1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
3 quarts water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water (egg wash)
2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Coat a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or foil and place in a warm , draft-free spot until the dough doubles in size, about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring the water to a boil and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a rope about 22″ long. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches, about 15 at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a well-greased baking sheet.
Bake the pretzel bites at 425 for 8 minutes, then remove from the oven and immediately place the pretzel bites on a cooling rack. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops generously with cinnamon sugar. You want to do this over a cooling rack and not on the pan you bake the pretzel bites on or else the sugar will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Then put the pretzel bites back on the first pan and continue baking for an additional 8-10 mins until golden and cooked through.