Major health concerns aside, I’m fairly certain I would be happy to live on the following foods and beverages alone: Pretzels, ice cream and coffee. The pretzels take care of the salty cravings, while the ice cream takes care of the sweet. And I really don’t think I could make it long without coffee. Actually, YOU don’t want to see me make it long without coffee. It’s just not good for anyone.
These honey wheat pretzel twists, however, are not only good for everyone but they are both salty AND sweet. And they take only 40 minutes to make. So actually, I probably could just live on these pretzels alone.
I’m not sure they even make these anymore, but does anyone remember/still eat those honey wheat braided pretzels? They were hard pretzels shaped like small twists, and I kid you not when I say I ate them EVERY SINGLE DAY in college. I loved them. I still do, though I haven’t eaten them in forever (because college was, like, a long time ago now, you guys).
Those little bites of pretzel heaven were the inspiration for this recipe, except that I also was really craving soft pretzels. So I combined the two ideas into one, and the results were spectacular: soft, chewy, sweet from the honey, salty from the salt topping, with a little bit of virtue from the whole wheat flour, all done in less than an hour. I practically devoured one straight from the oven ← don’t really recommend lest you want to burn the roof of your mouth. Maybe wait like two minutes.
A few notes: Don’t try to swap all of the all-purpose flour for more whole wheat flour. The ratio of all-purpose to whole wheat in this recipe is just about the maximum amount of whole wheat flour you can add before the dough will become tough and dry. It also does take a bit of patience and time to roll out the dough into ropes, and if the dough seems to fight you as you try to roll it out, let it sit for a few minutes so the gluten can relax, then try again. Also, your twists don’t need to be perfect (as you can see, mine are a little “rustic”) but when you shape them, be sure to pinch the seams at the edges of each twist to help them maintain their shape as best as possible. But if they don’t, they will still taste amazing, so don’t worry about it too much.
Finally, keep these on hand as a snack or serve them up as a healthier game day appetizer, with extra honey (or honey mustard, or nut butter!) for dipping. You’ll be surprised how quickly they disappear (or maybe you won’t, once you give them a try yourself).
But seriously: these, plus coffee? I’m set.
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1½ cups warm water (about 110 to 115 degrees F)
- 2½ cups whole wheat flour
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)
- Pretzel salt or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, stir yeast, honey and warm water until combined. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes until mixture is foamy.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together flours and salt until combined. Add to yeast mixture (once foamy) along with oil. Stir, either with a wooden spoon or paddle attachment of stand mixer, just until a dough forms.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead dough by hand 5 minutes until smooth and pliable, OR, swap paddle attachment for dough hook attachment on stand mixer and knead dough on low speed 3 minutes until smooth and pliable.
- Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a long rope about 1 inch thick. Divide each rope into 8 pieces.
- Twist each piece of dough a few times, pinching edges to seal. Space twists 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Brush each twist generously with egg wash, then sprinkle with pretzel salt.
- Bake 20 minutes until pretzels are golden brown and baked through.