Are you ready for the 4th of July?! (Raises hand high!) I’ll be spending it with my mom’s side of the family as we are having a family reunion over the weekend that will extend to the 4th. We haven’t done this in years, and I am super excited to be spending the holiday with family. And I like fireworks as much as the next gal, but pretty much any holiday for me is all about the food. Ha!
In this post we are working with DOVE Chocolate. They have a special limited edition line of red, white and blue PROMISES out that are 4th of July themed—cute, right? They come in milk and dark chocolate (dark chocolate is only available at Target!), and I used BOTH in these dessert soft pretzels. I love the combination of chocolate and sea salt, and if you do too, then I think you’re going to love these. 🙂 The pretzels themselves are lightly sweetened, but the real dessert comes from dipping or drizzling them in chocolate! So don’t skip that step unless you are looking for more traditional soft pretzels.
Something about soft pretzels conjures up visions of state fairs for me. They feel like they’re in the same family as funnel cake I guess. So this feels very summertime to me, but of course these could be enjoyed whenever. If you do make these for July 4th, keep in mind that if it is hot where you live (it’s extremely humid where I’m from right now), then you’ll want to keep an eye on the chocolate as it has a tendency to melt. A little melted chocolate on fingertips is part of the fun if you ask me, but you don’t want them to get too beyond that point. So just keep them covered and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve, and you’ll be good to go.
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) active dry yeast
1 cup bread flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
For the soda bath:
3-5 cups water
3-5 tablespoons baking soda
For the toppings:
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 package (8.87 oz) Red, White and Blue DOVE Chocolate PROMISES
2-3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
Combine the warm water and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water and allow that to sit and foam up for 5-6 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt. Pour the yeast water into the bowl. Stir until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. This flour is probably more water-based than you might be used to (if you bake bread often), so feel free to really flour your hands or the surface as you work. Once done kneading, place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1 hour (or until doubled in size).
Fill a large pot with 3-5 cups water and 3-5 tablespoons baking soda. How much water/baking soda you need just depends on the size pot you use. You want enough so that the pretzel dough can float and move around a little, so use what you need. Stir to dissolve. Heat the water to a boil. While the water heats up, on a floured surface, divide the dough into small balls (each should be 2-2 1/4 oz.), and then roll into long ropes and shape like pretzels.
Place each pretzel in the boiling water for 30 seconds, flipping halfway through cooking. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water, draining away as much water as you can. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Bake at 375°F for 18-20 minutes. The pretzels should look golden brown but still feel slightly springy to the touch.
Allow the pretzels to cool while you prepare the chocolate. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. I used my microwave. I unwrapped the chocolates (reading a few of the PROMISE messages inside—some are 4th of July themed too!) and combined in a microwave safe boil with a tablespoon of butter. I melted on high for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until fully melted (about 1 minute).
Then you can dip or drizzle the chocolate on and sprinkle on some more sea salt. Repeat the chocolate melted process if you plan to use two kinds of chocolate like I did. Allow the chocolate to set (harden) before serving. An easy way to speed up this process is to pop them in the refrigerator.
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman.