1. To Make the Filling: Mix all ingredients together until smooth and well-combined. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
2. To Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combined the warm water, sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir to combine then sit aside for 6-8 minutes to activate the yeast.
3. Add the flour into the bowl. Using the hook attachment, knead on low speed for 2 minutes, then medium speed for another 4-5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and pliable. If needed, add more water (if too dry) or flour (if too wet) depending on dough texture.
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm environment (like oven turned off with light on) for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
5. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 8 pieces.
6. Roll out each piece into a long rope. Flatten the rope with a rolling pin, then fill with 1/3-1/2 cup of the filling. Pinch the ends together to seal in the filling, so that you have a rope-shape once again. (SEE VIDEO FOR VISUAL.)
7. Make a U-shape with the rope, cross over the ends, then press into the bottom to create a pretzel-like shape. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
8. Let the pretzels rest for 10 minutes.
9. Preheat oven to 450F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
10. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil. Gently place each pretzel, working 1-2 at a time, into the water to boil 30 seconds on each side. Place on the prepared pan.
11. Brush each pretzel with an egg wash and garnish with salt.
12. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!