If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile – you know that every October we have our own little vegan Rock-toberfest around here. If you’re new – I guess I should explain that Rocktober-fest doesn’t have it’s own beer garden or musical guests like the big party they just had in LA recently (yet) but we do post a vegan-ied German food and talk beer for all you home-body Deutsch-aphiles* out there that want to have your own little pleider-hosen parties in the comfort of your own beer hall.
This recipe is not exactly a traditional German baked good but it is the perfect combination of a Rock-toberfest idea and Fall’s favorite flavor: Pumpkin Spice. Now I know some of you guys have overdosed on the pumpkin in the past few years. There’s been a pretty obvious backlash of late but I’m asking you to still give these little buddies a try. They’re great with some hot chocolate or stuffed in a lunchbox and they’ll make your house smell really good. As far as recipes go – these little pretzels are like the romantic lead in the romantic comedy that is everything the other romantic lead never knew they always wanted but didn’t notice because there is a whole internet out there of other pumpkin spice recipes that they got lost in… or something… I think I wandered away from this analogy somewhere but you know what I mean. These pretzels just need a nice dress and some convoluted plot line (perhaps a dubious dare or some lighthearted blackmail) for you to take them to prom… or something. That seems weird too.
Just trust me… they’re good! Let’s make some!
Pumpkin Pretzel Knots
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (may need more)
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
1-2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon orange peel, grated
Vegetable shortening to grease your bowl
A large pot full of water to boil your pretzels
1/4 cup baking soda
1-2 tablespoons fleur de mar salt and 2-3 tablespoons of melted margarine or 1 batch Apple Glaze for topping
Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in a bowl until the yeast and sugar has fully dissolved. You may need to stir with a spoon a few times to make sure that the sugar doesn’t settle at the bottom.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 1/3 cups of your flour and your pumpkin spice until blended. Once your yeast and sugar are dissolved pour it into your flour and add 1 tablespoon of your orange juice. Use an electric hand held mixer with bread hooks to combine them into a soft and sticky flour. If your dough is still powdery or too firm add the other tablespoon of orange juice and mix until it’s soft. Then mix in your pumpkin puree and orange peel and mix again with your hand held mixer with the bread hooks. You should have a soft dough that can hold it’s shape if it’s rolled into a small cigar. If it’s too soft add more flour a tablespoon at a time if it’s too firm add more warm water a tablespoon at a time. Make sure your water is warm so it doesn’t kill your yeast.
Flour a big space to very gently kneed your dough on for about 2-3 minutes. Place your ball of dough into a large greased mixing bowl and loosely cover with tea towel. Put in a very warm spot to rise for an hour to hour and half. You want the dough to double in size.
Bring a large pot full of water to a rolling boil. Very carefully add your baking soda a tablespoon at a time. It’s going to bubble a lot obviously so keep that in mind when filling your pot and while your pouring in your baking soda.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Heat your oven to 425.
Put a little flour on your hands to prevent any sticking. Using your new dough-proof hands to take about 1-3 handfuls of dough and roll them into cigars that you can gently tie into knots and one at a time drop them into your boiling water. Let them boil for no more than 30 seconds. Then use a slotted spoon to move your knots to a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb any extra water. You’re going to beed to replace that paper towel a lot to keep absorbing the water form the pretzels. Then using the slotted spoon move your knots to your lined cookie sheet. Once your sheet is full, put it in the oven and bake your pretzels for about 10-20 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when they’re a golden brown. You’ll probably have 2 sheets of knots but it depends on how much your dough rose and how big you made your knots. You can always choose one knot to be the sacrificial nom and break it open to check to make sure the center is done if you really want to make sure they’re ready to come out of the oven. Larger knots take longer. Once they’re brown and firm take them out of the oven and let them cool to room temperature before adding any the toppings.
While your knots are baking decide if you want your knots to have a sweet glazed or if you want a more savory (but still a little sweet) knot. If you want savory, melt your margarine and once your knots are cool, brush them with a little margarine and sprinkle a few pinches of fleur de mar salt. If you want to go sweet, make a batch of Apple Glaze (link above) and put your knots on a cooling rack over some foil. Drizzle some glaze over the top and let them sit until the glaze sets.
* That’s totally a term right?