Eat: Pink-Salted Soft Pretzel Hearts

Hungry for a homemade Valentine’s Day treat that isn’t loaded with sugar? These scrumptious, buttery pink-salted soft pretzel hearts are a DIY treat that’s sure to please ANY valentine (especially the bread lovers on your list!).

Our Pink-Salted Soft Pretzel Hearts sitting on a wooden cutting board surrounded by conversation hearts for Valentine's Day.

Not-so-secret secret: I am a carb-aholic. The weather has been damp and dreary lately, and these gray January days make me feel like folding myself into a huge dough ball and eating my way out. I had run across this delicious-looking recipe and thought I’d give the whole pretzel-making thing a try. O.M.G. – so, so scrumptious.

All of the ingredients you need to make our soft pretzel hearts laid out in bowls on a sheet of brown paper.

This is my idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day treat (bread over chocolate for me any day) so here is my own “twist” on the recipe [giggles at pretzel punning]. Kids will have a ball helping to twist the taffy-like dough and, for maximum enjoyment, turn up the tunes and shake your salt bags to the beat.

The DIY white, red and pink salt sprinkles we used on our soft pretzel hearts, spilling out of a small spoon onto the countertop.

Pink-Salted Soft Pretzel Heart Ingredients:

Recipe Serves 8

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • 1 1/2 Cups warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 Teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2  Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup baking soda
  • 1 Whole egg
  • 1 Tablespoon cold water


  • Rock Pretzel Salt (like this)
  • Red Food Coloring
  • 4 TBSP butter, melted

Pink-Salted Soft Pretzel Heart Recipe:

  1. Proof the yeast

    Proof the yeast in a small bowl by adding the yeast, 1 1/2 cups water, and brown sugar together.  Cover with a towel and let stand for 5-10 minutes until bubbles or foam form.

  2. Combine oil, salt, and flour in a large mixing bowl

    Add 3 tablespoons of the oil and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Begin adding in the flour a cup at a time while mixing, and continue until it’s all been combined.

  3. Knead the dough

    Knead the dough until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides. 

  4. Coat the dough with oil and let rise

    Remove the dough from the bowl and pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in.  Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl,  turning it to give it a nice thin coating of oil (this will prevent it from sticking to anything).  Cover with a towel and place in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about an hour).
    barley and birch best buttery soft pretzels with pink salt sprinkles

  5. Prep for baking and boiling

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fill a large pot with water, add the baking soda, and bring to a boil.

  6. Prepare the pink rock salt

    While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, throw some rock salt in a bag with a drop or two of red food dye. Give it some good shakes, and continue to add drops of color until your salt has reached the desired color. For this beautiful mixture of pinks and reds, I used about 4 TBSP. of salt and 2 drops of color – all in the same bag.
    barley and birch best buttery soft pretzels with pink salt sprinkles

  7. Divide the dough and shape it into pretzel hearts

    Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Twirl and pull both ends of a piece, until you have a long rope, then shape into a heart, and pinch or roll the ends together toward the middle. Repeat with remaining pieces. 

  8. Boil the pretzels

    Boil each pretzel in the water solution for 45 seconds.  Drain with a slotted spoon and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (just a note: even on the parchment, mine stuck to the paper a little, so either drain the excess liquid off well, or throw a tiny bit of rock salt on the paper before you put the pretzels in to bake).

  9. Sprinkle with salt

    Once they have all been boiled and drained, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water and brush over the tops.  Generously sprinkle with salt. 
    barley and birch best buttery soft pretzels with pink salt sprinkles

  10. Bake and top with melted butter

    Bake for 16-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and immediately brush with melted butter.
    barley and birch best buttery soft pretzels with pink salt sprinkles

  11. Serve warm or let cool and package as a treat

    These are so delicious hot out of the oven, but they make the perfect Valentine’s Day treat too! Once cool, tuck into a paper bag, fold the top over, and tie it up with a ribbon or baker’s twine for a cute (and delicious!) surprise.
    barley and birch best buttery soft pretzels with pink salt sprinkles

These are SO INCREDIBLY GOOD 20 minutes after cooling – almost right out of the oven. But honestly, 3 days later, they still taste just as wonderful and retain their chewy soft texture. I totally support showing your love with salty soft pretzels this year!

One of our pink-salted soft pretzel hearts fresh out of the oven and still sitting on the baking parchment.

If we’ve inspired you to jump on the carb bandwagon, be sure to tag @barleyandbirch / #barleyandbirch in your pretzel-making pics – the making is REALLY half the fun and we’d love to see how yours turn out.

For more kid-friendly cooking ideas, check out out some of our favorite kitchen tools for kids, the best cookbooks for kids, or this fab collection of ways to get kids involved in the kitchen.

Make the best buttery soft pretzel hearts with pink salt sprinkles for a homemade Valentine's Day treat! | from barley & birch

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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