Auntie Anne's Caramel Apple Soft Pretzels

Auntie Anne's Recipe

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tsp. dry active yeast (1 packet)
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups diced apple
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons nutmeg
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
1 can dulce de Leche
course sea salt

Place the water, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. Let it foam for 5-10 minutes begins. Using the dough hook, mix in 24 oz. flour and the melted butter on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 5-6 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl, spray the bowl with nonstick spray, then place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Meanwhile, peel and chop the apples into small chunks, toss the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 tablespoons flour. After the dough has doubled, pour the apples into the dough and knead to combine.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray, Set aside. Bring the water and the baking soda to a boil in large sauce pot.
In the meantime, dump the dough out onto a slightly floured work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces (or 16 pieces for mini pretzels.)Spray a work surface with nonstick spray. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope (12-inch for minis.) The apples will pop out a little, but keep rolling and you will reincorporate them.

Make a U-shape with the rope. Take the ends and cross them over each other twice, and press onto the bottom of the U to form the pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined sheets. Put the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove from the water using 1-2 large spatulas. Return to the cookie sheet and brush each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture.

Bake until dark golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for at least 15 minutes before drizzling with caramel and sprinkling with salt.

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