An all-American snack made healthier and gluten-free with the help of chickpea flour.
Pretzels top the list of all-American snacks, right up there with popcorn, chips, and peanuts. The super crunchy packaged pretzels that line the grocery store shelves are salty and satisfying but the soft baked variety are a special treat. Warm and comforting and when dipped in mustard, deliciously addictive. But there are two problems with traditional soft baked pretzels. They’re typically made with wheat flour so they’re not safe for those with gluten allergies, and they’re a bit of a project to make. The yeast based dough needs time to rise and requires a bath in boiling water before being baked. Chickpea Pretzels skirt both of these issues. The dough is free of yeast and is made from gluten-free chickpea flour with a simple egg wash used in lieu of a water bath to give the pretzels their characteristic shiny exterior. This means that when a craving strikes you can be snacking on Chickpea Pretzels in less than 30 minutes!
The recipe for Chickpea Pretzels is so simple. The soft dough comes together easily, but, because it contains no gluten it is not elastic and therefore more delicate than a wheat flour dough. Roll out the ropes of dough using the palms of both hands and a back and forth motion. If the dough cracks or comes apart, simply pinch it back together. Most soft baked pretzels have an extra twist at the center, but again, because the dough is a little fragile, I opted for a single crossover of the ends instead. You can add the extra twist if you want – just extend the length of the ropes by an inch or two and be extra gentle handling the dough. You can also omit the twisting entirely and make pretzel rods. This is a time saver and will yield more (albeit smaller) pretzels. Simply roll one-ounce pieces of dough into 7 or 8-inch ropes and proceed with the recipe as written.
You’ll enjoy Chickpea Pretzels even more knowing how much more nutritious they are than a traditional soft baked pretzel. Chickpea flour, the main ingredient in Chickpea Pretzels, is also known as garbanzo bean flour. It’s made from finely ground dried chickpeas and not only is it gluten-free, it’s rich in protein and fiber. One cup of chickpea flour contains 21 grams of protein. Compare this to only 13 grams of protein in one cup of all-purpose wheat flour. Even more impressive is the fiber content. Chickpea flour has more than 3 times the amount of fiber (10 grams versus 3 grams) than found in all-purpose flour.
Kids will love Chickpea Pretzels served with honey mustard but for a more gourmet snack experience try choosing an interesting flavor of mustard. There are so many wonderful varieties of specialty mustard on the market and almost all of them will work with Chickpea Pretzels so experiment to find one you like. Happy snacking!
- 1 egg
- 5 tablespoons water (approximately)
- 2 cups (240 grams) chickpea flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons large flake/grain salt (sometimes called pretzel salt)
- ⅓ cup mustard
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- In a small bowl mix the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside 1 tablespoon of this mixture and add enough cold water to the remaining egg mixture to make ½ cup.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the chickpea flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper. Add the olive oil and the ½ cup water/egg mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (about 2 - 2½ ounces each). Roll each piece into a rope 14 - 15 inches long, shape into pretzels, and place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet.
- Brush the top of each pretzel with the tablespoon of reserved egg/water and then sprinkle with the large flake salt.
- Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with mustard.
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