Cuddle Bear was a really fun preschool picture book study we recently completed — all about a teddy who gives lots of hugs to friends that are feeling lonely or sad. And since there is a lot of “love” shared in this book, there are also a lot of heart illustrations! So we focused on the “heart” shape one day during our book study — completing the story activities by making (and eating!) heart-shaped homemade soft pretzel snacks.
Have you ever made homemade soft pretzels? They’re surprisingly easy and really fun for the kids to help make, especially once the dough is ready. They’re all about making dough “snakes” and shaping the pretzels (which don’t always turn out as pretty as Pinterest!).
Homemade Soft Pretzel Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 TBSP butter, melted
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 TBSP water
- coarse pretzel salt (optional)
- additional melted butter and cinnamon-sugar (optional)
Homemade Soft Pretzel Instructions
Combine the water, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter. Use the dough hook attachment to mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, scrape the bowl clean. Cover and let sit in a warm place for approximately 50 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray.
Bring the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a large pot.
While water is heating, turn the dough onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into small balls of dough. Have kids help roll the dough into “snakes” and then shape into hearts.
Carefully place the pretzels into the boiling water one at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula or slotted spoon. Place on the sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with coarse pretzel salt. (Skip the salt if serving with cinnamon-sugar.)
Bake until dark golden brown in color, about 12-14 minutes.
If desired, brush soft pretzel hearts with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar before serving.
Homemade Soft Pretzel Hearts is just one of the snack ideas included in our Cuddle Bear “Book of the Week” activity pack! The Cuddle Bear activity pack is perfect for at-home or classroom preschoolers and kindergartners and includes:
- 5-day detailed lesson plans
- 5-day detail snack ideas/recipes
- “Long Distance Hug” craft printable
- “Love Bear” craft template printable
- Cuddle Bear dot-to-dot
- Animal sequencing cards
- Heart-shape fill-a-dot sheet
- “Bear Hugs” craft printable
The Book of the Week printable pack is FREE when you purchase Cuddle Bear through my Usborne Books & More store! Or — if you already own Cuddle Bear, you can find the printables in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.