Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels with Cream Cheese Frosting

We need to talk about Twitter.

I really don't understand it. Like, at all.

I'm into Facebook. I get it. You post pithy status updates to show everyone how witty and intelligent you are. You upload carefully selected photos that showcase how great your life is. And most importantly, you stalk the profiles of people you never actually talk to in real life.

But what are you supposed to do on Twitter?

From what I've gathered, a lot of people are obsessed with it. And since I'm not one to disagree with the majority of the free world, I've tried to get into it at least three times.

I just... I can't. I see all the # and the @ and the links that have dots in the middle of words... and my head wants to explode.

I was trying to figure it out on Sunday during the Oscars and almost had a nervous breakdown. Especially since I no longer have cable and therefore couldn't actually watch the Oscars. It was like being blindfolded in a crowded room and only hearing every other word about what was happening.

Also... the "trending topics"? I checked that section out thinking it might shed some light on this whole ordeal, and I clicked the one that said "Justin is 17". It took me to a bunch of tweets about Justin Bieber's 18th birthday, and specifically about how "we only have 24 more hours of saying this" and reminding people to "retweet this because in 24 hours you won't be able to".


Someone please explain all of this to me before it's too late. Otherwise I fear that I'll soon become one of those people who uses phrases like "the Facebook" and sends out emails claiming that Bill Gates will give you $1 for every person you forward it to.

Here's something I do understand: soft #pretzels brushed with melted #butter, sprinkled with #cinnamon #sugar, and dipped in #creamcheese #frosting. The first thing I said after I tried them was #theytastesopretzely!

@blogreaders Am I it right?

Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Baking Illustrated

For the pretzels:

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
1 cup warm water, about 110°F
3 tablespoons baking soda
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cream cheese frosting:

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey, salt, flour, and warm water. With the dough hook attachment, knead at low speed for 5-7 minutes or until the dough forms a smooth ball.

2. Transfer the dough to a large bowl coated with nonstick spray, and turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in volume. Deflate the dough, re-cover it, and allow it to rise until doubled again, about 30 minutes.

3. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon, and pour the mixture into a shallow plate or pie pan.

4. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 20-inch long rope, and shape each rope into a pretzel. Place the pretzels on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Pour six cups of water into a 12-inch skillet, and add the 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Cover the mixture and bring it to a boil over high heat. Working with 3-4 pretzels at a time, use a slotted spoon to place the pretzels into the boiling water top-side down. Boil for 1 minute, flipping the pretzels over halfway through.

6. Remove the pretzels from the water with a slotted spoon, drain them well, and return them to the baking sheet. Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until golden brown. While the pretzels are still warm (but cool enough to handle), brush the tops with melted butter and dip the buttered side of each pretzel into the cinnamon sugar mixture.

7. To make the cream cheese frosting: In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer at medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the powdered sugar, and mix at low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Add the milk and vanilla, and continue mixing at low speed about 30 seconds more. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat at medium speed for about 1 minute. When you're ready to serve the pretzels, warm the frosting in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until heated through.

Makes about 12 pretzels.

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