September 17, 2008

Almond Pretzels

I found this recipe in my Joy of Cooking: All About Cookies cookbook and have been meaning to make these pretzels ever since I bought it. In the book they call this recipe mandelbrezeln, which from what I could find means a German almond cookie. I made both the traditional sugar coated pretzels and the ones dipped in chocolate for those chocoholics at work. They turned out well, the texture was lighter and flakier than a regular pretzel and the flavor had a nice and sweet almond taste. I would make them again and maybe coat them with white chocolate or caramel sauce for a different flavor. I've posted the recipe below so you can also enjoy these sweet dessert pretzels for yourself.

Almond Pretzels

1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 blanched almonds, coarsely ground
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (cold, cut into small pieces)
1 Large egg (lightly beaten)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
(For sugar pretzels):
1 Large egg, beaten
1/2 cup coarse sugar crystals
(For chocolate pretzels):
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or use semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate

1) In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, and salt then stir in ground almonds
2) Add butter, egg, and lemon zest to flour mixture and mix by hand until dough forms
3) Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap and store in fridge for 1 1/2 hours
4) Preheat oven to 375F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
5) Roll chilled dough into logs 1in. in diameter (keep other dough in fridge while doing this) and cut dough into 24 pieces
6) Roll each piece into 6in. long ropes and shape to form pretzels
7) Repeat steps 5 and 6 with other chilled dough and place pretzels on cookie sheet
8) Brush pretzels with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (If making chocolate pretzels omit this step)
9) Bake for 12-15min until golden and remove pretzels to racks to cool
10) Melt semi-sweet chocolate in microwave stirring often, then add bittersweet chocolate stirring until melted in (Only follow this step for chocolate coated pretzels)
11) Dip each pretzel into chocolate mixture face down, just coating the top of the pretzels and let stand on parchment paper until chocolate is set (Only follow this step for chocolate coated pretzels) then enjoy!

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