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,

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


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.

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

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

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

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

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

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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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



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.

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


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.

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

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

4. Whisk until smooth.

5. Add the sugar and the salt.

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,

7. Add two eggs and whisk them in.

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

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

10. Sprinkle the flour on top.

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

12. Add the dark chocolate and mix until distributed.

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

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

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

16. Cut into small squares.

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

Crabapple jelly

There are a few crabapple trees that grow behind my parent’s house. Harvesting the fruits for this recipe barely made a dent in the small red crabapples hanging in the branches. They make for a nice sweet and sour jelly, that goes great with cheese.

Ingredients :
7 lbs crabapples
7 cups water
7 table spoon lemon juice
1 vanilla bean
6 cups sugar (approx, see notes below.


1. Working in batches, rinse the fruits. Discard any peduncles, leaves, dirt or other particulates. Look over the fruits and discard any bruised or overripe ones.

2. Quarter the crabapples, seeds and skins on, and throw into a large pot. Check the flesh as you cut them and discard any that have insect damage.

3. Repeat until all the fruits are in the pot. Add the water, the vanilla, and the lemon juice.

4. Simmer without boiling for 30-40 minutes, until all the crabapples are falling appart.

5. Line a sieve with several layers of cheese cloth. Put it over a large bowl. cheese-cloth

6. Laddle the warm apples into the sieve and allow the juice to drain, without pressing the fruits. Add more fruit as the juice drains down.

7. Leave to drain for 2 hours. You should have a mostly dry mass. Discard this mass, keeping the juice.

8. Measure out how much juice your crabapples yielded (mine gave me 7 cups total).

9. In the original, clean, pot, affix a candy thermometer.

10. Pour the juice into the pot.

11. Add the sugar. Count 3/4 cup of sugar per cup of juice (so for my 7 cups, I used 5 1/4 cup)

12. Stir to dissolve.

13. Bring to a boil quickly, stirring until the liquid reaches 219F. Skim as you go, it will form a very pink foamy scum as it cooks. Pour into prepared half pints jars. It will be very hot and liquid at this point.

14. Process for 10 minutes. Allow to cool fully. The jelly will set as it cools.

Chocolate Chips Pancakes

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

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


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

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

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

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

5. Add the chocolate chips.

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.

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

Chai Masala Macarons

Because I had a day off and wanted a project. Chai Masala Macarons, with garam masala spices in the cookies and salted caramel as the filling. You get a punch of black pepper to offset the sweetness and the other spices round it up.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
85g butter, in small cubes
1/2 tea spoon fleur de sel
140g egg whites
90g sugar, two times
160g almond powder
160g icing sugar
gel food coloring


1. In a large, thick bottom pot, combine the sugar and water. Try to avoid the sugar getting on the sides.

2. Turn the heat on medium and let the sugar bubble away. Gently swirl the pan if needed, but leave it mostly alone. It will bubble up and thicken.

3. Then it will go from light yellow to amber to copper. The second it reaches copper, remove from the heat.

4. Drop in the butter and whisk it in. The sugar will foam and bubble up. Add the cream and whisk it in. Stir in the fleur de sel. Transfer to a heat proof vessel and set aside to cool.

5. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.

6. For the spices, you want to grind them finely.

7. But remove the cardamom pods.

8. In a food processor, combine the almond powder, icing sugar, and spices.

9. Pulse until blended. Set aside.

10. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, pour the egg whites.

11. On low speed, beat until foamy. Add the first 90g of sugar. Increase the speed and beat for a further 2 minutes.

12. When it gets shiny and more opaque, add the remaining sugar. Increase the speed again and beat for an other minute or two.

13. Add the food coloring of your choice (I used yellow).

14. Beat until stiff peaks form. Remove from mixer.

15. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl.

16. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the eggs.

17. Keep folding, from the outside in and going underneath the mixture until it becomes more supple, and ribbons slowly, slowly meld back into the mass.

