Tuesday, May 1, 2012


With no job, this former student is really living up life as a stay at home wife.  I clean, I cook, I bake, I shop.  I'm also relentlessly bored; it's pretty clear I would make a miserable stay at home mom/wife.  I don't think I could handle it.  It should be interesting to see how the next few weeks go before I get my temp license and can start working again.

I have been having fun with the baking and home cooking though, and I am knocking things off my Pinterest list.  I claim zero nutritional value on last night's dinner, but it was a super yummy treat.

Homemade Soft Pretzels
Recipe taken from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/homemade-soft-pretzel-bites/ with my minor change and commentary in italics.
Can't go wrong starting with butter and brown sugar!
All ready to heat things up.
Getting the bites ready to boil
Came out kind of dark, but they're not burnt, I promise!
Pretzel pepperoni/meatball and cheese balls- dinner of champions!
Such a gross food when you think about it, but pretzel dogs were a favorite treat as a kid!

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted (which apparently is 6 tablespoons)
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt (skipped the salt)
For the cheese sauce: (Confession- we used some Velveeta we had hanging out in the fridge, and we didn't even die from eating plastic!  This sounds much yummier though!)
½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
½ Tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated


For the Pretzels: Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.  (I used about half the dough for pretzel bites.  I used a bit more to wrap two hot dogs, and what was left to make pepperoni/meatball and cheese balls.   It's a 3 course meal!  I would have added some cinnamon sugar bites for dessert, but somehow this household is out of sugar.  Insanity!)
Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Serve with cheese sauce.
To make the cheese sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese until smooth and all of the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste

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