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Baklava-Inspired Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels topped with a mixture of chopped nuts, cinnamon, flaky sea salt, and cornflakes for that extra crunch. Drizzled with honey-orange syrup. Truly a sweet/salty combo for the books. Makes 8.

In case you were wondering, soft pretzels are my new obsession. Making them, eating them, the works. This Sunday I spent the morning doing just that with a cup of fresh brewed coffee. Only these weren’t just any pretzels. These were covered in a mix of chopped nuts, crispy cornflakes, cinnamon, flaky sea salt, and drizzled with a honey-orange syrup. Truly a sweet/salty combo for the books.

 

Brb…going back to the kitchen for another bite now.

 

Now, I’m not going to lie. A lot goes into these pretzels. Meaning, there’s a lot of steps and a lot ingredients. BUT…and that’s a huge but…that doesn’t mean they’re hard to make by any means. Here are a few tips that’ll ensure you have the easiest experience, the best time, and the tastiest results.

 

Tip No. 1: Prep Your Ingredients

I’ll say it again. Prep your ingredients! It may seem like it’s unnecessary, but it’s a huge time saver and reduces a lot of stress.

For the syrup, go ahead and toss all the ingredients into the saucepan (minus the vanilla) until you’re ready to boil it. For the topping, crush the cornflakes and chop the nuts beforehand–either with a knife or in a food processor. Whatever makes the most sense to you!

Also, an important note: measure the nuts after chopping. After being chopped, they should equal 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup pistachios, and 1/4 cup almonds.

 

Tip No. 2: Pick And Choose

For the syrup…if you’re not a fan of orange, replace the orange zest with lemon zest. For the nut topping…there are no hard and fast rules for what types of nuts you use. For baklava, walnuts are the most common. I like to use a mix of walnuts, pistachios, and almonds. But as long as you end up with a total of 1 cup of chopped nuts, you can use any combo you like.

If you use pistachios…I couldn’t find any unflavored ones without the shell. So I got the honey-roasted pistachios and simply rinsed off the powdery coating. If you do this, pat the pistachios dry with a paper towel before finely chopping.

If you use almonds…chopping is a lot easier if you get sliced or slivered almonds. Otherwise, a food processor may be easier.

 

Tip No. 3: Don’t Use Parchment Paper

I know, I know. As a baker, parchment paper is my best friend. It’s makes cleanup way easier and ensures things don’t stick to the pan. EXCEPT with these pretzels. Believe me, I tried everything. Parchment paper will stick to the bottom of the pretzels. So even though it means a little bit more cleanup, spray non-stick cooking spray on your baking sheets and bake the pretzel directly on the sheets. I promise they won’t stick.

 

Tip No. 4: Serve It Best

These pretzels are best served right out of the oven. They’re crispy on the top, a little sticky (in a good way), and soft on the inside. If you like things on the sweeter side, feel free to drizzle more syrup on the pretzels while they’re still hot.

For leftover pretzels…store them in an airtight container. To make them taste fresh and crisp again, pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.

Have leftover syrup and/or topping? Store them the fridge until ready to use another time, or try them over plain or vanilla greek yogurt!

 

 

Okay…so now you are set! These pretzels should be a breeze now and I can’t wait for you to try them. If you have any questions or comments please let me know. As always, I’m happy to help in any way or to just be your cheerleader in the kitchen. Happy baking!

 

Baklava-Inspired Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels topped with a mixture of chopped nuts, cinnamon, flaky sea salt, and cornflakes for that extra crunch. Drizzled with honey-orange syrup. Makes 8.
Servings 8

Ingredients

For the pretzel dough

  • cups lukewarm water about 100° F
  • Tbsp granulated sugar
  • tsp active dry yeast
  • 4¾-5¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 2 Tbsp honey

For the honey-orange syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest about ¼ an orange
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

For the topping

  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios
  • ¼ cup finely chopped almonds
  • tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup crushed cornflakes
  • Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling

For the water bath

  • 12-14 cups water
  • cup baking soda

Instructions

For the dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the lukewarm water and sugar. Sprinkle the active dry yeast on top (don't mix) and let sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy.
  • Once frothy, pour 4¾ cups flour and the salt into the yeast mixture and mix on low using the dough hook. While it's mixing slowly drizzle in the melted butter and honey. Continue mixing on low until the dough comes together, is smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is super sticky and doesn't pull away, add another ¼ cup flour as needed.
  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl lightly coated in olive oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let it rise for about an hour until doubled in size.

For the honey-orange syrup

  • In a small sauce pan, combine the water, sugar, honey, and orange zest. Bring to a boil for 4 minutes, then let simmer for another 4-6, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside until needed. Note: it will thicken as it comes to room temperature.

For the topping

  • In a medium-sized bowl combine the chopped nuts, crushed cornflakes, cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter. Gently mix together using a fork or spoon until crumbly. Set aside until needed.

For assembly

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. Prepare two baking sheets with non-stick spray.
  • In a large pot, bring about 12-14 cups (or about ⅔ of the way full) of water to a boil with ⅔ cup baking soda.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the middle of it to release any air bubbles. Then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times and shape it into a ball. Use a pastry cutter or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.
  • To make the pretzel shape, very lightly grease your hands with olive oil and roll a piece of dough out into about a 20-inch rope. Make a U-shape with dough, twist the ends, then press into the bottom of the U to form the pretzel shape. Repeat for each piece.
  • Working one at a time, immerse each pretzel into the boiling water and baking soda mixture. Boil for 30 seconds, then place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each pretzel with the honey-orange syrup and sprinkle with a generous amount of the nut topping. Gently press in the nut topping to make sure it sticks. Lastly, drizzle a spoonful of the syrup over the top of each pretzel and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Best served warm! 🙂
    Optional: drizzle with more syrup as soon as they come out of the oven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this kitchen, we play with our food.

I’m Rachel–baker and writer. On this blog, you will find the place where curiosity, creativity, and courage meets. Let’s bake something, learn something, and have fun while doing it. :)