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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Fudgy Brownie

The type of brownies you dream about. The ones you hope show up at the potluck because you want to stuff all of them in your face. Also the ones you have to plan to have a sharing option because you will eat the entire pan by yourself otherwise.

The recipe also works gloriously well in a gluten-free option, just swap the flour one for one with your gluten-free all purpose mic (no adding xantham or guar gum). The first time I tasted those they were done with quinoa flour and I am immensely sad that quinoa flour went up in price. It added a little something that I miss.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup butter (3 sticks)
1 1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
2 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tea spoon salt
5 eggs
2 tea spoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup flour
1 cup good dark chocolate
ingredients

***

1. Line a 9×13 baking mold with aluminum foil. Spray with Pam (or grease with butter) and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
pan

2. In a medium to large pot, melt the butter.
butter

3. Once the butter is melted, turn the heat off. Add the cocoa.
cocoa

4. Whisk until smooth.
cocoa2

5. Add the sugar and the salt.
sugar

6. Whisk together. It will turn into a gritty mess. Don’t panic. If it’s still hot, set aside. You need it warm, not hot,
sugar2

7. Add two eggs and whisk them in.
eggs

8. It should smooth out as soon as the eggs get incorporated. Add the remaining 3 eggs and whisk well.
eggs2

9. Add the vanilla extract. The batter should be smooth and shiny by now.
vanilla

10. Sprinkle the flour on top.
flour

11. Switch to a spatula and fold the flour in until just incorporated.
folded

12. Add the dark chocolate and mix until distributed.
chocolate

13. Transfer to the prepared foil lined pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
pour

14. Remove from the oven and let cool fully in the pan, on a cooling rack. This will take a minimum of 3 hours.
cool

15. Once cooled, turn over on a cutting board, using the foil sling to help things along.
turn

16. Cut into small squares.
cut

17. Serve room temperature. Can keep 3 days or so in a sealed container. If you have sufficient will power.
brownies

Chocolate Chips Pancakes

The thick and fluffy kind. Good warm, good cold as left overs. Filling and not too sweet.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup flour
2 table spoon sugar
1 table spoon baking powder
1/2 tea spoon salt
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
semi-sweet chocolate chips, to taste
butter, for the pan
ingredients

***

1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Whisk well (baking powder taste horrible and you don’t want a bite of it).
dry

2. Combine the milk, egg, and vanilla. Whisk with a fork to break the egg.
wet

3. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined, but still lumpy.
mix

4. Melt butter in a large pan on medium-low heat. Scoop out 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.
scoop

5. Add the chocolate chips.
chocolate

6. Once the edges look solid (2 minutes or so) flip and cook the other side. Set aside and repeat until you run out of batter.
cook

7. Serve and enjoy! (maple Syrup is optional)
serve

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

Rabbit stew with barley

Spring is having identity issues this year. It’s still cold outside (enough to wear a jacket, in mid May!), so I wanted something braised and nice and warm. I’d also been wanting to experiment with rabbit meat for a while, so this was the result.

Ingredients
1 rabbit, cut in serving pieces
2 table spoon flour
salt and pepper
1 tea spoon paprika
olive oil
150g spicy pancetta
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 fennel buld, cored and sliced
2 cups white wine
1 table spoon tomato paste
2 table spoon barley
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

ingredients

***

1. In a plate, combine the flour, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Do not under salt.
flour

2. Dust the rabbit pieces in the flour, shaking off excess.
dust

3. Warm some oil in the bottom of a dutch oven or french faitout.
Sear on both sides to get some color. Work in batches.
sear

4. While that’s going, dice up the pancetta.
pancetta

5. When all the rabbit has been colored, set it aside.
color

6. Lower the heat to a medium-low and throw the pancetta into the pot. It will smoke. A lot.
pancetta2

7. Cook, stirring often, until most of the fat has been rendered out.
pancetta3

8. Add the fennel and onions.
veggies

9. Cook until the onions are translucent and the fennel starts to soften. Add the tomato paste and garlic.
veggies2

10. Add the wine, scrapping up anything stuck at the bottom of the pot. Add the rosemary.
liquid

11. Nestle the rabbit back into the pot, making sure it’s as much under the liquid as possible.
nestle

12. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Add the barley.
barley

13. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes (to allow the sauce to reduce)
simmer

14. Serve with good crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Enjoy!
serve

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

Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

Delicious boozy cupcakes, super moist. Essentially a very slight variation from this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I ended up buying a melon baller spoon just for making these. I highly recommend it, makes the process much easier.

I didn’t use the whiskey pictured in the end, the chocolate I use is very present and it was getting lost. I ended up using some of this one instead.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tea spoon baking soda
1/2 tea spoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ingredients for the ganache center:
8 oz 70% dark chocolate
2/3 cup cream
2 table spoon salted butter, room temperature
3 table spoon whiskey (I didn’t use the one picture)

Ingredients for the icing:
8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
4 table spoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/2 cup icing sugar

ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
In a medium sauce pot, combine the unsalted butter and the Guiness. using low heat melt the butter into the beer (you don’t want this to boil).
butter-beer1

2. Meanwhile, combine together the flour, sugar, baking soda and sat.
dry

3. Once the butter is melted give it a good whisk to emulsify the liquid.
butter-beer2

4. Add the cocoa powder.
cocoa1

5. Whisk until smooth. Then set aside to cool slightly.
cocoa2

6. In the bowl of a mixer combine the sour cream and eggs.
wet1

7. Beat until smooth.
wet2

8. While the mixer is running on low, slowly drizzle in the butter, beer and cocoa mix. Don’t go too fast, you want to temper the eggs, not curdle them.
wet3

9. Add the dry ingredients in two batches. Stir until just combined.
add-dry

10. Line muffin trays with liners and fill with the batter (aiming for 3/4 full). The batter will be very loose and liquidy.
fill

11. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
bake

12. Remove from the trays and allow to cool fully.
cool

13. Using the magical melon baller spoon, scoop out a cavity in the middle of each cupcake (keep the scraps, they are delicious).
carve

14. In a small sauce pot warm the cream until just below a boil.
cream

15. Weight the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the cream over it.
ganache1

16. Working fast while the cream is warm, stir until the chocolate is nice and smooth. Add the room temperature butter and the whiskey. Stir until smooth and shiny.
ganache2

17. Transfer the ganache to a piping bag (in my case the classical ziploc bag held up in a mason jar).
bag

18. Pipe the still warm (but not hot!) ganache into the cavities you carved out earlier. Allow to cool fully; the ganache will set at room temperature.
ganache3

19. Once the ganache is set, combine the icing ingredients in the bowl of a mixer.
icing

20. And beat until smooth.
icing---donc

21. If you have talent pipe over the cupcakes. I tend to just use an offset spatula and smear the icing over them.
cupcakes

22. These keep well in the fridge for a couple of days but are best eaten room temperature. So take them out a least an hour before serving to let them warm up. Enjoy!
cupcake