Friday, September 10, 2010

Re-post: Pretzels!

What's the first question out of your kids' mouths when they race in from school?

"What's for snack?!"

With the start of school, I've decided I want to have more homemade snacks available for my kids.  Not only is it cheaper, but I like to think that maybe it's a bit healthier, too.

With that said, here is a re-post from last year of one of my kids' favorite after-school (or anytime, for that matter) snacks!



Making pretzels


You know those pretzel joints in the mall that taste amazing but cost waaaaaay too much for one pretzel?  I notice that even the Golden Arches are getting into the pretzel business....and still charging way too much, I might add.  So when I saw a pretzel recipe in my latest cooking magazine, I had to try it.  They were wonderful, easy and so much cheaper!  Not to mention there's not a mall within 100 miles of here (literally).

What you need

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
4 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs light brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 large egg, separated
4 Tbs butter, melted
2 Tbs baking soda + 2 cups warm water
Coarse salt for sprinkling (I used Kosher, but I'm sure you could find "pretzel" salt in the store)

Begin by mixing the yeast and 1 1/2 cups warm water together.  Let this set for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile:  preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with either parchment paper (which I never have) or foil (which I always have) and spray that foil like crazy.  Believe me, these guys stick if not oiled well.  Amended to add:  I've started keeping parchment paper on hand and I really love it for things like this!  The pretzel bottoms stay crisp without sticking.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, brown sugar and 2 tsp. salt.  Mix in the egg yolk, melted butter and yeast mixture on low speed till the dough is smooth and elastic (about 5-7 minutes).  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the baking soda and 2 cups warm water and place next to your work area.  On the work space, divide your dough into as many pieces as you want pretzels.  The recipe said 6, but I've made 12 and 24 with this amount of dough, so make them as big (or little) as you like.  Roll each dough piece into thin rope.  Place into the baking soda water for about 30 seconds.  Take it out and form into a pretzel (or any shape that strikes your fancy).  Adam got really ambitious and tried doing it in one smooth motion like the guys at the mall.  You do what you want, nobody will know otherwise.


040


In a small bowl, beat the egg white with 1 Tbs water.  Brush the pretzels with the egg white mixture and sprinkle with plenty of salt.  Bake until deep golden, about 12-15 minutes.  If you've chosen to make more, smaller pretzels, then your time will go down to about 9-11 minutes.  Basically, just watch your dough.


Pretzels


And that's it!  These are best hot out of the oven, but Emma wanted them for her birthday treat at school for all her friends so Adam and I made them the night before.  The kids liked them so much they were all asking for the recipe!  I think these beat cupcakes and popsicles any day.

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