Soft Pretzels

I’m more sore than I can possibly explain.  Like so sore I can’t sleep.

Don’t worry, I’m not going crazy with resolutions.  I’ve been going to crossfit 3-4 times per week for the past few months.  This week I’ve gone twice, and my shoulders and back are killing me.  But enough about soreness, because aside from my aching shoulders something else is bothering me this time of year: diet-palooza.

I love all the salad recipes floating around, and I’m all for people getting healthy.  I wish it would happen year round, not just the first 3 weeks of January.

But can we call agree to stop calling lighter versions of fatty foods “skinny”?  You know what I’m talking about.

Skinny Vanilla Latte=  Latte with Low-Fat Milk and Sugar Free Syrup
Skinny Nacho Dip= Some sort of cheesy dip probably made with non-fat greek yogurt
Skinny Onion Rings= No, they’re not just cut thin. They’re probably FAT pieces of onion rolled in whole wheat bread crumbs and baked.

I absolutely hate the word “skinny” when it comes to people and food.  I’m going to avoid “skinny” and talk about something that will get you nowhere toward achieving the goal of “skinny”… Soft Pretzels

Carb-y. Delicious.  Thigh-gap’s worst nightmare.

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Soft Pretzel

from Chow

1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)    
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)    
Canola oil spray (like Pam or whatever)    
2 3/4 cups bread flour    
1 tablespoon sugar    
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling    
6 cups water    
1/4 cup baking soda

Place warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer.  I don’t measure the temperature, I just turn the water on hot from the sink and that’s usually the right temperature.  Add yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.  If your yeast/water combo isn’t bubbley, throw it out.  It’s no good!

In another bowl, whisk together bread flour, sugar and salt.  Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer.  Add flour to yeast mixture and turn your mixer on low.  Mix for 10 minutes.   Transfer dough to a greased bowl.  Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise for half an hour.

Prep your baking sheets by lining two baking sheets with parchment paper and spraying with cooking spray.  Once your dough has risen, punch down and knead by hand for another minute.  Divide dough into 16 small balls.  Take each ball and roll into a long string, then twist into pretzel shape.  For photos on how to do this, check out Chow.

Place prepared pretzels on baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat your oven to 425F and boil 6 cups of water.  Once water has boiled, add baking soda.  Add pretzels (depending on the size of your pot, you might be able to fit 4-5 pretzels at a time).  Boil one minute per side.  Then transfer to baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.

Once you’ve boiled them all.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dark brown.  Allow to cool and serve!

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If you’re still feeling the resolutions, feel free to have this with some skinny cheese-beer dip.  I’m sure you can find that recipe somewhere on Pinterest.  Just kidding.

But for real.  These pretzels are awesome and surprisingly easier to make than I would have expected!

How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?

I’m slowly on my way to being able to do a pullup.  I did one with the thinnest red band this week! Woo!

Peanut Butter Honey “Bee’s Knees” Pie

Can we talk about TV for a minute?  For my birthday, Jesse got me a Kindle Fire.

I was super excited to have an ebook reader, but then I learned that it comes with a month of free Amazon Prime… That includes the free streaming…

Instead of voraciously reading the classics like I originally intended to, I’ve been watching Downton Abbey.  I get it, I’m like 5 years too late.  But I’m loving it.  To further my recent TV obsession, on Friday night I made Jesse watch 3 episodes of “Orange is the New Black.”  Awesome.

So since I like being late to the party, let me tell you about something I made for a party a while back.  You remember the Peanut Butter Throwdown, right?

I made White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

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But I also made pie, because pie is always a good idea.

pies

Let me tell you about one of them because you know what else is a good idea? Pretzel crusts.

Along with being obsessed with multiple TV shows, I’m also really into pretzel crusts.  I love the salty and sweet combination, so in pie form it takes it to a whole new level.

beeskneespie

Peanut Butter Honey Pie

1 1/4 cup pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Bee’s Knees peanut butter
4 oz cream cheese, softened
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
4 tbsp honey

First make your crust by mixing together pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar.  Press into a 9” pie dish and place in the freezer until ready to use.

Next, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Beat 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until if holds firm peaks.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until combined.  Set aside.

Beat remaining 1 cup of whipped cream.  Once it start to form peaks, add in 4 tbsp honey.

Next assemble the pie.  Spread peanut butter mixture into the pie crust.  Top with honey whipped cream.  Chill for a few hours.  Serve cold.

Ok now you can forgive me while I go crawl into bed to watch more Downton Abbey.

Which shows are you into these days?

I also recently discovered Catfish.  That’s totally amazing…

Caramel Pretzel Brownies

I have a tendency to under-cook things.  It’s a bad habit, but to me, over-cooked anything is disgusting.

Who likes a soggy vegetable? (Other than Italians who seem to overcook ALL their vegetables… or maybe that was just FAO)  I like mine to have a bit of a crunch still.

Overcook your Thanksgiving turkey… Not delicious.

Steak well-done.  My dad likes to say it’s like the sole of a shoe.

Brownies are really no different.

I am of the firm belief that all brownies should always be a little undercooked.  If you’re in the brownie’s fully cooked camp.  We can’t be friends.  Sorry.

I really would like to find a middle ground, but no.  I can’t.  Slightly undercooked brownies are amazing.

Want to know what’s even better?

Slightly undercooked brownies with caramel in the middle and pretzels on top.


No words.


Caramel Pretzel Brownies

For Brownies:
4 Squares Bakers Unsweetend Chocolate
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
handful of pretzel sticks

For Caramel:

1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

While the oven heats, make the caramel.  Heat the sugar in a saucepan until the sugar melts and turns golden.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and add pinch of salt, once butter is incorporated, stream in cream while stirring.  Once well combined, set aside to cool slightly.

In the meantime, make the brownie batter.  In a pan, melt together butter and chocolate.  In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs.  Once the butter and chocolate have melted together, stream into sugar/egg combo while stirring.  Stir in flour until just combined.

Pour half the batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish (or line with parchment paper, which is what I did, and I used 2 9×9-inch pans).  Then drizzle caramel over first half of the batter.  If your caramel cooled too much and got sorta firm, you can reheat it a tiny bit.  Then pour the rest of the batter over the caramel.  Arrange pretzels on top.  Bake approximately 30 minutes or until it no longer jiggles in the center (it might take a little longer, but not sure).  But remember, the goal is a slightly undercooked center.

This will yield, amazingly fudgy, dense, delicious brownies.  They’re not super thick, but trust me, they more than make up for it in flavor.

So actually when I made these, I made two kinds.  Caramel and Peanut Butter.


So if you’d like, you can use peanut butter instead of caramel.

Both are delicious, the caramel was just extra delicious.

See the caramel in there? (hint: look to the left!)

Divine.

They’re gooey, sweet, salty,  and most importantly slightly undercooked all in one perfect little square.

I’m pretty sure that means they’ll make the perfect treat any time.