Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Orange Cinnamon Roll Pretzel Bites

 While walking through a crowded Houston airport anticipating a 3-hour layover between flights, I felt a hunger pain. I realized it had been over eleven hours since my last meal and I had a long way to go before I could make it home. Right about the time of the growl, I walked past a very popular soft pretzel restaurant chain that had married its pretzels with a very popular cinnamon roll franchise.  I found this to be a brilliant move on the part of the pretzel company, as they had many savoury bread offerings and the cinnamon bun company had a national following of avid bun grabbers...err...roll eaters. "Bun grabbers" sounds inappropriate. Looking at the menu I found some cinnamon pretzel bites that sounded promising.  Though they were pretty delicious served warm, as soon as they cooled down a bit, they became really chewy. I thought to myself, as I often do...,"I bet I can make these better and cheaper at home....and give them a heck-of-a-lot more awesomeness in the flavour universe!"

A few months ago, I ordered this Wild Groves Blood Orange Olive Oil and instantly fell in love with the rich buttery flavour with remarkable orange notes. It was and is the perfect pairing for sweet pastries. Full disclosure, I loved it so much that I wrote an email to the owner of the company.  He generously sent me several more bottles of some of the finest olive oils on his website, including the Wild Groves Robust Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil (that recently won one of the most prestigious rewards in the country at the LA International EVOO Competition). It won Best in Show Northern Hemisphere in the domestics category! Woot! Way to go!

Anyway, I used the orange olive oil on my pretzel bites. It was a huge, sinful, blessed mistake. If something sinful can be blessed? Can it? Not sure.  I just know that the mistake is that they are freakishly addictive! Evil. Evil. Evil. Gooooooooood.

Enters...the Orange Cinnamon Roll Pretzel Bits of glory and honour. 

These little nuggets of love have all the flavour of an orange infused cinnamon roll without having to zest any oranges or make any cream cheese frosting. The dough is soft and slightly chewy, like a pretzel and made in the same way that most deli-style pretzels are made.  For an authentic pretzel flavour, I use an alkaline solution of baking soda and water. To save on the mess...I don't dip the dough into the solution. Instead, I lightly brush the pretzel ropes in the solution. To save time, instead of rolling the pretzel dough into a knot, they are cut into 1-inch bites. They're perfect for snacking, travelling, and enjoying warm or cool.

Orange Cinnamon Roll Pretzel Bites

1 1/2 cup Milk
1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast
1/4  cup Sugar
2 tsp salt, fine 
1/3 cup baking soda

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon or Chef Tess Wise Woman of the East Blend

Directions: Combine the milk, yeast, sugar, Olive oil, bread flour and salt. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic on a lightly floured surface, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. If the dough seems tight, cover and let rest until it relaxes. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into an 18-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a long snake on a parchment lined baking pan one inch apart. 
Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip a pastry brush in the baking soda solution and paint each pretzel. Allow to dry slightly and "paint" again.  Cut the ropes into 1/2 inch segments using a pizza cutter/roller. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. 

Combine the cinnamon sugar mixture in a small bowl. 

Lightly brush the pretzel bites with the Wild Groves Blood Orange Olive Oil

Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Roll the parchment paper up and turn over the pretzels into a pile. 

Drizzle with additional orange infused oil and cinnamon sugar if desired.

 Serve warm. Serve them anywhere anytime. You'll be freakin' happy! 

There you go.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Charlotte Moore said...

I have never cared for pretzels. However.. I tried one a soft pretzel with caramel dipping sauce at the mall one time. Oh my, that was wonderful.

These look mighty tasty too.

emmers said...

those look amazing!! yummo!

Jennifer said...

These look delicious. I can't wait to read more of your posts.