18. Transfer to a piping bag. If you have someone to help you have them hold the bag. if not, a mason jar will do.

19. Pipe cookies of about equal sizes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bang tray on the counter top a few times to let air bubbles out. Set aside so the outer shell dries (about 15-30 minutes)

20. Heat the oven to 290F. Bake the shells 15 minutes.

21. Allow to cool fully on a cooling rack. Then smear one cookie with caramel and sandwich with another. Transfer, uncovered, to the fridge for 24h. Cookies will keep, covered, for about a week.


Blueberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberries were not quite out when I started tinkering with this. This is the edited version, as the test version came out a bit too sweet and too heavy on the cardamom.

1 pie dough recipe
8 stalks of rhubarb
4 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
2 green cardamom pods
1/2 tea spoon vanilla seeds
2 table spoon cornstarch
2 table spoon instant tapioca
pinch of salt
zest of a lime and half the juice
egg and coarse sugar, for the top


1. Roll the bottom disk of the dough and line a pie plate. Put in the fridge so it stays cold.

2. Slice the rhubarb stalk lengthwise into halves or thirds depending on the stalk then dice finely and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the blueberries to the bowl.

4. Add the sugar.

5. Grind the cardamom pods. Discard the husks.

6. Add the cardamom and the vanilla to the blueberries and rhubarb.

7. Add the cornstarch, the tapioca, and the salt.

8. Stir gently to coat evenly. then put in the fridge for later.

9. Roll out the top of the pie in a squarish shape. Cut into 8 strips.

10. Retrieve the pie and filling from the fridge. Pour the filling into the pie shell.

11. Put 4 strips of dough horizontally across the pie.

12. Fold the top and middle strip of dough from the right toward the middle and add a vertical strip. Unfold the dough. Fold the other two bands and add the second band. Unfold and repeat on the left side (starting with the middle and bottom strips). Put the whole thing back in the fridge for 20 minutes for the dough to firm up.

13.Pre-heat the oven to 375F

Beat an egg in a small bowl and brush the strips with the eggwash. Sprinkle coarse sugar.

Put the pie on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. The juices will bubble up and spill and you don’t want them on the bottom of the oven.

14. Bake for 55-60 minutes. The spilled juices are awesome over ice cream.

15. Allow to cool fully.

16. Slice and serve.


Chocolate Praliné

Probably the evilest most addicting thing that can be made with simple ingredients. This is better than Nutella. You’ve been warned.

300g almonds
300g hazelnuts
400g sugar
2/3 cup water
355g Milk Chocolate chips


1. Pre-heat the oven to 300F.
Mix the nuts and spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Put in the oven for 5 minutes then turn off the oven (leave the nuts in the warm oven)

2. In a thick bottomed pan, combine the sugar and water. Attach a candy thermometer, making sure the probe touches neither the bottom nor the sides.

3. Over medium heat, bring the sugar to 224F.

4. Working quickly, add the warm nuts. From this point on you’ll want to be stirring constantly.

5. The sugar will crystallize. This is normal. Resist the urge to panic and think you messed things up. Keep stirring until it melts back down into caramel (5-10 minutes after step 4).

6. Spread the nuts on a parchment lined cookie sheet and allow to cool fully.

7. Break the cooled down nuts into small clusters. Add them a few at a time to a food processor and pulse until mostly broken down. Go slow at this step. You don’t want to burn out the motor of the food processor.

8. Repeat until all the nuts are in.

9. Slowly increase the length of time the blade runs. Take the time to stop and scrape down the sides every other pulse. As it processes the nuts will turn first into a dry mass.

10. Then eventually into a nice, shiny, elastic paste as the oils emulsify. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside. The paste will likely be warm from the friction of the blade.

11. Measure out the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set-up a double boiler.

12. Melt the chocolate (no need to temper it)

13. Add the melted chocolate to the nuts paste.

14. Mix to combine.

15. Seal and allow to cool to room temperature. Resist the urge to eat with a spoon.