There are a few different accounts of the origin of the pretzel. Most people agree that it does have a Christian background, and they were developed by the monks. According to The History of Science and Technology, in 610 AD, “an Italian monk invents pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He calls the strips of baked dough, folded to resemble arms crossing the chest, pretiola (little rewards).”
Another source puts the invention in a monastery in southern France. The looped pretzel may also be related to a Greek Ring bread from the communion bread used in monasteries a thousand years ago. In the Catholic Church, pretzels had a religious significance for both ingredients and shape. The loops in pretzel may have served a practical purpose: bakers could hang them on sticks, projecting upwards from a central column.
The Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants introduced pretzels to North America in the 19th century. At this time, many handmade pretzel bakeries populated central Pennsylvania, and their popularity quickly spread.
Today, the average Philadelphian consumes about twelve times as many pretzels as the national average. Pennsylvania is the center of American pretzel production for both hard and soft pretzels, producing 80% of the nation’s pretzels.
Caramelized Onion And Rosemary Mushroom Canapes on a Pretzel Crisp
This sweet onion and mushroom topping can easily be made ahead of time, then reheated and assembled when you’re ready to serve your guests. They’re a wonderful meat free option and a tasty choice for anytime snacking!
24 garlic parmesan pretzel crisps
16 oz. baby portabella/button/cremini mushrooms
1 large sweet onion
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
3 1/2 Tbs. olive oil divided
3 Tbs. fresh chopped rosemary
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. granulated sugar
salt & black pepper to taste
Chop the mushrooms into bite size pieces. Quarter and thinly slice the onion.
In a medium saucepan, drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil, then add the sliced onion. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, then lower the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook the onion for another 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Cook for another 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the vinegar has evaporated, then remove the caramelized onions from the heat.
In a separate saucepan over high heat add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and all of the mushrooms. Lower the heat to medium and continue to sauté the mushrooms for 6-7 minutes until golden. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Add 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
To assemble, place 24 pretzel crisps on a serving platter. Divide the mushrooms and the caramelized onions evenly on each pretzel crisp.
Sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon of goat cheese on each canapé and garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 24 canapés