My girlfriend loves to bake, and I love to help (especially with the eating part.) Together we decided to make an instructable for one of our favorite Halloween snacks. Delicious, warm, cinnamon and sugar pumpkin pretzels are fun to make on a cold October night.
Step 1: Gather the Goods
These pretzels are super delicious and really fun to make! Start by gathering all of your ingredients (as with most projects, a beer or other beverage compliments the process well... we decided to sample a few pumpkin beers.)
For the Pretzels
2 teaspoons baker’s yeast
½ teaspoon white sugar
½ cup warm (not boiling) water
1/3 cup of pumpkin puree (canned or home-made)
¼ cup of sugar
Pinch of salt
2 – 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
For the Baking Soda Wash
1 cup of hot water
1/8 cup of baking soda
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
2 tablespoons of melted butter
4 tablespoons of white sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
½ tablespoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon of cloves
Step 2: Prep That Pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. To prepare the pumpkin puree cut a sugar pumpkin in 3-4 pieces, scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. Wrap the pumpkin pieces in foil and bake for ~75 minutes or until tender. Check that a fork can be easily inserted into the flesh of the pumpkin. Remove and set aside until cool to the touch.
Scoop out the inside pumpkin flesh and place in a large bowl or blender with ¼ - ½ cup of water. Using a blender, food processor, or an immersion blender (best option!) blend the pumpkin flesh until smooth and slightly creamy (you don’t want any big pieces of pumpkin left). Start with less water and add more if the puree does not become smooth. Less water will give a more concentrated pumpkin flavor!
Step 3: Mix It Up
With the puree made it’s now time for the pretzels (canned pumpkin puree will also work but probably have less flavor than home-made puree.)
In a large bowl mix yeast and sugar into warm, but not boiling, water and let stand for about 10 minutes; the mixture will start to look creamy/slightly frothy. Too hot of water will kill the yeast before they’ve done their job!
After 10 minutes mix in the pumpkin puree and oil using a low speed on a mixer. Then add the sugar and a pinch of salt.
If your mixer has a dough attachment use it now but it should work fine without one as well. Slowly add the flour, about ½ cup at a time, while mixing. The dough will start to come together away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball. (The last ¼ - ½ cups of flour may not need to be added, this depends on how much water is in your pumpkin puree. Watch for the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl and that’ll signal the end of flour addition.) Knead the dough with dough hook (or by hand) for 5-10 minutes.
Step 4: Rise and Shine
Cover the dough in a bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 °F and grease and flour a large baking sheet (we used two baking sheets because our shapes too up a lot of space!)
Letting the dough rise is boring. We went for a nice walk around the neighborhood to check out the jack-o-lanterns and grab another local pint of pumpkin brew from the corner market!
Step 5: Shape and Bake
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. The dough should feel silky (so soft!) Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces and roll into long, thin ropes about ½ inch in diameter. Now have fun! Twist the dough into any shape you’d like! We made pumpkins, broomsticks, spiders, a cat, and spider webs.
Place each pretzel on a baking sheet. Dissolve the baking soda in hot water and using a baker’s brush paint the pretzels with this mixture.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until nice and brown on the outside.
Step 6: Sugar and Spice Makes These Pretzels Nice!
Mix the sugar and spices in a small bowl and melt the butter. After removing the baked pretzels paint them with the butter and sprinkle a generous (VERY generous) amount of sugar/spice mix.
These pretzels are best served warm and fresh out of the oven but they make a great pumpkin-y snack for the future, especially when heated slightly in the microwave.