It’s autumn, baby.
I brought these pretzel bites to a party and I lost track of the number of times that people said “oh my god” when they took a bite. I know they don’t look the prettiest, partly because I didn’t get the chance to photograph them too freshly out of the oven. So you’ll just have to trust me.
I got this recipe from the Oh, Ladycakes vault and her photography is stunning. But we did add one thing to the recipe that she doesn’t include, and one that I think really makes these a true PRETZEL. Now we have that gorgeous orange color, but with a crispy, shiny brown crust on the exterior. I still can’t believe it’s real, but I finally came up with a vegan egg wash substitute that really, really works. And it’s SO easy.
They don’t necessarily need a dipping sauce. They’re quite delicious and savory on their own, with just a mild nuttiness from the pumpkin. But this smoky maple mustard just puts it over the top. The idea actually came from an omni friend when I was brainstorming dipping sauce ideas out loud. “Why not just make a maple mustard, like honey mustard but autumn themed?”, he said. And to that I said, friggin’ vegan bingo!
One taste of the stuff and we were all on board.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a pro baker, especially not with the yeasty things. Mr. NINV is a bread-a-holic and he happily helped me out by doing the operating of the standing mixer and other such exotic kitchen tasks that I eschew. He gets triple brownie points, as this is the third time we’ve made these.
Are they healthy? Nah, I can’t go that far with my claims since it’s full o’ white flour. But my friend’s rooftop birthday party only happens once a year. And because of the pumpkin taking place of what would typically be fat, well, they’re a lot better than the classic pretzel bites that could have stood in their place. Plus, dipped in the maple mustard, they’re just so damn… autumnal.
Betcha can’t eat just one 🙂
Pumpkin Pretzel Bites w/ Smoky Maple Mustard
Makes a lot of pretzel bites, feel free to halve the recipe, but why would you want to?!
Dough recipe and instructions: follow identically from Oh, Ladycakes, and see my notes below, before baking or adding coarse salt
Vegan egg wash substitute ingredients (makes a bit extra, usually)
3 tb plain, unsweetened almond milk
2 tb canola oil
Smoky maple mustard ingredients
1/2 cup prepared spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Follow the instructions and ingredients from the recipe above, which are expertly crafted. If you’ve never made pretzels, don’t be intimidated, it’s not hard. We shaped it into the log as described in the recipe, then used kitchen scissors to trim into pieces that were about 1 inch long. This recipe is especially good for knowing how long to apply the baking soda bath because the pretzel pieces will turn a darker orange and float to the top; use a slotted spoon to gather the pieces and drop them straight onto the parchment paper – the extra drips of water aren’t a big deal. Nor is it a big deal if you leave them floating a bit too long in the baking soda bath.
Before baking, you need to prepare the vegan egg wash substitute. Do not do this ahead of time; do it right before applying it to the pretzels. Combine the milk and oil in a small both and whisk vigorously with a fork. It will turn frothy and become thicker. Once emulsified, act quickly, using a pastry brush (or your fingers, with slightly more hassle) to apply a light coating of the mixture to all of the pretzel pieces. After applying this coating, THEN add the coarse sea salt. Regular salt will work, but it won’t give that same salty crunch. Just so you know.
We baked the pretzel pieces at 425 (as opposed to 450 in the original recipe) for 10-12 minutes, until glossy and with a crisp exterior. Also, we used about 3 parts white flour to 1 part wheat flour, instead of the unbleached flour called for in the original recipe, but I think we’re splitting hairs here.
Let them cool for at least 5 minutes, or your mouth will die. While that’s happening, whip up the maple mustard, which you will probably want to lick clean from the bowl. But if you manage not to drink all of it down before the pretzels are cool enough to eat, then they make an absolutely wonderful pairing.
The cooked pretzels, once cooled, can be stored in Tupperware at room temperature and be just as good for another 24 hours. After that, they will still be tasty but the texture won’t be as good. One thing that I do not recommend is pre-making the dough. It comes out best, with a bigger margin for error, if you make the dough right before applying the baking soda wash and then baking. We learned this lesson the hard way.