Soft Maple Oat Pretzels

1/2 cup + 1 T. water, divided
1/4 cup maple syrup, divided
3/4 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
2 T. safflower oil
1 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
3-3 1/2 cups unbleached flour, divided
1 - 1/4 oz. pkg. rapid rise active dry yeast
1 1/2 t. salt
safflower oil

In a small bowl, place 1 T. water and 1 T. maple syrup, stir well to combine, and set aside for glazing the pretzels. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining water and soy milk, and warm to 120 degrees over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat, add the remaining maple syrup and safflower oil, and stir well to combine. Place 1/4 cups rolled oats in a small bowl and set aside for topping the pretzels. In a large bowl, place the remaining rolled oats, 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, and salt, and stir well to combine. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, stir well, and add enough of the remaining 1 cup of flour as needed to make a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl to form a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 5 minutes, adding additional flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the mixing bowl over the top of the dough to cover, and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) two non-stick cookie sheets and set aside. After the dough has rested, divide it into 24 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch long rope. Transfer the rope of dough to the prepared cookie sheet. To form it in to a "pretzel" shape, take each end between your thumb and forefinger, draw them up towards the center (sort of like making a circle), cross one end over the other, continue to pull the ends through until you reach the bottom of the circle, and slightly press on the ends to stick. The dough can also be shaped into numbers, letters, or other shapes of choice. Repeat the shaping procedure, as desired, for the remaining pieces of dough. Cover the shaped pretzels with a clean towel and leave to rise for 15 minutes. Brush the tops of each pretzel with some of the reserved maple syrup/water mixture and then sprinkle with the reserved rolled oats. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 2 Dozen


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