Does anyone not love soft pretzels? For me, if nostalgia had a flavor, it would be soft pretzel. Soft pretzels remind me of baseball games and roller rinks and college road trips and summer jobs (the McDonalds up in Lake Arrowhead where I spent three of my summers during college sold the things).
Lately it seems, the soft pretzel has appeared in all sorts of incarnations from hotdog and hamburger buns to dinner rolls. My favorite happens to be these little marble-sized pretzel nuggets sold at our local farmer’s market. At nearly six dollars a bag I reasoned I could probably figure out how to make my own. I did. And so was born the scooby snack.
I mean really, it makes sense that scooby snacks are actually soft pretzel nuggets. After all, would you go down a creepy mine shaft, take on a ghostly globe trotter or–ruh-roh–be willing to spend your life cruising along in a psychadellic van with a (very) poor man’s James Franco as your best friend for anything less?
I didn’t think so.
This recipe is actually an adaptation of the one and only pretzel roll recipe from the January 1994 edition of Bon Apetit Magazine. I’ve use it to make all sorts of pretzel-like creations from rolls to actual soft pretzels to the scooby snack.
This recipe starts with the worker bee of baking: yeast.
Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse, pulse, pulse!
Next slowly add in the hot water and knead until you’ve got dough (it takes my processor three-to-four minutes). After all that hard work, it’s time for the dough to rest up. Into a greased bowl it goes for about half and hour.
Be sure to cover it in plastic wrap and then a towel in a nice warm place. Nighty night.
Come back 30 minutes later and my, how your dough ball has grown.
Punch this baby down and turn out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, form a snake with the dough and cut into six to ten pieces depending on how big or small your like your scooby snacks. Roll each little nugget into a ball. Repeat with remaining dough. Now, even though you are the one who did all the hard work, your dough needs another nap. Twenty minutes or so. Cover with a towel.
While your nuggets are napping, it’s time to do some magic. You know how soft pretzels have that uber tasty, chewy skin? This is how they get it. Bring a stock pot of water to boil (see below for specifics).
Once it is boiling you are going to add baking soda and sugar.
Whaaaat? You feel like you are back at your seventh grade science fair and and you suddenly have an urge to make volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar? Well, this kind of like that. As soon as you add the soda and sugar, you get froth. Yes, the sea is angry my friends. And hungry for some pretzel nuggets.
Now that your pretzel nuggets have napped, it is time to give them a bath. Yes, I too can hear the natives chanting in the background asking for a dough ball sacrifice. Working in batches, boil the nuggets on each side for about 30 seconds. I use a bamboo kabob skewer to quickly poke and turn the little nuggets.
After their minute is up, remove from the boiling water and set aside on a baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.
Repeat until you’ve boiled all the balls. Then, brush with egg wash and sprinkle on a little coarse salt if you are into that sort of thing. Finally, into the oven they go for 15 minutes or until they reach your desired level of golden brownness.
And now it’s time to call in Scooby and ask him to do just about anything you want. Because he will. If his reward is a warm, golden, soft and chewy scooby snack. Alternately, you could take them out to the Mystery Machine where that strange smoky haze coming out through the vents is a sure sign the gang could use some snacks.
Here is the thing. They really don’t save well. So, you and Scooby should probably eat them immediately.
Adapted from the Pretzel Roll recipe
Bon Appetit Magazine, January 1994
- 2 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1 envelope quick-rising yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about) hot water (125°F to 130°F)
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg white, beaten to blend (glaze)
- Coarse salt
- Combine bread flour, 1 envelope yeast, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar in a food processor and blend. With machine running, gradually pour hot water through feed tube, adding enough water to form smooth elastic dough. Process 3 minutes to knead. Grease medium bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.
- Flour baking sheet. Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece and cut into 6-10 smaller pieces depending on desired size. Form each dough piece into a ball. Place the dough balls on prepared sheet. Cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease another baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Bring 8 cups water to boil in large saucepan (I use a stock pot and so double all ingredients in this part of the recipe). Add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (water will foam up). Working in batches, carefully add dough balls and let boil for 30 seconds per side (I use a kabob skewer to quickly turn the balls) Using a slotted spoon or mesh scoop, transfer rolls to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining rolls.
- Brush rolls with egg white glaze. Sprinkle rolls with coarse salt. Bake rolls until brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Serve scooby snacks warm or room temperature.