30 minute soft pretzels

DSC_0487-2-1024x680

 

I first saw this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction and was immediately enthralled by the idea of having soft pretzels in 30 minutes.  You see, I already have my favorite soft pretzel recipe down to a T, but I don’t make them very often just due to the amount of time and work involved.  It’s not that they are difficult to make, it’s just that they take time.  Time to make the dough, time to less the dough rise, time to roll and shape and boil the dough… all of this time adds up quickly, you see.

30 minutes, on the other hand.  30 minutes I could handle.

DSC_0476 pretzel

 

I was very skeptical when I read the recipe and it called for active dry yeast.  It seemed so… wrong.  My first thought was to replace the standard active dry yeast with the RapidRise variety, but I didn’t.  I decided to try the recipeas written (more or less), adding a few of the things that I think make my favorite recipe taste so great.

The result was respectable.  The pretzel, while tasty, didn’t have the traditional pretzel mouth-feel and texture (I suspect from the lack of boiling) but It was still a totally respectable snack, especially considering the time saved.  Also, since boiling was removed from the equation, it makes these pretzels the perfect recipe for baking alongside your little ones, they could even make fun pretzel shapes!

30 minute soft pretzels

Yield: Makes 16 Soft Pretzels

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups warm water (warm, NOT HOT, if you can't keep your finger in the water for a few seconds it's too hot)
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 – 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
  • coarse salt for sprinkling (a cinnamon-sugar sprinkle also works well for a sweet version)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat (DO NOT USE FOIL OR YOUR PRETZELS WILL STICK). Set aside.
  2. Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and melted butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit until mixture is nice and foamy (appx 5 minutes).
  3. Mix 1 cup of flour with salt and stir into yeast mixture. Slowly add remaining 3 cups of flour 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick*. Continue to add more flour until dough is no longer sticky. It is ready to knead when it's springy and bounces back after poking with your finger.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic,about 5 minutes, and shape into 2 balls. With a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut each ball of dough into 8 triangle sections. (I weighed this for you, but then promptly forgot to write it down so I have no idea what the actual “measurement” is. I’m so sorry.)
  5. Once cut into triangles, roll each triangle into a ball and shape into pretzels. Leave the remaining dough covered with a kitchen towel to keep it from drying out while you shape the pretzels.
  6. To shape the pretzels:
  7. Take one small dough ball and roll it into a rope, I recommend 18 to 22 inches long, depending on how big you want your pretzels to be. The process of rolling is hard to explain, so I made you a video to help! That makes up for me forgetting the weights, right?
  8. When Ready to Bake
  9. In a wide, shallow bowl, beat the egg and water together. Dunk both sides of the pretzel into the egg mixture and allow excess to drip off before placing onto your baking sheet. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt.
  10. Bake the pretzels for 10 minutes at 425F degrees. Turn the oven to broil and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the tops. Watch closely to avoid burning.
  11. I recommend wrapping extra pretzels in foil for storage, make sure they are completely cooled. They will keep for a few days at room temp, but freezing is definitely the way to go. They are best reheated in a 400 degree oven, but can be microwaved for about 30 to 45 seconds as well.

Notes

* If using a stand mixer, mix first cup of flour & salt on low until just incorporated. Add remaining 3 cups of flour and mix on low until incorporated. Increase speed to medium until dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 minutes.

http://wee-eats.com/2013/09/07/30-minute-soft-pretzels/

 

DSC_0487-1 pin

[ Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction ]

 

fig and prosciutto bruschetta

bruschetta prosciutto 9817

This is kinda a cheater recipe, because I’ve told you about it before, and recreated it in flatbread form.  But here is its original form – mascarpone and fig spread on toasted baguette slices, arugula and prosciutto.

bruschetta prosciutto 9821

It’s delicious in all of its forms – you can leave it vegetarian without the prosciutto, or even just the mascarpone and fig.  Or try all three.  So good.

Fig & Prosciutto Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 baguette
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup fig jam, I use this kind
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 ounces prosciutto

 

1.  Slice baguette on the bias into ¼ -inch slices and toast under the broiler on both sides.

2.  Spread each toast with mascarpone, then with fig jam.  Top each toast with arugula and then prosciutto.  Putting the prosciutto on top helps to hold the arugula in place, which makes these much easier to handle.

 

s’more popcorn

smore popcorn 9860

Summer has arrived in Arizona, with our highs consistently in the upper 90s and 100s I know that no-burn days a right around the corner.  No burn days are these horrible things that were invented to prevent humans  from enjoying delicious s’mores.  They SAY it’s for air quality, but I’m pretty sure they just hate happiness.

