When I was younger, I had a pretzel addiction. I loved those Super Pretzels from the giant boxes you could buy at BJs for an after school snack. Trips the the mall were always more complete after a trip to Auntie Anne’s. I always bought the pretzels from the concession stand at high school football games while my friends relied on plates of nachos with that orange cheese facsimile. And when I was stressed, nothing beat a chocolate covered pretzel. Then, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, my go-to snack was pretty much eliminated. Every once in a while I would find a package of GF pretzels in the freezer section, but it became a far less frequent indulgence.
Meanwhile, I started hanging out with this girl who always brought homemade soft pretzels to our gatherings. As all of my friends sat around the plate devouring them, I sat in the corner with a sad little plate of carrot sticks. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore and I insisted that she come over and teach me her magical ways. Of course she agreed, because she’s awesome like that. We weren’t sure how they would turn out without any gluten to provide the elasticity, but we were very pleased with the result. They definitely taste like soft pretzels. And if you’re patient enough to roll them out, they can look really cute (I’ll admit, I’m not that patient; it is more difficult shaping without the gluten). Even if you’re as lazy as I am, though, and just make little nuggets, you’ll be rewarded with awesomeness.
This past weekend, we made them when our group of friends was over. Like they always did with the gluten-full variety, my friends gathered around as I pulled them out of the oven, popping them into their mouths. And the best part? Nobody had to sit with a sad little plate of carrot sticks!
Gluten Free Soft Pretzels
- 1 packet dry active yeast
- 1/8 cup warm (not hot) water
- 1 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 4.5 cups gluten free flour blend (with xanthan gum)
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 1 Egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 475 F, and bring roughly two quarts of water, with the baking soda, to a boil.
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/8 cup warm water.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar.
- Combine the remaining 1 1/3 cup warm water with the yeast mixture. Stir this into the flour mixture.
- With a wooden spoon or spatula, start to combine dough. Soon, it will be easier to do this with your hands. It should become a fairly pliable, shapable consistency, similar to play dough. If the dough seems too sticky, simply add more flour; too dry, add more water.
- Mold the dough into desired shape (pretzel, braid, nuggets, etc).
- Boil the formed pretzels for about 15 seconds. Fish out of water, and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and prepared with cooking spray.
- If desired, brush the pretzels with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt, after the pretzels have cooled slightly. You can easily do this without the egg; it simply helps the pretzels turn golden brown.
- Bake pretzels for 8-10 minutes, until they are a light golden brown. Serve hot with mustard, or melted chocolate, or cheese. Store any leftovers in an airtight container and reheat to serve.