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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!).
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.
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.
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 a few Woodpeckers Crafts 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
INGREDIENTS TO TOP:
- Rock Pretzel Salt (like this)
- Red Food Coloring
- 4 TBSP butter, melted
Pink-Salted Soft Pretzel Heart Recipe:
- 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.
- 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.
- Knead the dough
Knead the dough until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
*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 Amazon or Woodpecker 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!