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Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl, then make a well in the middle. Fill a jug with 300ml tepid water, stir in the butter, then pour into the well. Use your hands to mix into a rough dough. Tip onto a floured surface and knead for 10-15 mins until smooth and elastic. This can be done in a stand mixer, too. Put in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave for 1 hr to double in size.
Mix the apple with the cinnamon and nutmeg, then scrunch into the risen dough to evenly distribute and knock back the dough. Divide into 8 equal pieces and roll each into 60cm sausages, then shape into a ‘U’ with the curve pointing towards you. Cross over the two ends, lift them backwards and press into the curve of the U. Arrange on a baking tray lined with oiled parchment. Cover lightly with a damp cloth Set aside for 20 mins to rise.
Fill a medium saucepan with water, bring to the boil, add the bicarb and 2 tbsp sugar, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. One at a time, lift the pretzels into the pan and cook for 20 seconds on each side. When they rise to the surface, gently lift out and return to the baking tray. Lightly brush with egg and sprinkle with the remaining sugar and a pinch of sea salt.
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden, then cool on a wire rack. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Will keep in an airtight container for two days.