Pumpkin Molasses Soft Pretzel Bites

I think that one of the reasons that I was so excited to make the cranberry mustard that I shared yesterday was that I couldn’t stop thinking of things to dip in it. Soft pretzel bites were at the top of my list.

Originally, I planned to make my usual whole wheat soft pretzels. But, as I started thinking about the tart flavor of the cranberry mustard, I started to crave a slightly sweet pretzel to go with it. I had a nice batch of homemade pumpkin puree hanging out in my fridge just begging to be used, so I decided to make some pumpkin pretzels.

The pretzels turned out pretty well… I think the recipe is a keeper. I took them to a get together with some friends, and everyone seemed to enjoy snacking on them. Instead of just dipping the pretzels in the mustard (which would be tasty), I decided to make a sweet and creamy mustard dip with the cranberry mustard. If you’re looking for a fun snack for an upcoming Halloween party, I’d definitely recommend this one!

Pumpkin Molasses Soft Pretzels with Cranberry Mustard Dip
(Serves 10 – 12)

For the Pretzel Dough:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour

To Boil the Pretzels:

  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda

To Finish the Pretzels:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

Cranberry Mustard Dip:

To prepare the pretzel dough, whisk together the pumpkin puree, water, molasses, and softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast, bread flour, and salt. Stir vigorously to combine and develop the gluten in the dough.

Gradually stir in the white whole wheat flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Knead the dough by hand until smooth (for about 5-6 minutes), adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.  Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl.  Cover and let rise for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the dough has almost doubled in size. The dough is ripe when the imprint of two fingers stuck into the dough remains.

As the dough rises, line a baking sheet with a silicon liner or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Punch down the dough and shape it into a ball. Divide the dough into eight equally sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope and use a knife or a dough scraper to cut 1 inch pieces from the dough. Transfer the pieces of dough to the prepared baking sheet.

To boil the pretzels, bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat to medium and add the baking soda. The water should still be boiling. Add the pretzel bites, about 8 at a time and boil them for about 45 seconds.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the pretzel bites from the boiling water and return them to the baking sheet in a single layer.

To finish the pretzels, whisk together the egg and tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash onto the boiled pretzels. Sprinkle the pretzel bites with the coarse sea salt (use as much or as little as you like). Bake the pretzels for about 10 – 12 minutes, until the pretzel bites are golden brown. Cool the pretzel bites for about 10 minutes on the pan before serving.

While the pretzels cool, whisk together the cranberry mustard, mayonnaise, and maple syrup to make the dipping sauce. Adjust the sweetness by adding a bit more maple syrup, if necessary.

16 Responses to Pumpkin Molasses Soft Pretzel Bites

  1. Oh my goodness! These are definitely getting made this weekend. Love the twist on a traditional pretzel. Not a mustard fan, but I’m thinking a cream cheese-type of dip would work great. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. I love pretzel bites. Yours look especially good because of the molasses. I think molasses is on the fast track to becoming a modern day super food. Good for you Jen. I think I’ll be making these soon.

  3. The combination of the pumpkin with the molasses would make these delicious little bites for sure. Love your cranberry mustard dip too!

  4. My friend and I are currently working on the cranberry mustard for this recipe and are very excited to start making the pretzels! (We were assigned appetizers for Thanksgiving, and were so happy to find this recipe). But, we were wondering what would happen if these were baked the night before? Or if perhaps they were boiled the night before, covered, and then baked the next day? We are nervous they might get hard or tough?
    Any insight would be wonderful!
    Thanks :)

    • Hi, Haley –

      They are definitely best baked right before eating them. My best advice, though, would be to prepare the dough the night before and then refrigerate it. Then, boil and bake the next day. Otherwise, I’d probably prepare them completely the night before and then heat them slightly in a 200F oven right before serving. I’m not sure about boiling first and baking the next day… I’m afraid they won’t cook correctly.

      Hope that helps… And, hope you enjoy the pretzels!