Cinnamon-Sugar Soft Pretzels — The New Girl

I used to be indifferent to football. These days, however, you can find me sporting an Eli Manning jersey and checking stats for my Fantasy team. Perhaps dating a diehard Giants fan and living with two guys has influenced my change of heart. But really, I think it's the food that won me over. There's an unspoken rule that all food eaten on Sunday should be of the comfort food variety, and I'm OK with that. An excuse to eat nachos, wings and brownies? Count me in.

For a recent Sunday night game, I made cinnamon-sugar soft pretzels. Chewy, with a slight crunch from the buttery sugar coating, they tasted just like the famous ones that tempt you at malls and airports — and they smelled equally amazing. Even after a quarter filled with fumbles and turnovers, my frustrated friends couldn't help but be giddy while my pretzels baked in the oven.

I used Food Network Magazine's recipe for Almost-Famous Soft Pretzels and made them sweet instead of savory. The whole process, including the steps for rolling and shaping, is surprisingly easy and fun. To make the sweet version, follow the recipe's directions until right before the pretzels go in the oven. Skip the cheese sauce and don't sprinkle coarse salt before baking. After dipping the hot pretzels in melted butter, dredge them with cinnamon-sugar (see note below). Eat immediately and do a little a victory dance. Unlike your favorite team, they're a guaranteed win.

Tips for the perfect cinnamon-sugar pretzel: 
  • My cinnamon-sugar ratio: 1 tablespoon cinnamon for every 1/4 cup sugar. Adjust according to your own cinnamon preference. You'll need a good amount for this recipe, so make a big batch. Pour into your dipping dish as needed and save the leftovers (it tastes amazing on buttered toast).
  • Before shaping each individual pretzel, "holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch" really does works.
  • For the final step, be sure to use shallow dishes (one for the butter, one for the cinnamon-sugar). This makes coating the pretzels quick and easy. Pie pans work great.
  • Don't be afraid of yeast. Follow the directions and you'll be fine.
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