Caramel Apple Crisp Pretzel Braid

Have you ever had an Auntie Anne’s pretzel fresh out of the oven? Whether it be cinnamon sugar, pepperoni & cheese, or any other selection of their many pretzel varieties, then you must know the exhilaration one feels when that first warm bite hits your palate. That salty sweet warm buttery goodness sliding down your throat, and that dancing-all-the-way-into your-belly feeling can not be contained.  I don’t know of anyone who can pass up an Auntie Anne’s kiosk and literally keep on walking. Once that sweet cinnamon sugar aroma wafts past the nose hundreds of feet before you even approach, it’s all one can do not to throw down your shopping packages and run for pretzel heaven. Yeah, it’s that good!

Now that I have your mouth watering for an Auntie Anne’s hot pretzel, what if I told you you can get that same pretzel euphoria (or darn near as close as it can come to the real thing) in the comfort of your own kitchen?

My quest began for a copycat recipe when my niece and I were shopping at a local mall a few weeks ago. We stopped to treat ourselves to a warm chewy Auntie Anne’s pretzel. My niece was being indecisive between the pepperoni & cheese pretzel and the cinnamon sugar sticks.  In my bid to help her out, I offered to get the pepperoni & cheese since I have never tried one before, and she could get the cinnamon sugar sticks and we would share. Everyone wins sorta thing.

Oh emmm geee! I dipped my first chewy piece I had torn off into the marinara sauce and think I literally almost hit the ceiling with a pretzel high that had me hooked for life. As we were sitting there devouring enjoying our pretzels, I looked at my niece and said, “You know what would be good?” She just gave me the same quizzical look everyone gives me when I have a new foodie recipe idea proverbial lightbulb turning on over my head, and hesitantly said “What?”

To which I emphatically answered, “A pretzel pizza dough crust!” I mean sure, I’m not the only one to ever think of this. I have just never tried it before. If pepperoni & a little parmesan cheese can taste good on a pretzel, what would an entire pizza with the works taste like on a pretzel dough?  I couldn’t get home fast enough to google some copycat recipes and before you could say Pinterest, I already had 3 pinned.

This past Friday night I returned home from work exhausted and all without a dinner plan.  I didn’t feel like going out to dinner or going to the market, so I inventoried what I had in the fridge. Pizza it is.  I usually make my own pizza dough since it’s so simple anyway, but this time, I was going to try Yammie’s Noshery Auntie Anne’s copycat recipe and make a pretzel pizza dough.  I made a few adjustments to the recipe, but not by much.

It was fabulous and I will definitely be making this often, seeing as Friday nights around here are usually pizza night.

The recipe gave me enough dough for two pizzas. My b/f suggested I kick it up a level and make an apple pretzel bread. My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. Only I one upped his behind and decided I would make my caramel apple crisp in a pretzel braid. That’s what we do here. One up each other. Dough braids are all the rave these days. At least on Pinterest.

So without making you wait any further here is the list of Ingredients and directions.

Auntie Anne’s Copycat Pretzel Dough:

2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
8 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 1/2- 5 cups flour
2 teaspoons fine salt

1/4 cup baking soda
1 cup warm water
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions: Warm your milk to 110 degrees fahrenheit in a glass measuring cup. Place two tablespoons of the brown sugar and stir. Empty in both packets of active dry yeast and let rest for 5-10 minutes on the counter.

While yeast is activating measure out your flour in a separate bowl.  In stand mixer add 6 tablespoons of brown sugar, 4 tbsp softened butter, 1 cup flour and 2 tsp kosher salt to milk mixture and using the whisk attachment, stir until blended. Change over to dough hook, add remaining 3 1/2 cups flour to kneaded mixture on medium low speed until elastic. Mix in up to an additional 1/2 cup flour, as needed. Mix at least 5 minutes on low speed or until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Place in a bowl lightly, brush top with some melted butter and cover with a towel, and allow dough to rise on warm stove until doubled in size, about 1 hour. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees for your apple crisp topping that is going to go on top of your buttery pretzel braid.

