After having a constant craving for Auntie Anns pretzels my entire pregnancy with Anthony, I discovered that I can do it myself! I found this wonderful recipe on line at the food network, and of course I have tweaked it.
2 Tablespoons warm water, plus 1 1/3 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 cups flour, plus LOTS more for work surface
1/2 cups baking soda
In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons warm water with the yeast to dissolve it. Then stir into remaining water and brown sugar. Place bowl on a mixer with a dough hook, gradually add the flour and continue mixing until it forms into a ball. Turn out onto a working surface and knead the dough to make it smooth. Use enough flour on your surface so the dough isn't sticky.
Preheat the oven to 475F.
Butter 2 sheet pans I use my stones, they don't require any butter Bring 2 quarts of water with the baking soda to boil in a large saucepan. Cut dough up into golf ball size pieces. Roll out to at least 1/2 inch snakes that's what the boys call them. This is where it gets tricky...you can make these into any shape you want, a traditional pretzel, just leave it a snake, or for a fun twist make ABCs & 123s. For traditional pretzels: Form a U then cross the ends, twisting at the middle. Fold the ends back down to meet the U that is now an O and press to secure the dough.
Drop it into the boiling water for 30 seconds then fish it out. I normally make all of the pretzels at once, then drop them. If you are working with help you can make a few at a time. The pretzels will float when they are ready to be taken out, around 30 seconds. Place on the baking sheet, brush with butter, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 8 minutes or golden brown. I brush with butter again once they are out, and cool on a wire rack.
These are wonderful just by themselves, dipped in cheese dip, or mustard.