A rich cream cheese dough, formed into pretzels and dipped halfway in semisweet chocolate. For a mock salt effect, brush the unbaked pretzels with lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
½cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened
4ounces (½cup) cream cheese, softened
1½teaspoonspure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter two baking sheets; set aside.
Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed. Add the egg yolk, then the vanilla and salt, mixing until smooth. Lower the mixer speed and add the flour, mixing just until blended.
Divide the dough into quarters. Cut each portion into 10 equal walnut-size pieces. On a floured work surface, roll each piece into a smooth rope about 8 inches long. Bring the ends of each rope around in a pretzel shape. Lift the pretzels with a spatula and place them gently on the baking sheets, slightly apart.
Bake10 minutes. With a spatula, gently transfer the pretzels to a wire rack to cool completely.
Chocolate Glaze: Melt the chocolate and the vegetable shortening in the top of a double boiler, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is smooth and glossy. Transfer to a narrow bowl. (The chocolate should be deep enough to dip the cookies in halfway.) Set aside in a warm place, or in a shallow dish of warm water so the mixture remains fluid.
Place a wire rack over a sheet of wax paper. Dip the bottom of each cooled pretzel into the warm chocolate, coating it only halfway, and letting excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place the dipped cookies on the wire rack. Cool until set.