Auntie Anne’s Copycat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites






Ingredients


1 (1/4 oz) pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 110 degrees
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 to 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 cups hot water
1/4 cup baking soda
Coating
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream



Directions
For the pretzel bites:
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine 1 cup warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp granulated sugar, whisk to dissolve and allow to rest 10 minutes. Fit mixer with whisk attachment and mix in remaining granulated sugar (1 Tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp), brown sugar, vegetable oil and salt. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in bread flour and mix until well blended. Switch attachment to the hook attachment and slowly add in all-purpose flour. Knead mixture on low speed until smooth an elastic, adding up to an additional 1/4 cup flour as needed (you want a soft dough and it may seem slightly sticky). Transfer to a lightly buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in size (I like to let mine rest in the oven with the light on), 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down and divide into 6 equal portions. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dust tops of dough lightly with flour and cover the ones you aren't currently rolling loosely with plastic wrap (to prevent drying). Roll each portion into a rope about 24 to 28-inches long (you can do this by rolling or the method of pulling on each side and flicking upward like a jump rope while slapping onto the countertop). Cut into bite size pieces (about 1 1/4-inches each). Pour hot water and baking soda into a mixing bowl and whisk to dissolve. Using a slotted spoon, dip several pieces of dough into the water mixture, then lift and allow excess water to drip off, then transfer to a Silpat lined baking sheet. 

Repeat process working in batches and using two baking sheets, and rewarm water in microwave until hot between batches. Bake in preheated oven 8 - 11 minutes until tops are nicely golden brown. Remove from oven and using a slotted spoon, dip into melted butter, toss to evenly coat then lift and shake off excess. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest 2 minutes (I felt this just gave them time to absorb the butter, rather than having it all end up clumping the cinnamon sugar mixture).
Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl, whisk together granulated sugar and cinnamon until well blended. Dip butter coated pretzels into cinnamon sugar and toss to evenly coat. Serve warm with cream cheese dipping sauce (these are best served warm so I'd recommend rewarming them once they've cooled. To do so microwave on a plate for 10 - 20 seconds).