Monday, January 14, 2013

Soft Pretzels

Yummy note: As we welcome another new changing year, this type of blog feature with the Secret Recipe Club is one constant I enjoy looking forward to every month! We get assigned another fellow blogger's site, and then we get to pick a recipe from that blog and then reveal the results of our recipe assignment choice in a big blog party.  The Secret Recipe Club always seems to get a great turnout of amazing recipes and offers so many wonderful blog posts to read up on. This month I had the blog named OnTheMove-In the Galley. It is hosted by a lady named Dee. Dee is from Seattle and spends time traveling, cruising on her boat, and of course, blogging. She has several other blogs that keep her busy! You should check out her beautiful landscape and scenic photography skills on her other blogs - OnTheMove-at HomeOnTheMove-Cruise News, and OnTheMove-Road Trips.  This month's SRC choice, was really about what I had available in my pantry, freezer, etc., to try and use to make this dish feasible. It's been a rough month or so for our family with sicknesses, injuries, and normal holiday craze-daze, that I really wasn't in the mood to make something too crazy or out of the ordinary. Especially when I knew I had a high chance the kids were going to look at me weird and stick their noses up at.. soo... I opted for a comfort food to include them with. These golden brown soft pretzels fit the bill.  Mind you, I really really wanted to make this beautiful salmon and salsa dish, as I LOVE salmon, and but I didn't have any available, so, it is saved for another day. This recipe makes about 8 or so soft pretzels which is great, as it is a smaller batch and they can be gobbled up quick while they are hot and toasty, as we all know pretzels are the best that way.  :) 





Soft Pretzels

Ingredients: 

For the dough: 
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 package or 2 ¼ tsp regular instant yeast
1 cup water water 

For the pretzel bath/topping: 
½-1 cup warm water
2 tbsp baking soda
Coarse salt
3 tbsp butter, melted 


Directions:
In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1/2 tsp salt, sugar, yeast, and warm water together until well combined or the dough begins to look a little shaggy looking. Next, knead the dough for about 5 minutes or so until it is softer and gets less sticky. Basically you should be able to poke if with your finger and it shouldn't bounce back, and leave a small indent behind. Lightly flour dough and place it in a plastic bag to rest for about 30 minutes. Next prepare your baking sheets and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. I prepared my baking sheets just with some vegetable oil spray, as I was afraid the parchment paper route wouldn't hold up well in that hot of an oven… I've had an experience of two of burning the paper to a crisp, so I wasn't chancing it with these beauties, so I just make sure I sprayed a copious amount of the cooking spray on the pans.  

Preparing the pretzel dough.



























After the dough rested for about 30 minutes, it should have had a nice rise to it. Now you can take it out and place on a floured area and cut the dough into about 8 pieces. The let the dough pieces again rest for about another 5 more minutes; this was hard, as the kids really wanted to get into making “snakes” with that dough!  While this is resting, mix the ½ cup warm water and baking soda in a shallow bowl, and mix well until the baking soda is completely dissolved. We had issues with this part, as I think perhaps the kids’ measurements were a bit off, so we modified this a bit. I ended up adding more hot water to the mixture to get the soda to completely dissolve, as it kept separating out on us and appeared to not dissolve all the way.  After your pretzel dip bath is ready, it’s time to start rolling! 
Alicia rolling out her "snakes."

























Take each piece and begin to roll them out into the “snakes” as the kids instructed me.  J  They should be fairly long, so that you can then make shapes for your pretzels. We went a bit creative on a few shapes, and make alphabets, as it was a great learning tool with them. I love to incorporate any type of teaching and learning lessons when I have their attention like that in the kitchen.  After you have shaped your pretzel, dip them into that baking soda bath and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with your coarse salt.  Dee suggested even sesame or other seeds might be delicious on them as well, and I agree; plus I think even a parmesan cheese or a little cinnamon/sugar mix might also be a nice treat too.  Again, let the shaped pretzels rest for another 10 minutes, uncovered, before you put them in the oven to bake. 

Getting ready to give the pretzel a bath. Ben still looks a bit skeptical of Alicia's "snake." 

Bake for about 7-9 minutes, depending on the shape of your pretzel, as some brown up faster than others, depending on the size. They should achieve a nice golden-brown color from the baking soda bath you dipped it into. Once the pretzels are removed from the oven brush them with some melted butter and enjoy while warm. Eat the pretzels warm, if you have any leftovers, just store them uncovered on plate or place in a paper bag and then rewarm them in the oven or microwave later. 
Success!  Golden brown soft pretzels proved to be a nice warm treat to the little tummies on a cold winter day. 

Stop by the other wonderful bloggers and visit their SRC selections for this month!
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

oatmeal drop cookies with the kids

Yummy note: It has been a crazy few weeks around our household with everything going on, but we still manage to find time to make some cookies. The kids and I tried out this oatmeal cookie recipe from an older Betty Crocker Cookbook I acquired a few years back. It is a pretty versatile recipe, as we swapped out the nuts for chocolate chips, and the kids aren't as fond of the raisins so we used more chocolate instead. Also we didn't have enough of the rolled oats, so we used a combination of mostly old-fashioned oats and some quick oats to make our version of these oatmeal drop cookies.


Oatmeal Drop Cookies 


Ingredients:
1/2 cup soft softening (we used Crisco)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
6 tbsp molasses
1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats (used combination of old-fashioned and quick oats)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips



Original Cookbook below with recipe pictured above















Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the soft shortening, sugar, eggs, and molasses until thoroughly mixed together. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, soda, and cinnamon. Add in the sifted ingredients to the above mixture. Last, add in your oats and chocolate chips until it is incorporated well. Then drop out cookie dough on to your lightly greased or prepared cooking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes until light brown.

My kitchen helpers and official taste testers...

 





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