Monday, January 7, 2013

Pretzel Making Playdate


Kids love to bake, so it's great to find a kid-friendly, way to let them be the Star of the kitchen. And that's exactly what we've done here with these quick and easy soft pretzels. Jill was brave gracious enough to allow our kiddos to take over her kitchen, and they LOVED it!


First, things first, you have to make your dough. We did this a couple of hours before the kiddos invaded to allow the dough to rise.





Next, we rolled out the dough and cut it into strips.


To keep the mess contained, we covered the table with some wax paper and let them at it. And then the rolling began...


Have your little chef roll the dough 'into skinny snakes'. The dough rose a lot more than we expected as it baked, so the thinner the 'snake', the better.


Next, it was time to let the kiddos be creative and make whatever shapes they wanted. We ended up with a lot of hearts and a few letters.

The baking of the pretzels was next. Before getting them in the oven, it is important to dip them. Dipping your pretzels in hot soda water gives them that crispy crust that we all crave. After you've dipped them, toss them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.


We decided to mix it up and do some salted pretzels and some cinnamon sugar ones. If you go for salty pretzels, this is the time to sprinkle your coarse salt on. Now, toss 'em in the oven.


Bake them for 7-11 minutes or until brown, rotating the baking sheet half way through.

After they are done baking, cool them on a wire rack and then, if you are brave enough, let the kids brush the melted butter onto them. For some extra flavour, you can also opt to dip your pretzels into the butter.


Once they are nice and buttery, dig in if they are the salty ones. If you've decided to go the sweet route, however, now is the time to sprinkle that cinnamon sugar mix on and don't be afraid to use a lot. :)


You're done!! Make sure to eat them right away. They are the best when they are still warm.

Auntie Anne's Pretzels: Copycat Recipe
Recipe courtesy of Yammie's Noshery

Ingredients:

2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
Coarse salt
8 tablespoons butter, melted in a shallow dish

Directions:
 
1.Warm up the milk in the microwave or on the stove for  about one and a half minutes. (It should be about 110º. If it's too hot it will kill the yeast. You should be able to comfortably keep your finger in it.)
2. Stir in the yeast and let it sit for about 3 minutes.
3. Add the butter and sugar.
4. Add the flour about 1 cup at a time and the add the fine salt.
5. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes with a stand mixer, or by hand.
6. Put it in a greased bowl and cover with greased cling wrap.
7. Let rise for 1 hour in a moist, warm place until doubled in size.
8. Preheat the oven to 450º.
9. Punch down dough and divide into 12 lumps (I like to divide it in half, then divide each half into three, and then divide each remaining one in half again).
10.Roll them all out as thin as you can.
11. Combine the warm water and baking soda in a wide bowl.
12. Form the dough into pretzel shapes, then dip in the baking soda water.
13. Place on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. (Do not do this step if you plan on making cinnamon sugar pretzels.) 
14. Bake for about 7-11 minutes or until browned.
15. Dip each in the melted butter while hot.

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