Thursday, November 19, 2009

never enough pretzels

Awhile ago I made pretzels. Then...I made them again.

And don't forget the soundtrack:

Friday, November 13, 2009

All Tied Up in Knots

What's cool about cooking is that you can make-up entire recipes on a whim just because you feel like eating all of your favorite ingredients in one dish. Or -- as is the case with stuffed pretzels -- in one bite. In no small part inspired by the opening of the East Village pretzel shop Sigmund (apparently, not worth it, though, thanks for the forewarning Alex), these tiny pretzel bites are great because the recipe warns you "cheese may ooze" during the baking process. Uhhh.... yes please.

Cheddar and Green Apple Pretzel Bites (adapted from Gourmet)

You Will Need:

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water (110–115ºF)
1 cup warm milk (110–115ºF)
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped Granny Smith green apple, divided
1/3 cup finely chopped sharp Cheddar, divided
6 cups water
4 teaspoons baking soda

To Make:

Stir together yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and warm water in a large bowl and let stand until foamy, 5 to 8 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) In a separate bowl, stir remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar into warm milk until dissolved.
Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a soft dough forms, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour, a little at a time, if necessary. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Transfer to a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400ºF with rack in upper and lower thirds. Line two 4-sided sheet pans with parchment paper.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands with flour, then gently roll and stretch 1 piece of dough to form a 12-inch-long rope. Flatten dough and arrange so a long side is nearest you, then roll out to a roughly 12- by 4-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin. Gently press one fourth of apples and cheese into lower third of rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border along bottom edge. Stretch bottom edge of dough up over filling and press tightly to seal, then roll up as tightly as possible to form a rope. Cut rope into 12 pieces and transfer to a sheet pan. Make 3 more ropes with remaining dough, ham, and cheese and cut into pieces, transferring to sheet pans. Let rest at room temperature, uncovered, 30 minutes (dough will rise slightly).

Bring water (6 cups) to a boil in a 4- to 5-qt saucepan. Reduce heat and stir in baking soda. Cook pretzel bites in batches in gently simmering water, turning once, until slightly puffed, about 20 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to sheet pans.
Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes (cheese may ooze slightly).

Brush warm pretzel bites with butter and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Serve warm or at room temperature with jalapeño mustard for dipping.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

absolute favorites: 1:41 pm Thursday afternoon edition

The new Milk Made flavor: Double Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie. Described as "fair trade dark chocolate ice cream with chocolate shavings and underbaked peanut butter cookie." Use of the phrase "underbaked" in this context makes my knees tremble.

Vegan chili with grilled tofu hunks from Brooklyn Label. I could care less about my meat and dairy content, but this is a.) served in a huge coffee mug (I've previously discussed my love for this) and b.) totally effin' delicious.

Sigh! Fall....