Soft Pretzels

Today I went shopping with my daughter and granddaughters.  We had a yummy snack at the pretzel shack in the mall. Their soft pretzel bites and pretzel dogs (mini pigs in a blanket) were soooooo yummy I had to come home and make some!

Here’s my yummy soft pretzels! 
Soft Pretzels took some time but were easy to make, and VERY light and soft. 

 I found a recipe from Smitten Kitchen HERE.  She adapted her recipe from Martha Stewart’s. Then I looked at 3 more recipes and read comments for about an hour. Then I looked up recipes on the Food Network and All  I chose this recipe because of all the positive comments. It is from the FOOD NETWORK. It is Alton Brown’s recipe and there was also a video. The link is HERE.

Then I watched a few you tubes on pretzel making and Martha Stewart had a video too. Those are THE BEST ways to learn how to cook something! You tube videos!! I adapted this one after making it.  My recipe has a little more sugar and less salt. And I did not bake mine as long. I like them lighter and soft, not hard on the outside so I added DOUGH ENHANCER POWDER.

My dough mixed up and ready to cover…..

 Mix the warm water and sugar and then sprinkle on the yeast packet. Let it sit until it is foamy. They call that “proofing” the yeast, it will take 5 minutes. Then add the salt and melted butter and put your dough hook on your mixmaster. Add a cup of flour to start. 

Add the rest of the flour and some dough enhancer.  Knead for a few minutes.  
The Dough Enhancer makes bread softer and doughier. You can get it from Bosch bread making supply store.  They were easy and yummy and kinda fun! 

Soft Pretzels (my recipe adapted from Alton Brown)
1 package instant dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons melted BUTTER
1 teaspoon dough enhancer (optional for softer pretzels)
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Mix, knead, let rise for an hour, then roll out and make your pretzels. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheets and bake for 6 to 7 minutes at 425 degrees.

Now we are ready to roll the pretzel dough out… has puffed up quite a bit….
 Always use less flour to start on any bread recipe. Then slowly add in by cupfuls.  This dough was smooth, not really very sticky at all. 

Then place dough ball in an oiled pan and cover for an hour to let it rise. Then I rolled it out on my surface.  Make a big rectangle shape. My dough was about 1/2 inch thick, maybe a little less. 
I rolled pretzel dough  into a rectangle…..
Get your pizza cutter and cut the dough down the middle, then 2 more times to make 4 sections. Then cut each section into 3 or 5 strips, depending upon how large or small you want your pretzels. 
Cut Soft Pretzel Dough into 4 sections with a pizza cutter, and then cut each section into 5  skinny strips….to make 20 pretzels.

If it is for a party I recommend the 5 strips. This will give you 20 good, 3 inch bite sized pretzels. If you do the larger (palm sized thick pretzels) 3 strips will make 12 big and soft 5 inch pretzels. 

                            Here were my ingredients….and my cute new RACHEL RAY PAN! It is oval, and orange, with a soft, rubber handle and with a pour spout. SO CUTE right? I love her stuff! I got it on sale at J. C. Pennys! Only $15 bucks and I had a 20% off coupon if I opened a charge (yes I’m a sucker for a coupon!). 

(Mix a bath of 5 cups hot water to 1/3 cup baking soda in a deep fry pan. Set on warm on stove for after pretzels are made and formed.) 
I mixed up the baking soda and water hot bath….left it on low on the stove and then formed my pretzels….
They take less than a minute each in the hot water bath…just like a bagel!
I played with my dough making all kinds of shapes….it would be so fun for kids to do too! 
Roll it, flip it twice around, then turn each end up and pinch…
To roll them I made a long snake, 12 to 16 inches long, and then make make a loop, then twist it once again and take the tails and flip them up to the round loop and press them down. Then I turned each one over. 
Soft Pretzels.   That’s it!  
Then drop them in the baking soda and hot water bath….just for like 45 seconds each…
Pick pretzels up with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper on it..
More playing with soft pretzel dough….lol…..
Oh boy is this fun! I got about 3 cookie sheets full…About 20 pretzels….

