Spiced, Brown Butter Pumpkin Pretzels with Coffee Cream Cheese Icing (+ How to shape pretzels)

It’s no secret that it’s Autumn now – it’s already getting dark and cold at 4 pm, I’m constantly wearing jumpers, Starbucks has brought the Pumpkin Spice Latte to the UK, and Whole Foods has a huge stack of Libby’s Pumpkin tins piled up.

I’ve never usually been one for following themes – But, after being bombarded by images of delicious pumpkin type things on the internet, the idea of pumpkin was really starting to appeal to me. Then I saw the new pumpkin spice latte in Starbucks,Β  and decided to take the flavour combo (pumpkin, coffee, pumpkin pie spice), and make it better by (of course) adding carbs into the mix.

Specifically, the bread kind. Soft, pretzel-y bread. Oh yeah, and then I coated them in browned butter. Sassy.

There’s spice mix in them, spice mixΒ onΒ them. Then comes the coffee cream cheese icing.

A rogue sprinkling of pecans.


– If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice mix, you can make your own by combining 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground allspice and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.

-Not a fan of coffee? Just sub it for 1 tbsp of warm water!

Spiced, Brown Butter Pumpkin Pretzels with Coffee Cream Cheese Icing

bread dough adapted from King Arthur Flour

makes 10-11 pretzels

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (150ml) warm water
1 tbsp active dried yeast
1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
3 1/4 cups (425g) all purpose flour (plus 1/3 cup (45g) more for kneading)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (see notes)
2 tbsp neutral oil (e.g. vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil)
3/4 cup (185 ml) pumpkin puree
1 egg

For dipping:
1 cup (250ml) hot water
2 tsp baking soda

For rolling:
1/4 cup (55g) butter
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix (see notes)
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar

Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup (50g) powdered sugar
2 tbsp cream cheese
strong coffee
optional: 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) chopped pecans

In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp of the brown sugar. Stir, and set aside.In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, spice mix and the rest of the brown sugar. Add the yeast mixture, oil, pumpkin and egg to the bowl. Stir together until you get a rough ball of mixture.

Tip the entire contents of the large bowl out onto a work surface. Knead together for about 10 minutes, gradually adding the 1/3 cup of flour, using it to stop the dough sticking to your hands and the work surface, until you get a smooth-ish, slightly sticky dough. Pop the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, turning it to coat, cover with a clean tea towel . Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour-ish until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 10-11 equal pieces (roughly weighing 3 oz each) and roll into balls. Dip the bottom of the dough balls lightly into some flour to stop them sticking to the work surface.

Roll each dough ball into a rope about 20″ long.

Shape into a U, cross the ends of the U over each other and fold down to make the pretzel shape.

Combine the hot water and baking soda in a jug, then pour into a shallow bowl. Dip the pretzels into this mixture and place onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Leave to rest while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (210 degrees C). Once preheated, bake the pretzels for 7-10 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees, halfway through baking, until golden brown.

While the pretzels bake, brown the butter: melt the butter, and continue to cook over a medium heat until it foams up and brown solids appear at the bottom of the pan. Take it off the heat. Combine the granulated sugar and spice mix in a large shallow bowl.

Brush the pretzels all over with browned butter, then coat with the spiced sugar mixture.

Combine the powdered sugar and cream cheese in a small bowl. Add some coffee, little by little until you get a drizzle-able icing, and drizzle over the spice-sugar coated pretzels. Top with chopped pecans, if you want them. Store in an airtight container – they’re best eaten warm πŸ˜‰

80 thoughts on “Spiced, Brown Butter Pumpkin Pretzels with Coffee Cream Cheese Icing (+ How to shape pretzels)”

  1. sweet jesus! there are so many delicious things going on here, my brain doesn’t even know how to handle all the information. just awesome. (:

    • ahaha thanks, I know, there was going to be maple syrup in the icing too… I decided that would be too much πŸ™‚

    • This is the problem with photographing food – it’s normally all been eaten by the time I make the post! thanks!

  2. These may be the most decadent pretzels I’ve ever seen. They look so incredibly amazing… I WANT ONE!
    P.S. I love your “Submit” button for the comments. πŸ™‚

  3. You’ve taken everything good and right in this world and made it acceptable to eat at once. For breakfast. Thank you!!! These look phenomenal.

  4. I came here to comment on your gorgeous photos and then I saw those cute little how-to GIFs. Wow. I love it all. πŸ™‚

  5. Ohmygosh. I’m so wishing that I could do gluten and dairy right now. They look amazing. Had to come over as soon as I saw the photo on FoodGawker. My gosh. And I love the animated gifs showing how to make them. Fav. Love. Swoon.

  6. Beautiful, no and don’t be sorry about the butter. I just came across your photograph on foodgawker and had to drop by and say hi.

