This is an old one from my 1997 Gourmet Magazine, Christmas Cookie Edition. It is a delight. Unlike other cookies which you can just pull together and cut from a refrigerated log, or roll and cut out, you need some patience to make these as the pretzel shape is a bit of a challenge (well it was for me anyway). I never was very good with Playdoh, so it took me a while to get into the swing of rolling logs that would then – with a few twists, become a pretzel. My wife picked this one, I couldn’t possibly say no. But once it came out of the oven, it tasted great. Again, just bite sized pretzels – this time you have an excuse to make it small, you don’t want anyone staying up because they tried your cookie do you?!
It contains one of my favorite baking ingredients – Espresso coffee beans, ground up fine and added to the dough. I doubled up on the taste by decorating with dark chocolate. Could life be any better?! Oh yes, but that’s the next cookie! Try this one, get the kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews involved. They will probably be better at rolling out the dough than I am and you will have some great looking pretzels. I would stick with the dark or milk chocolate but that’s just because I’m a coffeechocoholic (admitting it is the first step). As always – enjoy!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. finely ground espresso beans
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 cup or 125 ml) unsalted butter – softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg white (did you keep any from cookie #4 like I suggested :))
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (not un-sweetened) – for decorating
Preheat the oven to 325F, Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, expresso beans, cocoa powder and salt
In another bowl, with a hand-held or stand mixer at low speed beat the butter until smooth – add the sugar, beat until creamy
Add the egg white, mix, scraping down the sides as necessary
Slowly add the flour until a dough forms – test by taking some in your hands and making a ball it should easily stick together, it has to be rolled into little logs so it needs to be a non-sticky dough that stays together
Take a small teaspoon or grab a small amount with your hands – you need to make a log about 6″ long – look at the thickness of the log, if too thin, start again by adding more dough. If too thick remove some and re-roll
Bring the two ends into the middle of the log, ensuring it makes a loop on either side, press where the dough joins
Pick it up gently and put it onto the parchment paper lined baking tray – I found flipping it over gave me a flat top pretzel, but smooth and not lumpy where it joined – you can either move it the same way or flip it – your choice
You should be done when you get between 50 and 60 pretzels depending on how big you make yours
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes (mine were done at 12) but rotate the trays half way through- remove from the oven and cool
In the mean time, chop the chocolate and melt in a double boiler – pour into a piping bag or squeeze bottle with a narrow tip
Pipe/squeeze zigzag lines onto the pretzel, dots, outlines etc – let the chocolate set for 30 minutes
Store between layers of parchment or wax paper in the fridge – the magazine says “up to 5 days”, I’ve kept mine in the fridge or freezer for longer – okay, the empty container sat in the fridge for longer!