Sunday, January 02, 2011

Cinnamon Pretzels

It seems as if every year I have quite a list of new recipes that I want to try for Christmas. Usually -- and this year was no exception -- I also run across one or more new recipes at the last minute that I also want to try. This year my last-minute recipes seemed to tend toward either snack mixes or candy.

I want to share with you one such recipe which was so easy that I was able to try making it on a day when I really didn't have much extra time. I found it at my favorite Christmas site, where it was shared in the recipe database section by my friend HolidayElf. It's a simple cinnamon pretzel mix which is a fantastic blend of salty and sweet flavors. Here it is in HolidayElf's own words:

"They are super fast and simple and have been a major hit with everyone who has tried them. If you like salty/sweet together...this is it. I'm going to make them for friends and co-workers this year for the holidays. (I also bought the pretzels at Dollar Tree, so they cost next to nothing to make.)


Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes

Makes 12 (I cup) servings

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 16 oz. bag small pretzel twists (not sticks)

1. In a large baking pan, stir together the oil, sugar and cinnamon until mixed. Add the pretzels and toss well to coat with cinnamon mixture.

2. Bake, uncovered, in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring twice.

3. Spread out on waxed or parchment paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

I just used a large cookie sheet with sides on it for the baking pan.

Microwave directions below but I didn't try them.

Microwave directions:

1. In a very large bowl, stir together vegetable oil, sugar and cinnamon. Add pretzels, toss well to coat.

2. Place half the pretzel mixture in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 100% power for 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Spread on waxed/parchment paper to cool.

3. Repeat with remaining pretzel mixture."

Now, the first time I made these (and I did not use the microwave directions either), I did just as HolidayElf directed in preparing the pretzels for the oven. And they turned out very well. But it seemed to me I could make the preparation even easier -- as well as perhaps make the cinnamon sugar adhere to the pretzels better -- if I shook the pretzels in a ziptop bag with the oil first, then added the combined cinnamon and sugar to the same bag and shook them again. I think this did work quite well and it was definitely easier.

Oh, and I should add that I used less oil -- more like a half cup -- both times I made these, and it seemed to work out fine.

Everyone who has tried these has enjoyed them. I gave some to my son-in-law in a plastic bag inside a small metal Christmas bucket. It was a cute presentation and he really liked the pretzels. I had also given him a root beer sampler. I don't know if he happened to try the cinnamon pretzels and the root beer together, but it occurs to me now that might be a very nice combination.

And now I'm wondering how these would be using pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice in place of the cinnamon...

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