And s’mores.

So every summer these terrible days stand between me and a delicious s’more… and trust me, you DO NOT want to be between me and my dessert.  That is not a safe place for anyone to be.

So what can I do?  Plan ahead.

A good contingency plan can be the difference between life and death, people.  LIFE AND DEATH.

So how will I feed my s’more addiction when I can’t roast marshmallows?  HOW!?

BF came to the rescue on this one, when he sent me this post from Buzzfeed.  I was not surprised to see that I had all of the necessary ingredients on hand.

smore popcorn 1041

Thus I discovered what is one of the easiest and most delicious snacks of all time.  The only thing that would have made it better is if I had Golden Grahams in the pantry.  I think they would’ve actually worked better than just the crushed graham crackers, but then maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to make this again.

I used  this “simply salted” popcorn which has just a hint of salt, leaving it like a blank canvas on which to paint my flavor brush.  Sure popping popcorn isn’t rocket science, but when it means one less pan to clean, how can I resist?

I can’t.

smore popcorn 1043

S’more Popcorn

Makes about 10 cups s’more popcorn

Printable Recipe

  • 1 3-oz. bag microwave popcorn, popped (or 10 cups popped popcorn)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • One 10-oz. bag mini marshmallows, divided
  • 1 sleeve graham crackers (9 crackers) or a generous sprinkling of Golden Grahams cereal
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • Salt to taste

1. Pop popcorn according to package directions – 2 minutes and 25 seconds is the magic time in case you were wondering.  At least for our microwave it seems to be.  You could also pop popcorn on the stovetop if you wanna be all old-fashioned-like.  Spread popcorn on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with crumbled graham crackers.

2. Heat butter, half of the chocolate chips, and half of the marshmallows in the microwave until the butter is melted, stir to combine.

3. Drizzle marshmallow mixture evenly over the popcorn and toss to combine.

4. Once the popcorn is well-coated with the marshmallow mixture, add the unmelted marshmallows and chocolate chips and toss everything together.  Sprinkle with additional salt to taste.

5. Let cool completely then transfer to a paper bag for storage (in the unlikely event that you have any left)

 

[ Adapted from BuzzFeed ]

m4s0n501

easy cheesy twists

DSC_8100

I don’t know if I’m still tired from the holidays or if it’s just because hockey is back, but I’ve been fixated on fast and easy appetizers.  I’m sure that this will wear off eventually, but for now I’m still trying to make things that I can throw together super fast without sacrificing flavor, like last week’s prosciutto flatbread.  Given my past success with puff pastry shortcuts, that was naturally one of the first things I thought of.

These cheesy twists are the perfect, easy appetizer for your next get together.  They require minimal effort AND you can make them in advance.  Yep.  That means you can spend like 30 minutes (if even) in the kitchen today, and freeze these and have them ready at the drop of a hat for the next time you have guests over.  That easy.

I used parmesan cheese because I know it gets nice and crispy.  I debated cheddar as well, but, ya know.  That would have taken me twice as long.  I’ve got another sheet of puff pastry on ice with cheddar written all over it.  I would go with any sharp cheese, you want it to have lots of flavor, because the pastry itself isn’t super flavorful.  If not parmesan, a good pecorino or asiago would certainly do the trick.  I also added a sprinkle of garlic powder, a dash of smoked paprika, and a hint of cayenne for a little bit of kick, but the skies the limit here.

Easy Cheesy Twists

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed.
  • 2 ½ ounces (a little over ⅓ cup) parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne
  • salt
  • Egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment.

2. Roll puff pastry to smooth folds. Roll to about 12 inch by 10 inch rectangle.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the cheese and spices.

4. Rub surface of puff pastry with egg wash.  Sprinkle cheese mixture over half of the puff pastry and fold the un-cheesed half over the cheesed half.  Roll again to press the two sides together, you should now have a rectangle that is 6 or 7 inches by 10 inches.

5. Cut rectangle into ½-inch strips, you’ll end up with about 20 strips.  Grab each end of a strip and twist until you have a spiral.  Place on the baking sheet, and continue twisting each strip until they’re all twisted.

6. Now you have a choice – bake now or freeze for later

To bake now: Brush each strip with egg wash, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 13 minutes until nice and golden.

To freeze: Place baking sheet in the freezer 40 minutes or until frozen.  Move twists into a freezer-proof bag and freeze until you’re ready to make them.  To bake from frozen, add an extra 2 – 3 minutes onto the baking time.

