Soft Pretzels at Home!

Bagels and pretzels used to scare me because they involved kneading, boiling, and baking! Scary! Yeast used to terrify me, boiling bread just seemed ridiculous, and I used to shy away from baking quite a bit!

I guess it’s safe to say a lot has changed!

Today I made soft pretzels.

Rolling out the yeast risen bread…

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Boiling the bread… Gah!

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Baked!

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Great recipe for a rainy day and a killer one for your football party arsenal! I spotted the recipe on Foodgawker from Burried Carrots. Make sure you check out those dipping sauces she posted too!!

Here’s how I brought the recipe together.

1 (2 1/4 tsp) package rapid-rise yeast
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 cup water (at the temp your yeast package specifies)
1 T olive oil
Coarse salt for sprinkling boiled pretzels

Boiling water for the pretzels:
6 cups water
3 T baking soda

Combine the yeast, flour, and salt. Heat up the water and honey to your yeast’s specifications. I get mine into the low 120′s.

Use the dough hook on your stand mixer to mix the ingredients. Mix on low until the dough pulls away from the bowl. Next mix on speed 2 for 4 to 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you’re doing it By hand if should take about 8 to 10 minutes.

Oil the dough ball and rise in a warm place until doubled in size: 45 minutes to an hour.

Punch the dough down and then let it rise one more time for 30 minutes.

Punch down the dough again and portion the dough out into 12 pieces. Let the pieces rest, covered for 10 minutes. This will make the dough easier to roll out.

Now, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and get the boiling mixture going.

Roll out the dough into 20 inch ropes and twist into pretzels. Boil the pretzels for 30 seconds on each side, drain, and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake at 450 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes.

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Try not to eat all of them!! Pretzels alone are not a balanced diet!!

Failed Irish Whiskey Caramels

Since I bought a whole bottle of Jameson for a certain irish carbomb cupcake recipe, I’ve been wondering what else I could use it for.

Luckily, I came across a great recipe for irish whiskey caramels.

Unluckily, I failed. Apparently, I let the caramel get too hot when you take my elevation in Wyoming into consideration. Oops!!

The ingredients for the cream mixture.

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The first caramelization of the sugar.

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Cooking the caramel after combining the sugar and cream mixtures.

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I cooked the caramels to 248 degrees like the recipe said, but apparently the temperature can be finicky depending on your kitchen.

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So I ended up with an 8×8 inch hardened caramel. Doh!

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They aren’t bad as hard caramels, but what am I supposed to do with an 8×8 inch rock hard brick of caramel?? ;)

Maybe you’ll have better luck!!

Birthday Dinner!

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Crab and artichoke crusted filet mignon with sautéed broccolini. Delish guys!!

Birthday Cupcakes!

Last week was my 28th birthday and I had a very exciting plan for some cupcakes! I’ve bookmarked quite a few recipes on Foodgawker over the past couple of months. Many of them are cupcake recipes! :) I picked two of them to make for my birthday!

First was the Irish Carbomb Cupcake. An obvious St. Patrick’s Day inspiration!

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Second was a Mexican Chocolate Cupcake!

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For the Irish Carbomb Cupcake, I followed the recipe except for two things. For the ganache, I added twice the whiskey called for ;) and I added the whiskey after it had cooled a bit. For the frosting, I added about 1/2 cup less of the confectioners sugar.

For the Mexican Chocolate Cupcake, I wouldn’t change a thing! Just note that the recipe is made at high altitude in Denver!

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So the question is: are you on Team Irish Carbomb or Team Mexican Chocolate??

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Snack of the Day!

I came up with the most delightful snack yesterday!

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I sliced up a mango from my co-op basket and remembered I had some fresh mint to use up! Soooo, I fancied the mango up with some whipped cream and fresh mint!

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The mint went so well with the mango!! Crazy simple! Do it :)!

Fresh Fruit and Veggies!

This week I got my baskets of produce from Bountiful Baskets!

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That’s all the veggies (plus the pineapple) from my standard basket and an asian basket. I didn’t even know what one of the items was from the asian basket!

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After some debate about it being a jicama, I found out it’s a water chestnut!

Also, here’s all of the fruit I got in the standard basket.

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Visit their website and see if you can get this great deal on fruits and veggies!

Orange Cookies Gone Wild

Yesterday I finally made some orange cookies I’ve been meaning to make for about a month now!

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I found the recipe on my new addiction: Foodgawker.

Here is the recipe from Bake-Aholic:

Cookies:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup orange juice from the zested oranges
3 T orange zest

Icing:
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 T orange zest
2-3 T orange juice

For the cookies, cream the butter and the sugar. Next add one egg at a time and then mix in the sour cream. Last, slowly incorporate the sifted dry ingredients.

Drop by teaspoonfuls and bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes.

While the cookies bake, make the icing. I combined the butter and sugar first and then mixed in the zest and orange juice.

The night that I made these my boyfriend said I should’ve tried chocolate chips in them. Obviously it was a bit late for that but I came up with this twist!

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I had some extra ganache in my fridge from some cupcakes, so I decided to drizzle the ganache over the cookies! The ganache is super easy to make.

Over a double boiler whisk together the following ingredients until smooth:

4 ounces semi sweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream

I looked at Ina Garten’s recipe and also added 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee.

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I hope you all enjoy these!

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