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Pumpkin Soft Pretzels

It's hard to believe that it's almost the middle of October and I have yet to really kick into my usual pumpkin overdrive. That changed tonight and I experimented with a pumpkin soft pretzel. The only real obstacle: I am shape-challenged, as evidenced by my struggles in geometry as a freshman in high school. Thankfully these taste much better than they look!

1-1/4 C warm water
1 t organic granulated sugar
1 T active dry yeast
1 C pumpkin puree
1 t sea salt
4 C white whole wheat flour
1 t olive oil
coarse sea salt for garnish

For boiling...1 beer, 6 C water, 2 T baking soda

In a big bowl dissolve the sugar in water. Add yeast and let sit till the yeast blooms. Stir in the pumpkin. Stir in the flour and salt to form a dough. If the dough seems dry, add 1 at a time until it comes together. Hand knead for 10 minutes. Put olive oil in a large bowl and turn the dough around until the sides of the bowl are completely oiled and the dough is covered in a light film. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a large soup pot, bring beer, water, and baking soda to a boil. Roll dough into a coil and carefully twist each rope into a pretzel shape - easier said than done in my case. Boil pretzels for two minutes. Then place pretzels on a lightly buttered cookie sheet and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes until deeply browned on top.

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