 

 

You may also like these easy bites:

cheesy artichoke bread  avocado fries  ccroll

thursday things

wonton ravioli main

It’s Thursday!

Not quite Friday, but so close I can taste it.

We’ve had a lot going on at work, this is the time of year that we get super busy, so work like crazy all day long, go home, and crash super hard. It makes it hard to do things like, I don’t know, import all those food photos I’ve taken and type up a post. So hard.

As my time becomes more limited I turn to easier recipes, shorter posts, and less pictures. I made these surprisingly good raviolis with wonton wrappers of all things. I had just enough time for BF to snap a pic with his iPad before we devoured them for dinner… I know, I’m pitiful. I wasn’t really even planning on liking/posting the recipe so, whatever. Don’t judge.

Now, they aren’t like regular ravioli. The wonton wrapper is much thinner and more delicate than typical ravioli dough, but I actually enjoyed that. It was like a much lighter pasta that allowed the flavor of the filling to really shine through. I dunno, I liked them. A lot more than I expected to. Especially since I’m not a huge ravioli fan. Boyfriend enjoyed them too, and he is a fan of ravioli, so there must be something good going on there…

Oh, and Thursday’s Serious Eats Sweets lineup also featured my croissants – woot! A picture, by the way, that wasn’t good enough for stupid Tastespotting’s 100×100 pixels. If you have a lot of free time this weekend, you should probably make them. And by probably, I mean definitely. Definitely make them. So good.

Don’t they just look scrumptious?

I’m also dreaming about this cake recipe I saw on Food & Wine, but BFF told me I should probably give the chocolate cakes a rest and make something light and fruity… which I was totally considering until I saw that cake… I mean, it’s just so bizarre… a crunchy almond filling (that when I read, I realized was awful close to a macaron recipe) PLUS peanut butter PLUS rice krispies… I think I have to make it. At this point, I don’t think it’s even my choice anymore. It just has to be done. This is F&W’s picture, not mine. (Obviously, since I haven’t made it yet).

Without further ado, here is a quick ravioli recipe to make while your croissant dough is resting…. I filled mine with a plethora of cheese, only because I went on a recent cheese binge at Trader Joes and we have enough cheese to feed a small country for several weeks… feel free to fill yours with whatever you like. Boyfriend even recommended I fill them with my bolognese sauce or meatballs, but by then they were already closed up and ready to go so maybe next time, love.

My recipe only uses half the wonton wrappers, partly because I wanted to experiment with the rest, and partly because I got tired of making them. Feel free to double the recipe (but stick with one egg) if you want more ravioli. These are estimates, just shove whatever you want in there, it’ll be fine :)

Wonton Raviolis

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1/2 package wonton wrappers
  • 1/2 lb ricotta (use full fat, it has SO MUCH MORE flavor)
  • 1/4 cup each parmesan, pecorino, fontina… whatever else you like.
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • generous sprinkle of salt
  • any other additions you want to add (cooked italian sausage, prosciutto, whatever)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten + additional egg for egg wash

1. Mix together ricotta, cheeses, herbs, salt, 1 egg, and any other fillings you may want to add.

2. Lay out wonton wrappers and place about 1 teaspoon of filling in each.

3. Make egg wash by beating your additional egg with one tablespoon of water. Rub egg wash around the outside of each wonton wrapper, folding each wrapper in half as you go. Make sure you press around the filling first, and then press the edges together. Get as much air out of the filling as possible to ensure your ravioli don’t burst while cooking.

4. Store in refrigerator up to one day or freeze** until you feel like having ravioli.

5. When ready to cook, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and reduce heat so that the water isn’t at a violent rolling boil, but more of a gentle simmer-y boil. Drop ravioli in a few at a time and cook for about 3 minutes each, until they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon into a separate pan with your warmed sauce as they finish, adding more as necessary until they are all cooked. Remember to be gentle, since the “shells” for these ravioli are so thin that they will tear or burst more easily than regular ravioli. 

I boiled my ravioli, transferred them to a wide bottomed pan with warm sauce and spooned the sauce over them, then drizzled them with a tiny bit of oil, and garnished with fresh basil. It was delicious. 

**To freeze ravioli, line a large plate or baking sheet with parchment and place sealed ravioli in a single layer. Freeze until firm and then transfer frozen ravioli into a freezer safe bag. To cook, bring water to a gently boil cook ravioli until they float to the surface.