Soft Pretzels Two ways

For some reason, my brain thinks anything bread-like is hard. But these came together super easily.

Because I can’t ever make up my mind between wanting a salty pretzel or a sweet one, I split the dough and made both,

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon sugar + 1/2 cup
2 teaspoons salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces flour
2 ounces butter, melted + some for brushing
Olive Oil
10 cups water + 1 table spoon
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 cinnamon stick
ingredients

***

1. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the salt, one table spoon sugar, and active dry yeast. Make sure you have a dough hook attachment installed.
yeat1

2. Add the warm water, stir gently to dissolve. Leave alone for the yeast to wake up, about 5 minutes.
yeast2

3. It should start being a bit foamy and bubbling.
yeast3

4. Add the two ounces of melted butter and the flour.
flour

5. Turn on to speed 1 and mix to combine.
mix

6. Increase the speed to 2 and knead until it pulls away from the bowl, about 2-3 minutes.
knead

7. Remove from bowl and hook. Clean the bowl and lightly oil the surface. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Allow to proof for 55 minutes in a warm place with no draft (inside the cold oven with the light turned on is good).
rest

8. While the yeast is doing its thing, grind the cinnamon stick and combine with the half a cup of sugar. Combine the baking soda and 10 cups of water in a large soup pot. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl with a table spoon of water.

Clean the kitchen. Anything, you have 55 minutes to wait.
sugar

9. Once the dough has doubled in size, set up a shaping station. For easier shaping, the surface should be lightly oiled. Turn the oven on to 450F.

You’ll need to cut the dough into 8 parts. Roll each part into a rope and fold into a pretzel shape.set-up

10. To make the shape: make a horseshoe shape with the dough, open end facing you. Twist the ends over each other. Flip the twisted bit into the middle of the circle, reshaping the circle if required, then push the ends into the edges.  It took me a few tries to get it right. They taste good when misshapen anyway.
shape

11. I was running out of hands so no pictures of this… Bring the water and baking soda to a rolling boil. Drop each pretzel into the alkaline solution for 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking tray.

Brush the salty pretzels with the beaten egg yolk, and sprinkle coarse salt over them.
salt

12. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
salt-baked

13. For the sweet ones, brush melted butter over the baked pretzels, then toss in the prepared cinnamon sugar.
sugar-baked

 

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Baked cider doughnuts

Tiny bites, perfect with tea or coffee or just to eat by the handful. Slightly modified from the recipe found here.

Next time I make them I might add a shredded Granny Smith apple to the dough.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup apple cider
2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tea spoon baking soda
1 tea spoon baking powder
1 tea spoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tea spoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2 table spoon melted butter
1 tea spoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tea spoon cinnamon (or more, to taste)
4 table spoon melted butter
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F
Pour the apple cider in a pot and boil for 15-20 minutes until reduced and syrupy.
reduced

2. Meanwhile, combine all of the dry ingredients.
dry

3. Whisk the wet ingredients in with the reduced apple cider.
wet

4. Combine the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. If you over-reduced the apple cider, add some more until the batter is loose enough that no more dry flour remains.
combine

5. Spoon into a non-stick mini-muffin pan (or spray the thing with something like Pam). Or use a doughnut pan if you own one.

Put in the oven for 15 minutes.
spoon

6. In the meantime, melt the butter for the glaze. In a large shallow plate (pie dish, here) combine the sugar and cinnamon.
dusting

7. Remove the warm little doughnuts from the pan (they should just fall out).
baked

8. Using a pastry brush, brush some melted butter on each doughnut. Dust with the cinnamon sugar (or roll it in the sugar for a thicker glaze) then allow to cool fully.

Yields 48 mini doughnuts. Enjoy!
dust

Oatmeal cookies with cranberries and chocolate

I wanted oatmeal cookies, but I didn’t want to make banana cookies. And I dislike raisins…

So a bit of poking around in my pantry made me reach for leftover cranberries (from making the cranberry sauce) that I had frozen and a bag of mini chocolate chips. The resulting cookies are a bit crunchy, a bit chewy, with bright burst of cranberry and just a hint of dark chocolate. Craving satisfied 🙂

Ingredients :
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tea spoon salt
1 tea spoon baking soda
1 tea spoon cinnamon
1/2 tea spoon nutmeg
Seeds of 3 green cardamon pods
3 cups oats
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 mini dark chocolate chips
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the over to 350F.
Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, oats, spices, baking soda)
dry

