Pret­zel short­bread cook­ies are (al­most) too good to share

The Kansas City Star - - Chow Town - BY MELISSA CLARK New York Times

Ev­ery­one at the farm­ers mar­ket was talk­ing about the pret­zel short­bread cook­ies from Lost Bread Co. So I joined the snaking line to see what the fuss was about.

They didn’t look like much, just a stack of cop­pery rec­tan­gles wrapped in cel­lo­phane. But al­most ev­ery­one ahead of me or­dered them, and I ner­vously watched the pile get smaller the closer I got.

I snagged one of the fi­nal bags, then ripped it open to try a bite.

At first, the pret­zel side came through: The short­bread was hard, crunchy and stud­ded with chunks of white salt. The sweet­ness hit as the crumbs dis­solved on my tongue, turn­ing but­tery, sup­ple and a lit­tle nutty. It was a cookie that leaned into the sa­vory side, salty and sweet and im­pos­si­ble to stop eat­ing.

I im­me­di­ately knew the only way I could go on was to get my hands on the recipe. Alex Bois, a founder of Lost Bread, was happy to oblige. The short­bread, he said, were cre­ated as a way to use up the bak­ery’s left­over pret­zels. But with the recipe came a warn­ing: It called for dip­ping the cook­ies in lye, which is what gives them their char­ac­ter­is­tic pret­zel brown gloss. Make sure to wear gloves and eye pro­tec­tion, he said, as lye can burn.

The lye part was off­putting, to say the least.

The in­ter­net sug­gested sub­sti­tut­ing a bak­ing soda so­lu­tion, which worked well. For an­other batch, I tried brush­ing the short­bread with egg white. The egg white is eas­ier and the bak­ing soda slightly more fla­vor­ful, so I offer both op­tions here.

DAVID MALOSH NYT

Pret­zel short­bread leans sa­vory, with just enough sweet­ness to make it im­pos­si­ble to stop eat­ing.

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