Few things bring back summer memories quite like a golden brown pretzel from Auntie Anne's. Growing up, there was no better way to cool off from the heat than spending a couple hours at the mall, and a warm doughy knot at the end of the trip was the icing on the cake. Speaking of cake, it's Auntie Anne's 30th birthday, and the 2018 contestants of the company's annual Pretzel Nation Creation are here to sweeten the extra special milestone. Forget Sriracha: Here's how to vote for Auntie Anne's birthday pretzel and satisfy all your sugary cravings this fall.
While I'm usually partial to the OG Auntie Anne's flavor (I mean, who can resist a whiff of that pretzel goodness from the stall?), I'll happily admit that last year's Pretzel Nation Creation made the fall of 2017 a whole lot hotter. After 1.3 million of you voted in last year's contest, Sriracha-flavored pretzels came out at the top, beating out some pretty eclectic flavors inspired by buffalo wings, tacos, dill pickles, and even Korean BBQ. While there's no such thing as too much Sriracha in my opinion, this year's flavors are basically dessert in a pretzel, and I'm so here for it.
According to press materials from Auntie Anne's, fans came up with over 650 choices to celebrate the company's 30th birthday, which the pretzel gods then narrowed down to the ten most popular flavors. Unlike last year's selections, 2018 is all about classic warm weather tastes that'll satisfy any sweet tooth, and it's so hard to pick a favorite. If anything, my frontrunner of the pack might be the Birthday Cake flavor, because Auntie Anne's is ringing in three decades of pretzel happiness, after all. However, there are so many mouthwatering possibilities.
Although Birthday Cake is the obvious choice, I love that a few of the options try to evoke nostalgic summertime treats, like Cookies & Cream, Cotton Candy, and Lemonade Cake. Why head to a theme park or a fair when you can get those tastes closer to home, aka in your local mall? Meanwhile, the Tiramisu, Red Velvet Cheesecake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Chocolate Coconut, and Chocolate Covered Cherry options basically put your favorite confection into a soft pretzel form, so choose your favorite.
OK, so I have to admit I'm slightly disappointed by how normal this year's lineup is compared to some of the weirder choices offered in 2017 (I'm still scratching my head over what a dill pickle-flavored pretzel would taste like), but a few did spark my curiosity. The Caramel Apple Crème Brûlée flavor, which Auntie Anne’s describes as “the country fair meets five-star restaurant,” sounds like a unique mash-up that would totally work, and I’d be so down to try it. I'm also curious about these so-called "cake" flavors, specifically the Birthday Cake one. After all, no cake is complete without frosting, and it'll be interesting to see how Auntie Anne's works some icing into their final twisted creation.
Now, for the fine print. You have from June 19 through June 25 to vote for your favorite flavor, simply by heading to www.auntieannes.com/pretzelnationcreation and putting a "heart" next to your choice. At the time of publication, the Birthday Cake was the most popular at almost 7,000 votes, while the Caramel Apple Crème Brûlée was trailing just behind it. The flavors that voters maybe aren't too excited about? The Cotton Candy, described as "like going to an amusement park, but better," and the Lemonade Cake, which both just broke over 1,000 "likes."
According to Auntie Anne's, you can vote for your favorite flavor as many times as you like, and the winning creation will be announced on June 26. And although these options might encapsulate your favorite tastes of summer, you're going to have to satisfy your pretzel cravings with the original in the next couple months because the victorious twist won't be available in stores until fall. With just a few days left to go until the contest closes, there's never been a better time to pick this year's "Sriracha" and pay homage to 30 years of delicious doughy goodness.