David and I went to a Halloween Party today, and I figured that there would be a lot of sweet treats. I decided that a savory snack would be fun to share, and I had seen the idea for soft pretzel bites over at Vegan Fling a few weeks back. I had also just made a 9 pound batch of pumpkin puree and figured there had to be a way to incorporate the two. A quick google search confirmed that pumpkin soft pretzels were not a new idea! It also confirmed that they are a very yummy idea! So I set to work making these fun pretzels. I wish I had figured out how simple it is to make pretzels sooner! Turns out that the dough is just about the exact same as my pizza dough, with a quick 30 second baking soda bath before they hit the oven. I made a simple cranberry mustard for dipping—seriously, just a jar of store bought mustard mixed with cranberries! The pretzels were a hit, and a perfect Halloween treat!
Pumpkin Soft Pretzel Bites, adapted from Oh, Ladycakes
2/3 c. pumpkin puree
1 T maple syrup
1 c. warm water, divided
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 T olive oil
1 tsp salt
3-4 c. flour (white makes for a lighter pretzel, wheat is a little more dense and hearty)
1/2 c baking soda
Coarse sea salt
Place yeast in bowl of mixer. Pour ¼ c hot water (hot from tap) and maple syrup in and allow yeast to proof for 10 minutes. It will get a little bubbly, and the yeast will soften so that you no longer see many granules. Add olive oil and salt and give it a quick spin. Add the pumpkin and the remaining water to the yeast mixture. Add flour 1 cup at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. After about 2 cups of flour I switch to my bread hook. (If you don’t have one, let it go as long as you can in the mixer and then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead by hand.) Allow the mixer to work the dough for an additional 5-6 minutes. (The dough should hold your fingerprints for a few seconds—if it doesn’t it is probably still too soft and you may need more flour).
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Drizzle olive oil on top of ball of dough and flip dough around to coat all sides with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put your bowl in a warm place for 1+ hour. I like to put mine in a slightly warmed oven. I turn on the oven (set to about 150 degrees) while I’m making the dough and then turn it off when I put the dough in.
Once your dough has risen, bring 10 cups of water to a boil with 1/2 c baking soda mixed in. Preheat oven to 450°F.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface and dust with flour and knead a few times until it is soft and not sticky, and easily workable. Pull off tablespoon sized pinches and roll between your hands to make small dough balls.
Place balls a handful at a time into the boiling water. Let float for 30 seconds and remove with a mesh scoop/spider. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt while still wet. Once all balls have been boiled and salted, place in the oven.
Bake at 450°F for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. The pretzels are best served right away, but you can store them in an air-tight container for a day or two and reheat them in the oven as needed. Make sure they are completely cooled when you put them in the container, as the moisture will cause the pretzels to absorb the salt. They will still taste great, but don’t look as pretty.
This couldn’t be easier, and it’s a perfect complement to the pretzels! The cranberries, while not a strong flavor next to the mustard, make for an incredible color and a fun fall pairing!
1 c frozen (or fresh) whole cranberries
1 c water
1 10 oz jar of stone ground mustard
Put cranberries and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir with a wooden spoon and mush around until the berries burst. Turn off the heat and mix the mustard into the cranberries. Ready to serve!