to dunk the pretzel bites once they’re cut.
7. Cut each strip of dough into bite-size pieces (about an inch long) and dip into the baking soda solution. Make sure to keep stirring the solution before dunking since the baking soda settles at the bottom. Place the bites on your prepared baking sheets and sprinkle with coarse salt. Allow the bites to rest for another 10 minutes.
8. Bake the pretzels for 6½-7 minutes or until golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. When golden, remove from oven and set aside.
9. Combine the melted butter, honey and roasted garlic in a small dish and use a pestle or back of a spoon to macerate the garlic and fully incorporate it. Brush the baked bites with your honey-garlic-butter, coating thoroughly and using the entirety of the mixture. Serve warm or at room temp alongside spicy mustard. Enjoy!