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Friday, December 31, 2010

Neujahrspretzel (New Year's Pretzel)

A few years ago, I started baking this New Year's Pretzel to serve for breakfast on New Year's day.  I'm a big fan of celebrating the start of the new year with foods that are meant to bring luck; success and wealth in the new year.  I'm not a very superstitious person except for this time of year.  It's a time to start fresh, so I do tend to tread carefully around what I eat on New Years Eve and New Years Day and I give into the hype.  Grapes, legumes, cooked greens, fish, pork and sauerkraut are always involved as they are believed to be lucky and improve the good vibes to start the year.  And I am very strict about what I will NOT eat:  poultry (the bird scratches backwards, which could tend to cause regret or dwelling) or any bird with wings (who wants their good luck to fly away?).  Also, lobsters move backwards, so stay away from them.

Overall, 2010 has been a pretty good year.  It started off with running 39.3 miles down in Disney World for the Goofy's Challenge, 13.1 of which were with my dad who lost nearly 60 pounds before the start!   I was asked to speak at a luncheon at Mitchell, which was an amazing honor, and I finished another year of law school.  Ron and I took a few trips to Chicago and realized that the city may just be our next place of residence and are excited about the prospect of only being 7 short hours from our families.  My sister, my mom, and my sister-in-law came out to visit us in the Twin Cities.  We moved into Minneapolis and fell in love with the city, finally, after two years of realizing that we are just not suburb people and probably never will be.  I ran a 5k with my mom (it was her first) while visiting California for the first time.  While there, we all ran a half marathon; dad ran his second half marathon and Erica, Bo, Ron and myself joined.  It was super exciting that Ron trained for and ran his first half with a smile on his face the entire time!  Ron bought a bike (mom did too!) and started riding everywhere with me!  We spent most of our weekends cycling to farmers markets and checking out new restaurants in Minneapolis.  I was able to travel for my first "work trip" which solidified my future career goals and I am excited that I will be able to start applying for jobs soon.  I finished the Twin Cities marathon.  I got to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  And after a lovely trip to Pittsburgh for the holidays and time spent with our families, Ron and I finally set a date to be married.  

It is always fun to look back on the year to see what it has brought.  Looking back, it was a very good year so I certainly don't want to forget it.  But I am excited to begin 2011.  2011 looks to bring lots of opportunity.  This will be my last year of law school.  It will also be my last year as a "single" girl; Ron and I are set to marry next December, shortly before Christmas.  And to chalk off a notch on my 'before I am 30' bucket list, I am registered for the 2011 Louisville Ironman competition in August.  It will be interesting to read what this post says next year:  Ironman, J.D. graduate, and a Reed!!
I've been extremely lucky thus far in life, but it's not to say that I couldn't use a little more.  This pretzel is a German tradition and is a symbol of good luck, so the tradition continues.  It is similar to a coffee cake, but it is in the shape of a giant pretzel!  (Though, I never tend to roll my pretzels thin enough to actually get the pretzel shape.  Oh well, no matter.)  Bake it for a New Years day breakfast.  And it is very important that you DO NOT use a knife to cut the pretzel.  It is tradition for people to rip off a portion with their fingers as this will help pass the luck of the pretzel into the new year to come!  Regardless of all of its superstitious background, it is a delicious treat that I highly suggest trying.  The recipe mixes up two giant pretzels, so I always cut it in half.  Enjoy!

And I wish you a peaceful, prosperous and safe journey on your path in life in 2011!
from (I don't remember!! :( )
Yield:  2 large Neujahrspretzels
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 pkg yeast; active, dry
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 7 cup flour; unbleached
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 2 Tbsp water
  1. Heat milk and butter until very warm (120-130 degrees F).  
  2. Mix yeast, salt, sugar, and 1 cup flour.  Slowly beat into warm milk for 2 minutes.  
  3. Add eggs and 1 cup of flour; beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add enough flour to form a soft dough; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and let rise again until doubled; about 1 more hour.
  7. Divide dough in half and shape pretzels as follows:  roll dough into a rope about 30 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Place pretzels on greased baking sheets.  Let rise 15 minutes more.  
  8. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.
  9. Make glaze:  Mix brown sugar, water and extract to form a thin icing. Drizzle icing on pretzels (it will be runny) and sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.


  1. are you familiar with hoppin' john? i have an easy vegetarian recipe if you're interested!

  2. I'd love to try that recipe! Thank you! I actually have a hoppin' john recipe from one of my good friends who grew up on the stuff. I actually ended up eating a lentil salad on NY to satisfy the whole "legume as coins = money" theory.