Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rand's Pretzels

Rand LOVES pretzels and sometimes we make them in the morning while everyone is gone. Here is our favorite recipe.....

3 cups flour
1 pkg or 1 TB yeast
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water (115-125 degrees)
3 TB vegetable oil

2 TB baking soda

2 TB coarse salt

In mixer, attach bread hook. Stir together flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add water and oil. Mix/knead until ball forms and dough clings to hook and sides of bowl are clean. (5-10 mins, you may need to add a scant amount of water or flour)

Remove ball and place in a greased bowl. Flip ball over so greased side is up. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit about 45 mins, or until doubled in size.

Remove ball to clean work surface and poke down. Cut into 10 equal pieces. Spray a few cookie sheets with non-stick spray.

Roll each piece into 20 inch strips. Keep other pieces covered with plastic wrap while working (unless you're super fast). Form into pretzels and place back onto cookie sheets. Cover again with plastic wrap (or a kitchen towel). Let rise about a half hour.

Preheat oven to 450.

Fill a large pan (8qt) about 2/3rds full of water and bring to a rolling boil. Add 2TB baking soda. Carefully with a  slotted spoon, boil pretzels 30 seconds on each side. Return them to baking sheet about 2" apart. Sprinkle with salt (or leave plain).

Bake about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Eat warm. We like to brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. 

*This only makes 10 pretzels. Trust me, you'll want more. I double it when I want enough for the whole family.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Salted Caramel Corn with Pecans and Dark chocolate

About 16 cups popped popcorn (about 3/4 - 1 cup unpopped)
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
6 TB corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 - 1 cup toasted chopped pecans (I toast my pecans by just putting them in a non-stick skillet and tossing them over high heat for a few mins. be careful not to burn them though!!)
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups ghiradelli dark chocolate melting wafers

Place popcorn in a large baking pan (I use my turkey pan). Keep popcorn warm in oven set to 300 while making caramel mixture.

In a 3qt saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until boiling. Attach candy thermometer. Cook and stir over medium heat to hard ball stage (255 degrees). Remove from heat, stir in soda and vanilla; pour over popcorn. Stir gently while sprinkling in the pecans and sea salt. Once coated, bake in oven for 15 minutes; stir. Bake and additional 10 minutes or so.

Transfer popcorn mixture to large piece of foil, wax paper, or parchment (I tape a few pieces to the counter). Spread it out, breaking apart the big pieces and let it cool while you melt the chocolate. Drizzle with chocolate. Once cool, break it up and store in air-tight container (ziploc bags are fine).

**This recipe makes a LOT because I make it for my large family. Definitely can be halved and probably should be if you're watching your waistline.