For the dough:
⅓ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup well-chopped chocolate or miniature chocolate chips
For the glaze:
1 large egg
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon water
Coarse or pearl sugar, for finishing
To make the brioche dough, whisk the milk and yeast together in a small dish until the yeast has dissolved. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs and yeast mixture, mixing until the dough comes together in a shaggy pile. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 10 minutes. (My mixer had a really hard time with this part, but I think it was just a fluke.) Add the butter, a third at a time, mixing well between each addition. Swap to the dough hook and let the mixer knead the dough on low speed until it’s silky and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the chocolate and continue mixing until it’s spread evenly throughout the dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours, until almost doubled. If you’d like, you can rest the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before proceeding. Just make sure to bring it back to room temperature and let it rise before moving on.
To make the pretzels, line two baking sheets with parchment or a nonstick baking mat and heat oven to 350º. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces (about 93 grams each, if you’re weighing). Working with one piece at a time, roll each ball into an 18-inch long rope about ½-inch thick. This dough is very buttery and you likely won’t need a floured surface. However, if you notice your dough sticking to your work area, simply dust it with a little flour. Draw the ends of the rope together to make a circle. Grab each side of the rope about 2 inches from the ends and twist the ends together – a full twist, so that the right side of the rope ends up back on the right side – to close the circle. Fold the twist down into the circle, pressing the loose ends of the rope on each side of the center (five and seven o’clock) of the rope. Repeat with the remaining dough. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, water and salt. Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheets and brush with glaze. Let them rest for about 15 minutes. They’ll rise slightly during this time.
To finish, brush the pretzels once more with the glaze. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake for about 12 minutes, until puffed and lightly bronzed. Cool slightly (yeah right) on a cooling rack before serving.