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 ]

 

stress-free super bowl recipes

A collection of stress-free Wee Eats recipes that are perfect for your  super bowl party

(Click the picture to go to the recipe!)

Act 1 : Savories

1. Puff pastry makes these cheese twists super easy (to save time, you can make them in advance and freeze them!)

543914_520358348003784_1734403736_n

2. Make a batch of chili (or even sloppy joes) and serve it on top of hot dogs or tots to make a tasty snack! Or go vegetarian with some cheesy artichoke bread.

chili cheese tots

3. Cut the pretzel rope into 2-inch pieces for delicious pretzel bites.  You can bake these ahead of time, freeze the bites, and reheat them in the microwave or oven before serving! (Short on time? Try this 30-minute pretzel recipe instead!)

pretzel thumb

 4. With all the artery-clogging goodness you can eat at most football fiestas, sometimes a veggie or two is a nice break.  Or some super easy & portable bruschetta or flatbread should do the trick.

caprese thumb

5. This loaded potato dip takes about two minutes to make, and you can make it a day or two ahead of time.  Warning: You will want to double or triple the recipe to have enough to serve your ravenous guests.

loaded potato thumb

6. How about some sliders? The chipotle bacon variety, 5 chile turkey burgers, or just a build-your-own burger slider bar!

If you’re not in a burger mood, you could make sliders out of sloppy joes or (our favorite) beef sammies, too!

7. This easy salsa is made in your food processor or blender and only takes a few minutes!

salsa thumb

Act 2: Sweets

1. Cut these brownies into football-shaped bites if you want.  I’m sure they’ll be just as enjoyable as squares, though :)

btc brownie

2. Make these cake pops and cover them with sprinkles that match your team’s colors.

cake pop thumb

3. Mini oreo cheesecakes are a quick and easy (make-ahead) bite-size treat that are sure to please.  You could add food coloring to match them to your team’s color!

mini oreo cheese thumb

4. These toffee chip cookies are a favorite around these parts, they’re easy to make and you can freeze them pre or post baking to save yourself some time on game day.  Or give these giant chewy M&M-stuffed cookies a try.

toffee chip thumb

Act 3: Drinks

1. Start infusing vodka today with berries or pineapple and it should be ready by the time game-day arrives.  Tip: the smaller you slice your fruit the faster your vodka will infuse!

2. Cut this solid hot chocolate into football shapes and you’ll have super bowl hot chocolate on a stick!

hot chocolate stick

Collage

loaded potato dip

DSC_7805-2

With the Super Bowl coming up, I’ve already shared a couple of snacks with you, but here’s one I really love.  Not only is it the easiest thing in the world to make, and you can make it with ingredients that you most likely have in your house right now, but it is packed with flavor.

Or should I “loaded” with flavor?  (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

All you do is take all the stuff you would normally put on a baked potato: bacon, cheese, sour cream, etc… and put it into a bowl instead!  Stir it up and let it sit so the flavors can “mingle”, and then serve it up, on top of potatoes!

DSC_7800e

Well, potato chips.  Same thing.

If you’re worried about your waistline, or still hanging onto some shred of your New Year’s Resolution, do what I did and use reduced-fat sour cream and turkey bacon.  No one will ever know, unless you tell everyone about it on your blog later.

Oops?

Well, since you’re saving all those calories, you might as well double the recipe.

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • ½ cup sour cream (use reduced-fat if you feel guilty)
  • ½ cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 slices bacon or good turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried chives (because that’s what I keep in my pantry) or 1 Tablespoon fresh
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon (1 pinch) ground pepper

Stir everything else together, then sprinkle your extras on top and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for at least one hour or up to one week prior to serving.

Garnish with extra shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and chives if you’re feelin’ fancy.

Serve with your favorite potato chips (or baked kettle chips!)

Dip can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also like these party favorites:

 

 

fig thumb 543914_520358348003784_1734403736_n caprese thumb pretzel thumb

 

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

fig and prosciutto flatbread

DSC_7846edit

It’s Monday and I’ve got a treat for you.

It’s one of my favorites.

It combines creamy mascarpone cheese, sweet fig jam, salty prosciutto, and peppery arugula that satisfies any possible craving you could have all in one bite.

Usually I would make this as a crostini on sliced and toasted baguette. Unfortunately, it can become very tedious when you have to spread and layer ingredients onto a bajillion little pieces of bread.  So when I was planning Christmas Brunch, it occurred to me that I could save a lot of time if I just made one giant crostini… I briefly thought about slicing a baguette in half, toasting the halves and going from there, similar to my cheesy artichoke bread recipe.

Then, as I was scanning the fridge to find something for dinner, my eyes stopped on a package of pizza dough from Trader Joe’s.  It came to me all at once, it was so simple I couldn’t believe I hadn’t figured it out before: flatbread!

DSC_7857edit

Flatbread was the solution to my problem.  (How many people can say that?)

I could make one large flatbread and just cut it into a bunch of bite-size appetizers for people to snack on.  Just grill your pizza dough until it’s cooked through, add your toppings, slice and serve.  The result was the perfect super fast, super easy way to make my favorite appetizer.

Prosciutto Flatbread

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup fig jam
  • 8 ounces prosciutto
  • 4 cups arugula

Divide your dough into two equal portions and roll into a ball, set on a lightly-floured surface and cover with a towel.  Bring to room temperature for about 1 hour prior to cooking.

Heat griddle or grill to high heat (or heat the oven to 500 degrees and put the rack on the lowest rung).  If you’re using the oven here, you’ll want to start pre-heating it at least 30 minutes early.

Shape your dough, I just stretched mine out into an oblong shape.  You can try for a circle or rectangle if it suits you, but don’t drive yourself crazy over it.  Sometimes I prick it with a fork to make it slightly less bubbly, but I’m not convinced that it makes a huge difference.

Grill your bread until poofed and browned on one side, then flip and cook the other side.  If you’re using the oven, it’s pretty much the same concept, you can leave it in there un-flipped just keep cooking until both sides are browned and the dough is cooked through.  You’ll have to do this twice, because there are two pieces of dough.  If you’re using the grill it only takes a few minutes per side, super easy!

Let it cool slightly, then when you can handle it comfortably, spread a layer of mascarpone on the flatbread (I find this is easier for some reason to do with the back of a spoon, maybe because the flatbread isn’t totally flat).  Then spread a layer of fig jam over the layer of mascarpone.  They’re going to mix together, it’ll be okay.  You’re halfway there.

Now you have two options, prosciutto and then arugula, or arugula and then prosciutto.  I prefer the latter, I find that putting the prosciutto on top helps to hold the arugula onto the flatbread.  If I put the arugula on top I end up chasing it around as it falls off of every bite I take.

Then, that’s it!  You’re done!  Slice it up and eat it.