Top each pretzel with a sprinkle of kosher salt before baking. (not much, or too salty!)
Sprinkled on the salt….
Then ready to bake! 
Bake in 425 oven for 5 1/2  to 71/2  minutes. Watch them as each oven is a little different. My top shelf cooked them faster than my bottom shelf too, so I had an extra minute on the lower shelf of pretzels.
Here they are just hot out of the oven….soft and yummy….If you like them hard on the outside just do an egg wash and cook them a bit longer in the oven…they will have a stiffer, smooth and chewy outside…..
Add the melted butter on with a silicone brush….
When they come out of the oven brush them with melted butter and a silicone brush. EAT! They are lightly crisp on the outside and buttery chewy inside. Yummy! The hubs loved them! He loves anything salty. 
Oh yeah….that’s what I’m talkin about!  I brought them to my classroom the next day
for our little cast party….we are doing 4 little fairy tale plays….I brought O.J. to go with them…yum! 
Dip them in chili, or light cream cheese, or cinnamon and sugar or just plain. Next time I’ll try putting a 1/4 slice of hot dog inside each one and make pretzel dogs! That would go great with mustard. mmmm………

Super Bowl Party Foods

Which team will win the Super Bowl on Sunday?  There are always some sports fans among my classroom kids who know the players and the teams. They even knew the team colors, can you believe that?  They all love Tom Brady and think he’s going to be on the winning team.

We each cut out a football to “VOTE” for our Team! Go Team!

Well, we shall see.   I have a fun little challenge for my classroom kids.  Those who predict the winner correctly will win a football sweatband for their wrist.  Those that predict incorrectly get to do 12 pushups.    I have lost in years past. It wasn’t pretty watching me trying to do PUSH-UPS EITHER!

Our class graph….looks like the Patriots might be the favorite!  

This easy baked brie has dried cherries and pecans and jam inside. I shape it like a football and then cover it with puff pastry. The recipe for the Baked Brie is HERE.  At the Pepperidge Farm Website you can also watch a video on how to make the Baked Brie. It is to die for Yummy as a cracker dip!

Super Bowl Baked Brie with Puff Pastry

I shaped my Baked Brie cheese like a football using the Pepperidge Farm  Frozen Puff Pastry

I put the letters on with the extra puff pastry. I fill it with raspberry jam, some brown sugar, pecans and dried cherries. I bake it till just before the Super Bowl starts.  Triscuits, Pretzel Ritz and Wheat Thins are good with it…..

Yummy baked brie with dried cranberries and pecans inside..

This yummy stuff is my black bean and corn and avocado salsa.  It’s a really fresh and delicious SALSA. 

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This yummy black bean salsa is made from black eyed peas OR black beans, white sweet corn, green pepper, avocado, tomato, cilantro and purple onion, with a few dashes of lime and Italian Salad Dressing and salt and pepper. It’s a crowd pleaser with Tostitos and these yummy pretzel crackers. and very filling!

Touchdown Treats
Cute little football player cupcakes would be so fun for the kids at a Super Bowl Party…..not to mention the big, male kids who are attending the party!!! lol….. you know who you are! 

HERE at the Family Fun website I found these cute cupcake football players I thought would be super cute to make for a Super Bowl Get together……M and Ms for the eyes and yellow buttons, black skinny licorice for the facemask.  Kids would LOVE these.

These football  cookies were from “On the Record Sports” and would be easy to make
from a chocolate cookie recipe….Only need a little icing in white!
Here at Luxe Finds was a cute way to do your  Super bowl 7 layer dip!

 I’d make the guacamole layer show on top and make lines from a piped bag of sour cream….then top with 2 colors of cherry tomatoes….so cute! 

Now here’s my dipped strawberries…what if you added the white FOOTBALL laces in white chocolate on
top OF EACH chocolate strawberry….and removed the stems…wouldn’t they look like footballs? Yeah they would….yum…another idea….
Football Cupcakes.jpg
Here at Houston Press is a great recipe for making these cute football cupcakes for Super Bowl Sunday. 

Oh WOW…. these “football” shaped cupcakes look yummy AND EASY….
or make them as sugar cookies topped with chocolate icing and the white lacing….EASY PEASY!

Or you could do soft pretzels. Check them out HERE at Weekday Chef. They are yummy. I’ve made the pretzels shaped like pretzels or just as pretzel bites. They are a bit time consuming but not really all that hard 

Soft Pretzels:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt
For the cheese sauce:
½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
½ Tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
Directions for Soft Pretzels 
Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
You boil them first, then bake them second. They turn out great every time! 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat and add the baking soda.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. 

Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
Those will be good Super Bowl Party foods, won’t they?
They’ll go nicely with PIGS IN A BLANKET  and CHICKEN WINGS FOR SURE!