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Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce

Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce
I recently went on a scavenger hunt with my main objective being to find something sparkly. That's right, I said SPARKLY! Why, you ask? It's all due to a not-so-secret secret society called blogger C.L.U.E.. I was given a blog to rummage around in and get familiar with, and since I already "know" the brains behind this blog, I a wee bit worried about finding something sparkly. When I think Debra, and her blog, Eliot's Eats, I think down to earth...I think from the earth...I think seasonal produce.

But, even though I couldn't recall ever seeing a bubble, a shimmering coating of sugar, or a colorful smattering of sprinkles adorning her food, I was on a mission to dig up some sparkle. I was moments away from turning her Maldivian Scrub into a sugar scrub...adding my own sparkle, if you will. But I decided that was changing things up a little too much (our goal is to stay fairly true to the original recipe). I worried that adding sugar and oil (and removing rice flour) may be too much fiddling. But I still plan on making it. This frigid, dry weather has my skin begging for a little resort getaway (at home).

So, I set forth once more. I didn't look far before I the answer was staring me in the face—pretzel sticks gleaming with the twinkle of sea salt. Done. Finito. Acabado.

I should start by saying that my whole household loves pretzels. Homemade soft pretzels may be one of the things most requested by my kids. Pretzel dogs, pretzel pockets, pretzel bites...the list goes on. And on. And on. Debra made two sauces to go with hers, but I chose to only make one of those, a spicy mustard sauce (which was so easy, but so flippin' delicious).
Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce
I made them almost exactly like she did, except that I transferred the dough to the fridge after the first rise. It was getting late, and it was a busy night, so in it went. This dough rose like the dickens. I had to deflate three more times while it was in the fridge! But it was amazingly soft and pillowy (my favorite characteristics in a pretzel dough. Really.), and the extra fermenting time gave it a pleasant little tang, reminiscent of sourdough.

Also, Debra rolled her strips into buns (hotdog-style), and I left mine as they were once I cut them. Delicious, but not as pretty as I'd hoped for with that move. Next time...and there will be a next time...I will form them into little torpedos after dividing into strips, too.

Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce
These soft pretzel sticks are the perfect vehicle for a spicy mustard sauce, and both are perfect for game day (or any day) snacking.
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Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Keywords: bake bread snack condiment vegetarian soy-free dairy-free

Ingredients (24 pretzel sticks)
    for the mustard sauce:
    • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
    • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, ground
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed, ground
    for the dough:
    • 2 cups lukewarm water
    • 1/2 cup (86 grams) brown sugar
    • 4-1/2 teaspoons (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 5-3/4 cups (748 grams) all-purpose flour, divided + plus more for kneading
    to finish:
    • 3/4 cup baking soda
    • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
    • coarse salt
    making the mustard sauce (try to do this at least an hour in advance of eating the pretzels):
    Whisk everything together until smooth. Transfer to a small jar or bowl; cover and refrigerate.

    making the soft pretzel sticks:
    In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve, then stir in the oil and half of the flour. Mix with a dough whisk or the dough hook attachment if using a mixer. Mix in the remaining flour; the dough will be sticky. Continue to knead until dough is soft and pillowy, but still slightly tacky.

    Transfer the dough to an large, oiled bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and let stand at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. (You could make the dough itself in a bread machine up until this point.)

    Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper, and then oil the paper. Line a separate tray (or similar) with a few layers of paper towels; set aside.

    Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Press it out into a large rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to cut it into 24 equal pieces. You could leave them like this for long, flat "sticks", or you can roll each one into a cylinder (similar to a hotdog bun). Let stand uncovered until puffed, about 25 minutes.
    soft pretzel sticks - dough
    In a large, deep pot, stir the baking soda into 2 quarts of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat as needed to keep the water at a simmer. Using 2 slotted spoons or metal spatulas (like a fish spatula), carefully transfer 6 pretzel sticks at a time to the simmering water; simmer for 30 seconds, turning once.

    Transfer the pretzel sticks to the paper towel-lined tray to drain, then arrange them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart.

    Brush the pretzel sticks with the egg wash and sprinkle with a good smattering of sparkling sea salt. Slide into preheated oven and bake until deeply browned, about 12-14 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with spicy mustard sauce.

    • After the initial rise, you can deflate the dough and put it back into the oiled bowl. Cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours, deflating dough as needed (this is a very active dough). Bring back to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. This adds a bit of "sour" flavor to the finished pretzels—similar to sourdough pretzels.
    -adapted slightly from Eliot's Eats
    Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce
    I had a blast rummaging around in Debra's blog this month and finding something sparkly! I hope you'll visit her when you  have a few minutes (okay, longer)!
    The blogger C.L.U.E (Cook, Learn, Undertake, Eat) Society meets every month in a game of mystery, intrigue, and fun! We are given a theme and secretly assigned another member's blog; our mission is to hunt through our assigned blog to find a recipe that fits the theme through our eyes. We then head into the kitchen and recreate the recipe and post together on reveal day!

    I'm a lifelong mystery-lover, my favorite board game is CLUE, and I'm a believer than there's no better way to get to know somebody than through food—is there any doubt that I enjoy this event!?

    Today is reveal day, and this month's theme is: SPARKLY. Join me in reading about the food hunted down this month in the #bloggerCLUE member's kitchens!