  7. Wow, this looks amazing! I could definitely use one right now for breakfast! And then another one for lunch and dinner πŸ™‚

    • I think I ate about 3 when I was coating them in the butter + spiced-sugar mixture – you know, the ‘taste-testing’ part is essential πŸ˜‰ thanks!

  8. They look amazing and look forward to making them. Spent the last 3 years in Europe during Halloween. The American holiday seems to becoming more popular each year. I would love these pretzels for Thanksgiving, too. Thanks for sharing and @ 16 you have a bright epicurean future.

    • yeah, it definitely is – being able to buy Libby’s Pumpkin Puree is a pretty new thing in the UK! Thank you!

  9. WOW. I can’t believe I just discovered your site… these look AMAZING! And your photography is beautiful. Totally believe your motto- “top it with cinnamon.” Hope you check out my site as well!

  10. Pumpkin spiced lattes! So I get serious headaches when I drink straight-up-anything-coffee, but I believe you’ve just hurdled that tiny barrier with this recipe. Headaches, meet exponential waistline expansion. I can’t wait to try this!

    • haha, oh god, I occasionally get headaches from coffee too, but it’s so delicious; I just have to POWER THROUGH IT πŸ™‚

  11. Those pretzels look delicious! I’m glad that “pumpkin” has finally become “interesting” across the pond. My brother used to live in Spalding Lincolnshire, where their primary crop was PUMPKINS! Though sadly no one really cooked, much less baked with them! My brother, being a homesick American, craved the pumpkin pie he was missing for Thanksgiving here in the states. Keep exploring pumpkin and I love the great work you are doing with your blog.

    • thanks! Yeah, it’s really strange, pumpkins in the UK are mainly used for carving faces into at Halloween, nobody seems to use them for anything else!!

  12. OMG, I’ve just discovered your blog, I’ve no words, so amazing! πŸ™‚
    I simply love your pictures and recipes, congrats for all. πŸ˜‰

  13. I’m a bit jaded by all the pumpkin in everything here in the states, but I couldn’t resist trying this recipe. So, so amazing. The brown butter is a perfect touch, and the pumpkin really does a lot for the texture of the dough. Thank you!

    • yay, awesome, so glad you liked them! Yeah, I dunno why I’ve never coated anything in brown butter before!! thanks!

  14. I’m curious. Is it possible that i freeze the dough after i a roll and shape them into their pretzel form, and just take them out of the freezer, thaw them, dip in baking soda water, then bake when i wanted one? i just can’t see myself eating 10 or 11 pretzels before they got stale.

    Thanks for the help!

    • I think that would be fine! Just one thing – once thawed, leave the pretzel in a warm place for about 15-25 minutes to let it rise a bit, before dipping + baking. No prob πŸ™‚

  15. You are awesome. At 16, my “cooking” was running to the 7-11 for a Dark Chocolate Hershey bar. Now I’m old(er). Anyway, I am having a toddler party this weekend, and wanted to try your pretzels, but without all the sugar (toddlers+lots of sugar=disaster). Have you tried these without tossing them in sugar? Maybe just with the cream cheese drizzle?

    • hahaha, thanks! Yes, I can see that getting a bit hectic! – I definitely ate one warm from the oven and they’re pretty dang delicious even without being rolled in sugar; I’d say just add 1/2 tsp extra pumpkin pie spice (or you could just add more cinnamon or another spice) to the dough to amp up the flavour a bit, then drizzle with the icing and you should be good to go!

  16. So, I’m a graphic designer and I love food too — great post. I may be trying to make a gluten-free version of these. But in the meantime, I just had to drop a note and let you know that the gif tutorials you made are hot. I can see this trending all over. Well done!

    • Ooh, sounds good, let me know how they turn out! Yay, thank you :’) I make .gif video tutorials for whole recipes too on my vimeo account – I’m addicted to .gifs

  17. I made these today and they were so awesome. Lots of flavour, light and not too sweet. Mine weren’t quite as pretty as yours but they didn’t look too shabby. : )

  18. hi these pretzels look amazing! i want to make them for a friends birthday but was hoping that once the dough is made into little balls it could be put in fridge for a few hours and then baked, or will this ruin the dough?? thanks πŸ™‚

  19. Oh wow, these look awesome. Do I have to wait until Autumn, when it’s Pumpkin season, to make these?

  20. Oh My Gosh! I love everything pumpkin! Today is cooler than it was yesterday here in IL. Close enough to that fall feeling for me. Making these today!

  21. These look amazing! I will try them soon! Ill let you know how they turn out! Thanks for the recipe πŸ™‚

  22. Oh nooo. Now I HAVE to make these! Im feeling guilty already and yest somehow i really dont care. These look amazing! πŸ˜€

  23. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous
    blogger if you are not already πŸ˜‰ Cheers!

  24. You should make some youtube videos! Lots of people out there who have never used yeast and watching you do it in a video would be uber helpful. πŸ™‚

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