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Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding | #ProgressiveEats

Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding
Welcome to this month's edition of Progressive Eats, which I am very happy to be hosting this month! Since today just so happens to be National Pretzel Day, I invited everybody to share a recipe featuring pretzels as an ingredient, a recipe for pretzels (or using pretzel dough), or a condiment that went perfectly with pretzels—and boy did they deliver!

My love for pretzels has never been a secret, I've shared everything from regular homemade soft pretzels and pretzel sticks to homemade pretzel dogs to cinnamon-sugar pretzels, pretzel bites to pretzel pockets, and even pretzel crackers and pretzel croissants! Initially I planned on trying my hand at homemade pretzel rods to share today, but time got away from me and I had to push that endeavor back...but only temporarily.

Instead I made a decadent dish featuring one of my favorite kinds of soft pretzels to pick up any time I cross paths with an Auntie Anne's (usually at the mall or at the airport)—sweet almond soft pretzels.
Crunchy Almond Pretzels and Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding
These pretzels are torn up and dried out, then soaked in a custard along with some extra almondy goodness in the form of Amaretto, pure almond extract, and smoked almonds for a bit of unexpected fun.

This is best served the same day that you make it, still warm with powdered sugar dusting the whole thing and a healthy drizzle of salted caramel sauce. Are you as excited as I am to see what the rest of the Progressive Eats bloggers made in honor of National Pretzel Day? Be sure to scroll down below the recipe to find out!

Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding
Sweet almond soft pretzels, amaretto, and smoked almonds soaked and baked in custard to make a rich dessert.
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Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes + overnight (unattended)
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert almonds eggs pudding

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 3 sweet almond soft pretzels (or similar) - see notes
  • 4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto (almond liqueur)
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole smoked almonds, roughly chopped
to serve (optional):
  • powdered sugar
  • salted caramel sauce
12+ hours before making bread pudding:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Rip the pretzels into 1-inch pieces and scatter them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until completely dry, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely (you can turn off the oven at this point).

Combine whole eggs and yolks in a large bowl and beat lightly. Add milk, sugar, amaretto, both extracts, and salt and whisk until everything is combined. Add the cooled pretzels and stir well. Press a sheet of plastic wrap right on top of the custard mixture and refrigerate overnight (about 12 hours).
pretzel bread pudding read for oven
making the bread pudding:
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Put a kettle or pot of water on to boil. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.

Carefully pour the entire mixture into the prepared dish. Set dish inside a larger pan with deep sides (mine fit inside a 9 x 13 pan) and carefully pour boiling water around it, so that the water comes up at least halfway, taking care not to get any water inside the baking dish.

Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the custard jiggles loosely when the side of the pan is tapped. Carefully lift the pan of bread pudding out of the water bath and set on a wire rack too cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, scoop out a big helping and put it on a plate. It's delicious as-is, but you can dust it with powdered sugar and drizzle it with salted caramel for an even more decadent experience.

I used Sweet Almond Soft Pretzels from Auntie Anne's. If you want to make a copycat version or just use plain soft pretzels, this will be just as good. The weight of the pretzels I used was just about 13 ounces total, so feel free to substitute an equal weight of a another type of soft pretzel.

I used smoked almonds because I thought they'd add another delicious layer of flavor, but they didn't shine through as much as I'd hoped. It may have just been the brand that I had. Feel free to substitute whole raw or roasted almonds in their place.

-inspired by and adapted from a pretzel bread pudding recipe in Pretzel Making at Home by Andrea Slonecker
Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding
Progressive Eats Pretzel Party
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month we're having a Pretzel Party hosted by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez, who blogs at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. Since today is National Pretzel Day, we thought it was the perfect chance to feature all sorts of fabulous homemade pretzel recipes, recipes that feature pretzels (both soft and hard), and pretzels dips/condiments. We have a varied and delicious menu for today that we hope you'll enjoy!

Pretzel Party!

Pretzels as an Ingredient
Pretzels from Scratch

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

More Pretzel Love!