New Year Pretzel


Happy New Year!

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In honor of the beginning of 2013, I thought I would share a local holiday tradition, the New Year Pretzel. I am fairly certain that I have only had a slice of New Year’s pretzel once. It seems bizarre because just about every bakery and grocery store in and around Pittsburgh seems to sell them at this time of the year. It stems from a German tradition and those who partake in the sweet treat will have good luck for all of the hew year. It should be eaten at midnight, or at the very least on New Year’s day.

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As I thought about making something special to ring in the New Year, a pretzel seemed like just the thing. Apparently, in the U.S., Pittsburgh is not the only place to participate in this tradition. Sandusky, Ohio has the same tradition with a slight difference in the recipe. Here in Pittsburgh, the dough is sweet and is often topped with icing. Some bakeries fill the pretzel with cinnamon or nuts, while others simply ice the sweet dough and top it with almonds and/or cherries. I thought a lot about this and decided that it might be fun to try using cinnamon roll dough to make my recipe.

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A few days a go, I thought about making sweet potato cinnamon rolls. I am a little obsessed with breads made using sweet potatoes. I have made my sweet potato biscuits, husband made these sweet potato dinner rolls for Christmas, and now I made this pretzel. I found this recipe and made some changes. Obviously, I didn’t cut the dough into individual rolls. Instead, I twisted it into a pretzel. I used cinnamon instead of cardamon, and added some vanilla to the filling. Then, I made maple frosting.

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This was a delicious treat to eat at midnight and again this morning for breakfast. We will be eating this for many New Year celebrations to come.

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New Year Pretzel

by Jessica

Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert breakfast


Ingredients (12 servings)

    For the Dough

    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    For the Filling

    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 3 tablespoons cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the Icing

    • 1/4 cup melted butter
    • 1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon maple extract
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • pinch salt
    • 1-3 tablespoons milk


    For the Dough

    Put 1/4 cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.

    In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk for about 1 minute. The temperature should be between 110 and 115 degrees. If it is too hot, allow it to cool. If it is too cool, heat more.

    Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer on top of the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.

    Once the yeast is foamy. Add the cinnamon and sweet potato to the bowl. Begin mixing on low and gradually add the flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead for about 5 minutes in the stand mixer.

    Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place the dough ball in a clean, greased bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm, moist place. (I put it in the cold oven with the light on.)

    The dough should double in size (1-1.5 hours).

    For the Filling

    With a mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the sweet potato, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Mix to combine.

    Roll out the dough into a long, skinny strip of dough (about 6-8 inches wide). Spread the filling evenly onto the dough leaving a 1/2 in strip on one side.

    Roll the cinnamon roll into a long strip ending with the part that does not have any filling. Squeeze the roll to make it longer if desired and to seal it.

    Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Form into a pretzel. Cover with a clean dish towel.

    Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place the pretzel on top to continue rising for 30 minutes.

    Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.

    For the Icing

    Combine icing ingredients adding milk a little at a time.

    Ice the pretzel and serve warm or cold.

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    1. Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade’s avatar

      Interesting, thanks for sharing with us at Foodie Friends friday, Dawn here a host and fellow blogger.

    2. jessica’s avatar

      Thanks for hosting and stopping by!

    3. Kristin’s avatar

      Wow, I’m definitely going to try this! I went to college in Pittsburgh and it’s a favorite town to me, but I never saw these! Are they only around during New Years?

    4. jessica’s avatar

      They are only baked for about a week before New Year’s Day. If you went to college here, you were probably on break. It is a shame that you missed it. Mine is a little different than traditional. It is more like a gooey cinnamon roll. But, I like it better. Enjoy!

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