Having foods with a theme to match a special occasion is a nice touch. Whether you’re celebrating a child’s birthday, or a yearly holiday, theme foods are just more appealing, for some reason. Many theme foods require you to purchase cake pans, cookie cutters, and other special cooking items so that you can make the particular images. Not so when you make your own shaped pretzels. Not little, skinny, hard pretzels like you purchase in a bag from a grocery store but thick, luscious, bread pretzels like you buy at the fair!
Pour a half-cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in one packet (1 tablespoon) of dry yeast until it is fully dissolved. Beat two eggs and pour them into the yeast mixture. Stir a half-cup of vegetable oil and a cup of milk into the mix.
In a separate bowl, combine a teaspoon of salt, 5 and a half cups of all-purpose flour, and a third-cup of sugar. After mixing these well pour them into the liquid mixture. Combine all the ingredients well. A dough ball will begin to form, and when it does, it’s necessary to take over the mixing with clean hands. A little oil on your hands will prevent the dough from sticking. Knead the mixture well for five to ten minutes or until the mixture becomes somewhat rubbery.
Take large chunks of the dough mix and rub it between your two hands. Roll up and down the piece so that it begins to form a rope shape. Create long ropes – two or three feet long – and about as large around as your pinky finger.
After creating a long rope you can then turn it into the shape you want. Use the rope to make a heart shape, butterfly, dollar sign, a letter of the alphabet, a number or a different image. Depending upon the holiday or occasion you can make Christmas tree shapes, wreaths, egg shapes, leaves and many other shapes.
After all the rope has been used, and the shapes placed on a piece of waxed paper, beat an egg and brush it onto the pretzels. Now sprinkle course salt over them and enjoy! Make the pretzels for holidays, birthdays, party favors – even as a gift to someone in the hospital. They’re delicious and suitable for nearly any occasion.