Oh the things that happen in January! Not only have I been overwhelmed by the urge to de-clutter and organize everything in our house, it seems I just can't pass up a good recipe these days. On Friday afternoon, I wrapped up work as quickly as possible in order to bake these little doughy gems. While one baking sheet was in the oven and I was forming the pretzels for the second, I received a call about the job I did earlier this week with the cast of Revolution. I had one eye on the pretzels in the oven, one eye on the sun that was setting that I need to light my shots, an ear to the phone and was taking notes in between forming pretzels, all while wearing a little floral apron. The good news is the pretzels tasted delicious and the job went off without a hitch! I can't wait to show you guys the cover when it comes out! In the meantime, consider giving these a try this weekend...
Almond Rosemary Brioche Pretzels
(Adapted from the Chocolate Chip Pretzel recipe in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook that my sister so thoughtfully gave me for Christmas!)
yield: eight 4-inch pretzels
⅓ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon rapid rise instant yeast
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
Make brioche: Whisk the milk and yeast together in a small dish until the yeast has dissolved. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs, almond extract, and the yeast mixture, and mix at a low speed until the dough comes together in a shaggy pile. Raise the speed to medium, and beat for 10 minutes; the long mixing time creates the soft, stretchy strands brioche is known for. Add the butter, a third at a time, mixing the dough between additions. Now switch to the dough hook, and knead at low speed until a silky- smooth dough forms, another 5 minutes.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm spot for 2 hours, until almost doubled. Alternatively, you can rest the dough in the fridge overnight (or up to 24 hours), bring back to room temperature, and let the rise complete before continuing to the next step.
Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Form pretzels: Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll each piece into an 18-inch-long rope about ½ inch thick. Curiously, I find these ropes easier to roll and stretch on an unfloured or very lightly oiled surface, but if you find yours sticking too much, lightly fl our your counter before continuing.
To form the pretzel, draw the ends of a rope together to form a circle. About 2 inches from both ends, twist the rope ends together to close the circle-- a full twist, so that the rope end that started on the right side finishes there. Fold the twist down into the circle, adhering the loose ends of the rope at five and seven o'clock on the base. Repeat to make eight pretzel twists. Transfer them to prepared baking sheets, brush them with glaze, and let them rest for about 15 minutes, during which they'll puff slightly again.
To finish: Brush pretzels with glaze one more time, then bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and lightly bronzed. Top with sea salt, kosher salt, or pretzel salt immediately after removing from the oven. Cool slightly on a rack before serving.
Photos by Jen Pinkston for The Effortless Chic