Soft HomeMade Pretzels

 

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Ingredients: 

1 cup warm water (105°F)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
Vegetable oil
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus Maldon or Large grain salt for garnish
8 -10 cups water
1/8 cup baking soda

 

Method: 

With the vegetable oil, lightly grease a large bowl and two baking sheets- set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the warm water and sprinkle in the yeast and add sugar. Mix to combine. Set aside and allow to sit undisturbed for about 5-10 minutes until bubbles and froth begin to form.

Place the flour, and  1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and whisk to break up any lumps.

Once the yeast mixture is bubbly, add the flour mixture, and fit your mixer with a dough hook. Mix on the lowest setting until the dough  comes together, about 1 minute.

Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 8 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball, place it in the oiled mixing bowl, and turn to coat in the oil. Cover the bowl with a warm towel allow the dough to rest in a warm place until it doubles in size– about 35-45 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it until it’s smooth and springs back when poked, about 1 minute.

Turn the dough out onto a clean counter top surface, and cut dough into 12 equal pieces and place onto a lined cookie sheet. Keep covered with a light towel, or plastic wrap.

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll a 12-14 inch-long ropes and set them at your 12 o’clock to rest. Roll them all into ropes then shape.

Fold into an unfinished figure 8 then lifting the open ends twist twice and lay going back to the circle end opening. Shape into a pretzel.

Press the ends down to form a pretzel shape the best you can. Press  center of the twist to adhere to the rest of the pretzel. Gently lift and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces, fitting 6 pretzels per baking sheet.

Allow the shaped pretzels to rise again in a warm place until almost doubled in volume. About 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F degrees.

In a large deep sauce pan, bring the 6-8 cups of water to a boil over high heat.When the pretzels are billowy, remove the plastic wrap.

Reduce to a simmer. Stir the baking soda carefully, not to overspill. The water will foam up with baking soda is added.

Place  a few  uncooked pretzels, bottom side down, in the water. Boil for 1 minute, gently flip using a slotted spoon and continue to boil an additional minute.

Remove with the slotted spoon and place on a cookie cooling rack over paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining uncooked pretzels until they have all been boiled.

Paint the pretzels evenly with my recipe for egg wash, and sprinkle with Maldon or Kosher salt. Bake, rotating halfway through until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer immediately to a rack to cool. Serve with  your favorite yummy mustard.

 

Variations:

After baking, dip in melted butter sprinkle on salt and serve.

After baking dip in butter butter and sprinkle on a 50/50 mixture of cinnamon and sugar

Before baking glaze with egg wash and salt before baking for a shiny pretzel

 

 Makes 10-12 Medium Sized Soft Pretzels

How to Make a 10 Minute Dashi Broth

 

dashi_bowlWhat is Dashi? Dashi is a very simple broth that is  one of the cornerstones of Japanese cooking. It is made with kombu (dried kelp), and bonito fish flakes. The results produce an amazing flavorful clear broth. One that has the taste and smell of a fresh salty ocean. Dashi is so flavorful it activates the Umami taste receptors of our tongues and because of that Dashi and will enhance any  of your dishes without taking center stage in flavor. Great flavor enhancer for picky eaters.

Dashi is definitely a professional chef’s secret weapon in the kitchen. 

 

Ingredients:

4 cups filtered water

2-3 inch piece of kombu

1/2- 3/4 cup loosely packed dried bonito flakes

Special Equipment:

Mesh strainer

Cheesecloth

 

Method:

In a small 1 quart saucepan, over medium heat combine 3 cups of the water and kombu. Bring to a boil. Remove the kombu from the water just before it comes to a full boil. Do not allow the kombu to boil. ( Your broth will result in a bitter flavor and also become cloudy if kombu is allowed to boil )

Once the kombu is removed, add the bonito flakes and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for an additional 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat, and allow the bonito flakes to steep in the pan for an additional 5 minutes, or overnight for a deep rich flavorful broth.

Strain the bonito flakes into a cheese cloth lined, mesh strainer. Add the additional 1 cup of filtered water. Use, or store in an air tight jar in the fridge up to a week.

Use as you would broth or stock to enhance all your soups and stews. Freeze in ice cube trays to use for an immediate pan sauce.

