Friday, July 22, 2011

Homemade Pretzels

We had a playdate on Tuesday and we made yummy soft pretzels with the kids.  I had to dust off the archives to find this one, since I haven't made them since the good 'ol Home Ec days.  I would call them easy, but with a lot of steps. It sure was a crowd pleaser!

Homemade Soft Pretzels
1 package dry yeast
1-1/3 cup warm water plus an extra 2 Tablespoons
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 cups flour
1/2 baking soda
water for boiling
sea or kosher salt for sprinkling
3 T. melted butter

Optional: Cinnamon sugar, mustard, nacho cheese, or pizza sauce are all nice toppings.

Dissolve the yeast in the 2 tablespoons of warm water.  Add remaining 1-1/3 water and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve. Gradually add 5 cups of flour. and mix in a mixer with a dough hook attachment. Mix until dough forms into a ball.

Meanwhile, boil 2-3 quarts of water with the  baking soda and preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Continue to knead ball until smooth.  Pinch off dough into golf ball sized chunks.  Roll the dough into a long snake.  Twist into a pretzel shape.

Lower the pretzel into the soda water and allow to boil for 30/60 seconds (or until it floats.) Remove from water and place on a greased cookie sheet. Spread with melted butter and top with salt, if desired.

Bake for 10 minutes in a 475 degree oven until golden.  Brush with butter again, Serve or roll in cinnamon sugar for a sweet version.

Embarrassing-ly Easy Chocolate Cookies

People may or may not know this, but mom and I had a craft business for many, many years called Hen and Chick.  We would peddle our wares at craft shows across the valley and eventually opened a storefront in Chino Valley for 2 years.  We tried to keep a country store atmosphere, handmaking most of the items.

One of the products we would distribute were these little recipe booklets from Jackie Ganaway. They were inexpensive and had good, tested recipes in them.  One book, "Lookie, Lookie, It's Going to be a Cookie!" had 50 recipes to make cookies out of cake mixes.

Our favorite is the Chocolate Cookies. They are the EASIEST cookie EVER!  The batch makes about 30 cookies, and we only have 9 left.  'nuff said.  :-)

Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies
1 box of devil's food cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together and form dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar.  Place on greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes until puffed and crackled. Cool on a tray.

Makes approx. 30 cookies.