Sweet Vanilla Pretzel Ties

Courtesy of Baking Style by Lisa Yockelson (Wiley, 2011)

Sweet Vanilla Pretzel Ties

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    Ingredients

    2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 2 large eggs
    1/4 cup and 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar 1 large egg yolk
    1/4 cup warm (105 to 110 degrees F) water 3 1/3 cups unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup milk 1/2 teaspoon salt
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size chunks 5 tablespoons vanilla sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    directions

    Total:
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    • 1

      For the dough, stir together the yeast, the 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar, and the warm water in a heatproof measuring cup. Allow the mixture to stand until swollen, 6 to 7 minutes.

    • 2

      Place the milk and the 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan and set over moderate heat to warm the milk and begin to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Pour and scrape the milk mixture into a medium-size heatproof mixing bowl; stir in the chunks of butter and the vanilla extract. Let stand until lukewarm, about 6 minutes. Add the yeast mixture, one whole egg, and egg yolk, and mix well. 

    • 3

      In a large mixing bowl, whisk 2 cups bleached flour and salt. Add the yeast-milk-butter-vanilla mixture and stir to combine, using a wooden spoon or flat wooden paddle. At this point, the dough will be thick and sticky. Blend in the unbleached flour and mix to combine most of the flour; The dough will be scraggly. 

    • 4

      Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and knead lightly to create a smooth dough. Dust the work surface with the additional 2 tablespoons unbleached flour. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the dough will be bouncy and moderately soft. Turn the dough into a bowl heavily coated with softened unsalted butter, lightly turn to coat all sides in a film of butter, make several cuts in the dough with a pair of kitchen scissors, cover tightly with a sheet of food-safe plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

    • 5

      Uncover the dough and discard the plastic wrap. 

    • 6

      Line several cookie sheets or rimmed sheet pans with lengths of ovenproof parchment paper. 

    • 7

      To form the pretzels, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide it in half, then cut each half into 6 even-size pieces, creating 12 pieces in total. Roll each piece into a 6, 7, 8, or 10-inch rope; the length depends on the overall size you wish to create -- pudgier pretzels or longer, more slender pretzels. The size of the pretzel ropes in the image on page 479 began as 7 inches. Tie the ropes into knots, either in the middle or at one end (or vary the knots). Place the pretzels on the prepared baking pans, spacing them at least 3 inches apart, and arranging 4 pretzels on each pan.

    • 8

      Cover the pans of pretzels loosely with sheets of food-safe plastic wrap. Let the pretzels rise at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until just puffy. 

    • 9

      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F in advance of baking. Remove and discard the sheets of plastic wrap covering the pretzels.

    • 10

      For the glaze, whip one egg white until frothy in a small mixing bowl. Film the top of each pretzel with the whipped egg white, using a soft pastry brush and gentle strokes. Sprinkle a little of the vanilla sugar or sparkling sugar on top of each egg white–glazed pretzel.

    • 11

      Bake the pretzels in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until set and golden. Place the pans on cooling racks and let the pretzels stand in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove the pretzels to other cooling racks, using a wide off set metal spatula. Serve the pretzels warm or at room temperature.

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