2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter.
butter1

3. Cream together until lighter and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at the time, mixing well between additions.
butter2

4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
combine

5. Add the chocolate chips and cranberries.
add

6. Fold into the batter.
fold

7. Spoon unto cookie trays lined with parchment paper.
balls

8. Bake for 12 minutes. They will be very soft coming out of the oven and will firm up as they cool.
baked

9. Allow to cool fully and transfer to a air thigh box.
box

Molasses Cookies

I’m an awesome big sister (or so I keep telling myself) and made the molasses cookies my little brother had been craving for a month or so. Rustic, sweet, soft molasses cookies. Perfect for dunking in milk or tea or coffee.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tea spoon baking soda
1 tea spoon baking powder
1/2 tea spoon cinnamon
1/2 tea spoon ginger
scant pinch ground cloves
pinch of salt
1/2 cup non salted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
2 table spoon milk
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven for 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
dry

2. Combine the butter, brown sugar and molasses in the bowl of a mixer.
sugar1

3. Beat until smooth then add the egg. Beat until combined.
sugar2

4. Add half the flour, mix to combine. Add the milk, mix in and add the rest of the flour until just combined.
combine

5. Portion out (about 1/8 of a cup per cookie) and flatten with the back of a fork.
portion

6. Bake for 15-18 minutes and enjoy.
cookies

Yellow Split Pea Dhal

I had lots of yellow split pea left from making the pea soup. And I’ve been craving stewed or simmered recipes to warm me up.

Also, this is a good pantry diving kind of dish when winter makes you pay with icing rain and snow.

Ingredients:
250g yellow split pea
4 cups water
2 slices of ginger
1 stick cinnamon
3/4 tea spoon turmeric
1 1/2 dried yunan pepper
1 table spoon oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 inch ginger grated
1 pint diced tomatoes
1 tea spoon coriander
1 tea spoon cumin seed
3/4 tea spoon garam masala
salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
ingredients

***

1. In a large pot, combine the water, slices of ginger, cinnamon and turmeric.
water1

2. Bring to a boil to dissolve the turmeric.
Just be careful not to splash any on you from this point on, turmeric stains everything a bright yellow.
water2

3. Rinse the split peas and pick through them to make sure to remove any rocks or debris. Add to the pot. Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes.
peas1

4. Meanwhile, grind together the coriander and garam masala using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
grind

5. In a second, smaller, pot, warm the oil.
oil

6. Throw in the cumin and allow to sizzle for 30 seconds, until very fragrant.
cumin

7. Throw in the onions. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes until translucent.
onions

8. Add the grated ginger and the garlic.
onions2

9. Stir in the tomatoes.
tomatoes

10. And the spices from step 4. Crumble in the remaining 1/2 dried pepper.
Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes on low heat (or until your peas are done).
spices

11. The peas should have absorbed most if not all of the water (add water if they are still hard) and should be soft and barely starting to fall apart.
Fish out the cinnamon, ginger and dried chili.
peas2

12. Combine the spiced tomatoes to the split peas. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste.
combine

13. Serve with rice as a main (or with roti, or with naan). Can also be served as a side dish.
serve

Pumpkin and cranberries muffin

I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie. But I can eat a whole tray of these muffin without blinking… you have been warned.

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 tea spoon baking soda
1 tea spoon baking powder
1 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tea spoon ground cloves
1/2 tea spoon ground ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
zest of one orange
1 tea spoon vanilla
1 cup orange juice
2 cups cranberries
ingredients

***
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
dry

2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Cream the butter until light and fluffy, scrapping down the sides a few times.
butter

3 . Add the eggs one at the time, mixing well between each.
eggs

4. Add the puree, orange zest and vanilla extract.
add-puree

5. Add the orange juice and stir well to combine.
add-juice

6. Stir in the flours in 3 times.
flour

7.  Remove from the mixer. Fold in the cranberries with a spatula.
cranberries

8. Spoon into a muffin tin lined with paper liners (or a good non-stick muffin tin).
fill-cups

9.  Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes or so then transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperature.
baked

Cranberry Sauce

Recipe from the Preservation Society book. Go and buy it. It is full of pretty awesome recipes.

This is the cranberry sauce, perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Only ingredients and pics here. Though I think next time I might try to run it through a food mill to remove the skins once the berries have popped.

Ingredients
1 kg cranberries
3.25 cup sugar
1 unit star anise
3 inch cinnamon
1 ml ground cloves
2 unit oranges (zest and juice)
90 ml port