Appears to be like might be deceiving, particularly in terms of baked items. I’m not speaking about these truffles that seem like suitcases and cheeseburgers or no matter; I’m speaking about bagels, pretzels, and different breads that individuals attempt to “hack” by making one thing that seems to be like a bagel or pretzel, however doesn’t style or really feel like a bagel or pretzel. These two-ingredient imposter bagels come to thoughts, and now I’m including this Auntie Anne’s TikTok “hack” to the listing.
This viral video is very irritating, as a result of its creator was heading in the right direction. She begins by chopping up store-bought cinnamon roll dough into bite-sized items, then dunks them in a room-temperature answer of baking soda and water for 15 seconds, earlier than brushing them with butter and air frying them. “She ought to have boiled them within the baking soda water,” I murmured to myself the primary time I watched the video, however I made a decision to attempt the hack her approach earlier than making any changes, as a result of it’s the well mannered factor to do, and it at all times helps to have a baseline.
I adopted the directions precisely, and whereas the candy treats that got here out of my air fryer tasted good (like cinnamon rolls), they didn’t style like pretzels. They have been under no circumstances chewy, and so they didn’t have that barely bitter, alkaline taste you often discover in a pretzel. They darkened fairly nicely, however dough brushed with butter tends to try this.
You gotta develop that gluten
Earlier than we get to the baking soda, let’s speak texture. Pretzels—even the comfortable ones—are chewier and more durable than pillowy cinnamon rolls. How do you make dough chewy? You encourage gluten formation. How do you try this? You knead the dough. There, we have already got one technique to make this hack just a little higher: Minimize the cinnamon rolls into items as proven within the video, however knead them a number of occasions earlier than rolling them into balls. They’ll be chewy, which is what a pretzel must be.
You need to boil the baking soda answer
I don’t know the place the creator of this hack obtained the concept that a fast dunk in a room-temperature alkaline answer can be sufficient to rework cinnamon roll dough right into a pretzel. It’s not, at the least not with that quantity of baking soda, or that period of time.
For a pretzel with a chewy crust, you must boil the dough within the answer, ideally for 30 seconds. (Lye—relatively than baking soda—is conventional, however you shouldn’t try and work with lye in your house kitchen.) Boiling makes the baking soda more practical, serving to it to penetrate and gelatinize the outer layer of the dough, to kind a chewy crust that browns like a dream. With out this step, your pretzel bites will likely be fluffy, with a barely chewy crust, and that’s not what I search for in a pretzel. This may also give your pretzel that vaguely salty, pleasant bitter chew. With out that chew, all you have got is pretzel-shaped bread.
How you can make cinnamon-sugar pretzel bites that truly style like pretzels
Fortunately, the changes wanted listed here are simple to make. Knead the dough, boil the dough, and—yet another factor—brush it with an egg wash as an alternative of butter, to ensure it comes out good and glossy. Save the butter for the tip; brush it on to the baked bites simply earlier than tossing them with the cinnamon-sugar.
Higher Auntie Anne’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
- 1 tube store-bought cinnamon rolls
- 1 quart of water
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Take away the rolls from their packaging and minimize every roll into 4 items. Set the icing from the tube apart. Knead each bit 4 or 5 occasions, folding the dough in on itself, then roll right into a ball. Put aside on a plate.
Add the water and baking soda to a medium sauce pan. Carry to a boil. Working in batches of 4, boil the dough balls for 30 seconds, then switch them to a wire rack set over a plate. (They are going to be comfortable and slippery. Such is the character of alkaline options.)
As soon as all of the balls have been boiled, set your air fryer to 330℉, beat your egg, and brush every ball with the egg wash. Bake the bites in your air fryer for 8 minutes, flipping as soon as, till darkish brown and glossy. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in small bowl. Brush the bites with melted butter, then add them to a paper bag with the cinnamon-sugar and shake to coat. Warmth the icing within the microwave for 10 seconds and serve on the facet for dipping.