Yummy Stuffed and Unstuffed Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels. I think I’m addicted to them. Every time we go to the movie theatre or mall I have to have one. The smell alone is heaven…and then add cheese…can you say “yum!”

Well a few weeks ago my husband and I were bored to tears trying to find something worth watching on TV. As usual I was multi-tasking and searching the web for recipes when I came across this one on hanielas.com.

We gave it a try and even added our own twist. Get it, pretzel…twist…I know, cheezy right…okay, I’ll stop.

SOFT PRETZELS
Adapted from Hanielas.com

Yeast Dough
1-1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. honey
1 package dry yeast

2 cup all purpose flour
2-1/2 cup bread flour
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
6 Tbsp. melted butter

Stuffing (optional)
1/4 lb. pepper jack cheese

Baking Soda Solution
5 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda

Egg Wash for brushing
egg yolk
1 Tbsp. water

olive oil to coat the bowl

Topping
pretzel salt

Tools
pastry brush
parchment paper
serrated knife
slotted spoon

Soft Pretzels - yeast

Make the Dough
Pour warm water into the bowl of your mixer, add honey and stir in yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Make sure you use warm water, not hot. Hot water will kill the yeast

Soft Pretzel Dough

Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 cups of bread flour, melted butter and salt into the bowl with yeast and knead, using a dough hook attachment. If dough is too sticky add additional 1/2 cup of bread flour. This dough when kneaded is somewhat on a dense side. Knead for 5 minutes, or until the dough comes into a smooth ball.

Soft Pretzel Dough

Lightly coat a large bowl with the oil and put the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

Preheat oven to 450°F

Soft Pretzel Dough

Invert the dough onto a clean work surface. DO NOT USE ADDITIONAL FLOUR. Cut dough in half. Then cut one half into four pieces. Using palms of your hands roll the dough and form long ropes 16-18-inches long. Form dough into pretzel shape; set aside.

Soft Pretzels with Pepper Jack Cheese

Take remaining half of dough and divide into 8 pieces. Roll these out to 8-10-inches. Using a serrated knife, cut dough lengthwise, being sure not to cut all of the way through, and stuff with stripes of jalapeno cheese. Wrap dough around cheese, pinching to seal them. (I’m bad, I got so caught up in making these I forget to take photos, but here’s the baked version so you can see what I did)

Make the egg wash: mix together water and egg yolk, set aside

Once all dough is formed, bring 5 cups of water to boil, add 1/3 cup baking soda. Dip each pretzel into the simmering solution and let cook for 30 seconds. Remove pieces with slotted spoon and place them on parchment lined baking sheet, continue with remaining dough.

Soft Pretzel Dough

Once done, brush each piece with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.

Soft Pretzels - cheesy

Soft Pretzels with Pepper Jack Cheese

Cool slightly, then enjoy…we did!

 

Grandma Y’s Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Grandma Y's Banana Nut Bread Recipe

My son called me the other day from college, asking for Grandma Y’s Banana Nut Bread recipe. He said his roommate was ready to throw out some rotten bananas, which he grabbed announcing he was going to make banana nut bread. His roommates responded with “ewws” and “I’m not eating that!” Undaunted, my son mixed up a batch. As the smell wafted through the dorm, his roommates seemed a little more interested.

An hour later, as the freshly baked bread rested on the cooling rack, his roomies decided they would try just a bite…and that was the end of that loaf!

I’ve made, and tasted, many banana nut bread recipes. And I have to say this is the BEST. I remember when I was a little girl, my brother and I would beg for the first slice…yes, the heel. The edges had an almost caramelized, slightly crispy texture…good and yummy memories.

I have a little secret of my own. It’s not always easy to have perfectly ripened bananas when you’re in the mood to make this bread. My trick is to keep ripened bananas in my freezer. I don’t even put them in a bag. I just throw them in, unpeeled. When I’m ready to make this recipe, I pop them in the microwave and thaw them out. Even though the bananas have more liquid from freezing, my bread turns out perfect every time!

Let me know what you think!

GRANDMA Y’S BANANA NUT BREAD RECIPE
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

In medium bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk and banana. Stir in nuts. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan at 350° for 65 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

(20-30 minutes for muffins)

TIP…Always, after creaming shortening, sugar, eggs, etc., when there is a liquid and a powder to add alternatively…start with powder and end with powder.

Chili with Sweet Cornbread

Chili with Sweet Cornbread

What’s better than Chili on a nice fall day! Here’s a very tasty recipe I whipped up a couple of years ago. It’s only mildly spicy, but of course you could heat it up by adding jalapenos or your favorite hot sauce. Me, I only like a little spice, but experiment until it fits your taste.

I also made this sweet, fluffy cornbread. It’s really cornbread made with yellow cake, but I put it together differently than most people. All of the recipes I’ve seen tell you to make each mix separately and combine. No way, my version has less mess and turns out great.

See what you think…

Chili

CHILI
1-1/2 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1-1/2 cup water
1-29 oz. can tomato sauce
1-16 oz. Bush’s Chili Beans, Medium
1 can condensed cream of tomato soup, undiluted
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbsp. sugar (to taste)
1-1/2 cups macaroni, uncooked (optional*)

In large pan, combine ground beef, onion and water. Cook until meat is browned. Drain liquid into a gravy separator; set aside for grease to rise to the top. Add remaining ingredients and reserved water.

Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately

*If you don’t add the macaroni, do not add the reserved water unless you like thinner chili.

Sweet Cornbread

SWEET CORNBREAD
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 box Jiffy Yellow Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup milk

In medium bow, combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Done when toothpick, inserted in center, comes out clean.