Fun to make, delicious to eat. What more could a kid want?
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg white
1 tsp water
In a medium-size bowl, beat together the buttermilk, the egg and the baking soda.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, have your little assistant stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until everything is blended. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with a bit more flour and, by hand (or, more likely, your child's hands) knead the mixture a few times until the dough is pliable. It doesn't have to be completely smooth.
Now, working with a small amount of dough at a time (on a floured surface), roll it out into as long a rope as possible. The rope should be no thicker than ½ in. (1 cm). Twist this rope into a pretzel shape and place on a greased cookie sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used up (or until you run out of cookie sheet space - you may have to do this in batches). A few words of advice here: the thicker the finished product, the more doughy it will be inside when it's finished. So if your child insists on building pretzel igloos or elephants, you'll get a softer, more bready end product than if he were into boa constrictors.
In a small bowl, beat the egg white together with the water and brush over the tops of the pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt, crystal sugar, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, cinnamon sugar, etc. Covering pretzels with salt and seeds is not recommended for toddlers.
Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. If you really do prefer a softer pretzel, reduce the baking time by about 5 minutes.