I'm guessing you all had a lot of really delicious Super Bowl foods. Wings, nachos, football brownies (are those a thing?), beer, chips and guac...all things I wish I had thought to buy ingredients for. But then the blizzard hit and there was no way in hell I was going to trek to the grocery store. So instead, I opted for pretzels and pretzel dogs. We already had some hot dogs from the local butcher shop, and you pretty much don't need any fancy ingredients to make pretzels, so it was the most convenient option. Also, delicious.
Okay, time out. Can we talk about the Super Bowl? More specifically, can we talk about the commercials and the half time show? Does anyone remember when Super Bowl commercials used to be funny? I miss those days. Commercials about dead kids and lost puppies are just depressing. Bring back the budweiser frogs, man. More importantly....the half time show. I'm not going to debate whether or not Katy Perry was good (I thought her performance was pretty atrocious), all I'm going to say is: THE LEFT SHARK. The only way you don't know about the left shark by now is if you're living under an internet-less rock. The left shark was the best thing about the Super Bowl. Hands down. There are going to be a lot of left shark halloween costumes. It's going to be awesome.
Anyway, back to the pretzels. They're very easy to throw together -- you can probably make them, start to finish, in about 2 hours. Most of that time is passive, too. You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry, so do it! The pretzels are fluffy and chewy and perfect with a little bit of mustard. If you go the pretzel dog route (which you should), it's a pretty epic combination. Better than a corn dog, even. Bring them to a party. What's the next party-worthy occasion? The Oscars? Pretzel dogs are totally worthy snacks to bring to an Oscar party, aren't they? No? Come on. I guess maybe you'd need to class them up a little and use smaller hot dogs like lil' smokies or cocktail weenies (you will probably have a shorter baking time if you go that route).
Pretzels / Pretzel Dogs
recipe, adapted slightly, from Alton Brown
1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 TB sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces (4 TB) unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 TB water
Pretzel salt or Maldon sea salt flakes
8 regular sized hot dogs, if you're making pretzel dogs
- Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
- Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined.
- Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Set up a cooling rack with a few paper towels underneath (for draining the pretzels).
- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a large pot.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.
- For regular pretzels: make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
- For pretzel dogs: starting at one end of the hot dog, wrap dough rope in a spiral around the hot dog. Press end of rope into the spiral to seal.
- Place the pretzels/pretzel dogs into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds each.
- Remove them from the water and place on a rack to drain for a couple of minutes.
- Return pretzels/pretzel dogs to the half sheet pans, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the salt.
- Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.