Freeze up to 1 month. Makes approximately 4 cups.

 

PHOTO CREDIT : The Humble Bean 

 

Homemade Bacon-Maple Butter

Delicious on just about anything including a good grilled steak. Love this on my recipe for homemade pumpkin spiced flap-jacks, or extra toasty waffles. The best part about making this homemade bacon-maple butter, is that your entire house will smell like holiday ( Insert big, happy sigh.)

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Ingredients:

1/2 lb. unsalted butter, cut into approximately 1 inch pieces and frozen

4 strips of bacon, cooked crispy. (1 Tablespoon of fat reserved)

1 Tablespoon bacon fat ( optional )

1-1/2 cups grade A medium maple syrup

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Method: 

In a medium sized, 3-4 quart heavy bottomed,stainless-steel saucepan,rub the inside rim with 1/2 teaspoon of the butter. (This will help prevent the maple syrup from boiling over.) Add the Maple syrup to the sauce pan and cook without stirring on medium high heat until the syrup reaches 235”F Degrees on a candy thermometer. About 8 to 10 minutes. When the syrup begins to boil gently tilt the pan so the syrup covers the thermometer bulb to get an accurate reading.

Once syrup comes to temperature, remove from heat and add the frozen butter 1-2 pieces at a time. Make sure to stir constantly with a wooden spoon until each addition of butter has melted before incorporating more. Repeat until all the butter has been added.

Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the salt and the bacon fat.Stir to combine.

Pour the syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer, or use and electric hand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until cooled and lighter in color and about 10-15 minutes. Gently crumble, and fold in bacon bits until just combine or add before pressing for a smoother bacon texture.

Pour the bacon maple butter into clean mason jars, recycled food safe jars, or BPF free plastic containers. Allow to cool to room temperature. Seal air-tight and refrigerate. Can be stored up to, two weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

 

Makes approximately 1 pint.

Variation : Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and for a spicy finish– add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Or both! You decide.

 

 

Pumpkin Spiced FlapJacks with Bacon Maple Butter

This recipe is best when made with fresh pumpkin puree. Pancakes won’t be so orange and the batter will result in a lighter, fluffier pancake. If pumpkins are not in season, or you are rushed for time– it’s fine to use canned pumpkin.

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Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour or, all purpose flour or gluten free flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup  fresh pumpkin puree or good quality canned pumpkin puree

3 large eggs, separated

1  cup whole milk or nut milk

1/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Organic Canola for the cooking pan

Maple syrup or honey, warmed

My bacon maple butter recipe ( see my recipe here )

Preparation:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda with the salt. Mix well to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk  the milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla with an electric mixer beat on high speed two minutes to blend well.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin and egg mixture and beat on low speed until batter is smooth but thick. About 1 minute. Set aside. Wash beaters with soapy water and clean well of any remaining batter. In a large bowl using your electric mixer with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.

With a rubber spatular, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the pumpkin batter in 2- 3 additions.

Brush large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium heat.

Working in batches, with a large ladel pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. Use the back of the ladle to make a circular motion in the batter and shape the pancake to about a 4-5 inch circle.

Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with oil between batches.

Top with my recipe for, Bacon Maple Butter and serve with warm maple syrup or honey.

 

Drunken Bacon for that “Grown-up” Sunday Brunch you’ve been longing for ! (This Bacon is Hot, Sweet and Sticky, so be prepared to have   “Breakfast in Bed!” )


Clothing optional ! I’d serve these sexy bits of heaven with a side of warm melted chocolate – but that’s just me. #ParentsDayOff 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup good quality pure maple syrup

1/4 cup good quality Bourbon 

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 pounds, 3/4-inch-thick slices of skinless slab bacon

Method:

Preheat oven to 350’F Degrees. 
In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon and orange zest. Place bacon strips into the whisky marinade and toss until the bacon is evenly coated. Allow to rest a minimum of 20 minutes, up to one hour.

Line a 2 high sided baking sheets with foil and place a cookie cooling rack on top of each sheet. Spray cookie cooling racks with non-stick cooking spray.

Lay bacon on the racks in a flat even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy. 

Watch closely the last 5 minutes because the bacon will burn very quickly towards the end of the cooking process. 

Cool before serving.
Enjoy