Apple Crisp Topping Ingredients

  • 6 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
  •  2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup finely chopped cinnamon pecan or vanilla almond granola
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Salted cold butter sliced

Mix together all the dry ingredients and add cold butter cut into small pieces and mix with clean hands or a fork, until well blended. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place topping flat on pan and press down flat.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown (not burnt.) Take out of oven and let cool.

After it’s cooled break up into tiny pieces. I crumbled it as I put it into a ziploc bag and then ran my rolling pin over it to get smaller pieces, or you can use a blender to chop it up finely. You just want it fine enough to stick to the melted butter on the pretzel braid.

Cinnamon Apple Mixture:

  • 1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored, and cubed into small pieces
  • 1 Fugi apple peeled, cored, and cubed into small pieces
  • 10-12 Caramel squares sliced into thirds
  • 2 Tablespoons All Purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup +2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1.5-2 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In medium sauce pan over low medium heat place in chopped apples, and rest of ingredients except for caramel pieces. You will find as the apples cook down the sauce will thicken into it’s own caramel sauce. Don’t over cook apples. You want them to have a slight crunch to them. They will finish baking in the braid. When your apples and sauce are the consistency of the photo below. Turn off burner and set aside on a cool burner. Once slightly cooled toss in your caramel candies.

At this point, you want to turn your oven up to 410 degrees. Now it’s time to roll out your dough.  You will have enough dough for two braids, but this recipe makes only one. Either double recipe or save dough for another use. Get those creative foodie juices flowing!

Soda Wash:

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup baking soda

Punch dough down, and separate into two equal parts as close as you can. You only need the one half of your dough.  Make sure all air bubbles are out of your dough. Lightly flour surface and roll dough out into a rectangle shape as evenly as possible. Line baking pan with parchment paper and keep nearby to judge how large your braid should be.  I rolled my dough loosely back up. I didn’t want to have to pick it up after I sliced the sides for the braid.

Once on the pan, I needed to get the middle bottom third of my dough brushed with baking soda water. I brushed it on the bottom middle third only and brushed each section of the bottom as I unrolled the dough. Apply a fairly generous amount but so much that the dough is sopping wet.

I used a pizza cutter (a sharp parring knife will work also) and cut both sides about an inch apart and about 2/3 of the way in. You want to leave the middle third for your filling. It should look like this. You can google braids on Youtube for assistance with rolling, cutting, and braiding.

Just to let you know, this was my first time ever making dough braid. I totally winged the braiding part and didn’t think of goggling it until later. I think I did pretty well.

Fill the center with your filling. I used all of mine. As you can see I had some oozing over the sides, I just tucked it right back in as I went along.

I was so excited to begin my braid that I forgot to stop and photograph it as I went along. You can watch a video on how to braid a dough here.

As I said, not bad for my first dough braid. I was super stoked!

Now brush the sides and top with baking soda water and place in oven for 15-20 minutes at 410 degrees or pretzel sounds hollow when lightly tapped and golden brown

Brush with melted butter. Lots and lots of melted butter!

Top with your granola crisp topping. And lightly drizzle a bit more butter over top so it stays there!

I hope you aren’t licking your screen. That would just be weird if a family member or coworker walked in and saw you doing such a thing.

Now, to see what the inside looks like. Check out the chewy dough center wrapped around all that apple crisp bliss.

It’s like nothing you have ever had before. I topped ours off with some homemade whipped cream and more caramel sauce.

Note: I will add printable recipe later. I wanted to get up recipe while it was fresh in my head.  Thanks for reading.

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4 Comments

  1. avatar

    Omg….. need to pin! And yes. I am licking my screen.

     
  2. avatar
    Rudy Soles

    Had this the other night…DELICIOUS!

     
  3. avatar
    Zulema M. Garza

    This looks so tasteful ! Gonna have to try this for the Grand kids! Thanks..

     
  4. Pingback: Pretzel Crust Pizza | The Kitchen Prescription

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