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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Aunt Annies Got Nothing On Me


I am sure on one of the many trips to the mall you have stopped in at Aunt Annie's and have enjoyed a soft warm pretzel or two. I admit I have had my share. I prefer the salty kind with mustard on the side, to the sweet with cinnamon and sugar. I have even tried the pretzel jalapeno hot dog. Loved the pretzel jalapeno part, thought the hot dog was very salty. I have even experimented with the frozen kind you make in the microwave. I found them to be okay, but nothing beats a pretzel fresh out of the oven.






Soft Pretzels

Dough
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flours
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of sugar
1 package of active dry yeast (1/4oz) fast rising or regular will work fine
1 cup warm water plus about 3 more tablespoons

Baking Soda Wash
1 cup of hot water
4 tsp. baking soda

Topping
6 tbsp. butter melted
Kosher or sea salt (course)

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees

To bloom the yeast, place yeast in small bowl or cup with warm water and stir until dissolved.  

Place the remaining ingredients for the dough in bowl. Stir in the yeast and water. Mix with a wooden spoon until it pulls away from the side of the bowl. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. The dough should be very smooth, soft and pliable.

When the dough is ready, just pat into a ball and place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil, cover with cling wrap and put it in a warm dark place let it rise to double the size (takes about 40 minutes to an hour).

Once dough has risen punch it down and roll it out into a 10 x 12 rectangle. Cut into ½ inch strips the long way. Take each strip of dough and roll it out like a rope (just like you used to do with play-doh) making it about 18 inches long. To form pretzel hold each end and twist twice, before lying down on the cookie sheet to form pretzel. Do this with each strip of dough.






Now make the baking soda wash. Dissolve baking soda in water warmed in the microwave. I dip each pretzel into the bowl for about 30 seconds. But you could brush it on it if you like. Place each pretzel on a cookie sheet leaving some space between them as they will rise. Cook for about 8-12 minutes in the oven. Pretzel will be dark in color.




As soon as you take them out of the oven brush them with butter and sprinkle with salt. 




Serve warm with your favorite mustard or sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. 


Notes:

Mine did not darken as much as they should have on the top, but were on bottom. I am assuming it was the placement in my oven. Will need to try a higher shelf in my oven.
You could also wrap this dough around your favorite hotdog. Be sure to still dip in the baking soda wash and bake until pretzel has browned.







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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cookie Delivery

Tired of the same old birthday cake?  Make a large pizza sized cookie and deliver it in a pizza box.   Makes a great gift as well as a yummy dessert.

This recipe will make two large pizza sized cookies.   The cookie itself is not terribly sweet.   You can use the frosting recipe provided or your favorite frosting recipe.  




Soft Sugar Cookies

Cookies:
6 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups light sour cream

Frosting:
1 cup milk
1 pkg. sugar free cheesecake instant pudding
1 tub extra creamy cool whip
2 pkgs cream cheese

Various fruits for topping (fresh blueberries, strawberries, black berries, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple) 

In a medium bowl, whisk 5 cups of flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough needs to obtain the right consistency for rolling, so add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until this is achieved (up to 1 cup more flour). Divide dough into two sections. Flatten into rectangles about 1 1/2 inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap.
 
Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.

Generously flour a work area and rolling pin. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until pale golden. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting:
To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese. 

In a small bowl.  Mix cup of milk with the instant pudding.  Whisk until combined let set for a few minutes. Add to creamed cream cheese and blend on low until combined.  Add container of cool whip.  

Frost cookie.  Top with fresh fruit.
 
NOTES:   Instead of making several small cookies.  Roll out dough on parchment paper into a large pizza size cookie. Place parchment and cookie on cookie sheet or baking stone and   bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.   Let cool completely before frosting. 
 



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