Granola and White Chocolate Covered Pretzels

You cannot find a bigger advocate for the sweet and salty combination than me. My favorite dessert of all time, Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O, is the perfect example of sweet and salty. It is another bullet point on the ever changing list of things Mike will not eat.

I swear to God, sweet and salty is like his kryptonite. If I even go near him with a chocolate covered pretzel, he cowers in fear and repulsion. It is kind of like the same reaction Weezer has when you try and put clothes on him. He just goes limp or acts like you are murdering him. They are both a bit theatrical. Let’s hope the new little man in the house doesn’t have their shared flare for the dramatics! [Read more…]

Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O

The fourth of July is tomorrow! I made you something red, white, and …. Pretzel. Hey, close enough. I feel like in my old age, the fourth has become another one of those holidays like New Years or Halloween where I feel like I should have plans. I just feel kind of lazy when it actually comes to making and following through on those plans. Maybe it is because the stress of making plans outweighs the amount of fun you have on that holiday. I might be the only one that feels that way though. [Read more…]

Mini Pretzel Brats

In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl or Puppy Bowl if you prefer, I have made for you something that is not coated in buffalo sauce!!! Woo hoo! Are you shocked? I know, sometimes you have to run wild against the grain and hold your own.

Isn’t it Carrie Bradshaw who said something like, “Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they are supposed to run wild until they find somebody – just as wild – to run with.”

Not that I have that show memorized or own every single season and movie on DVD. Also, I am kind of proud of myself for turning a Super Bowl post into a Sex and the City quote sesh. Girl power! Sorry for that.

I mean, not that Carrie was talking about going against the buffalo sauce inundated “holiday” that is the Super Bowl, but you get my drift.

I am a sucker for a lot of things, most are carb or cheese based. I love anything pretzel; pretzel bun, soft pretzel with spicy mustard, cheese stuffed pretzel bites. All are faves of mine. I knew that I had to make these pretzel wrapped beauties for dinner and weekend lunches for Mike and I. These lasted us a week. We seriously ate one to two a day.

They were such a hit that I am making them for the Super Bowl.

Yes they are a bit of work, with the wrapping, boiling, and then baking. But if you have a free morning or afternoon, make these. I also think that these would be a huge hit with kids. I will let you know when I try to get my nieces and nephews to eat these.

So go against the grain, run wild and do not make anything buffalo. Make these instead!

Mini Pretzel Brats
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: Makes 12

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ Cups Warm Water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  • 2 ¼ Teaspoons (1 package) Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
  • About 14 Cups of Water
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda
  • 6 Fully Cooked Brats, cut in half
  • 1 Large Egg, beaten, with a splash of water
  • Salt and Pepper for Topping

Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine warm water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top of the water and let sit for five minutes, until foamy.
  2. Add flour, salt, and melted butter to the yeast. Mix on low until well combined. Switch to medium speed and knead for four minutes.
  3. Remove the sticky dough ball from the mixer bowl and add to a greased bowl, sprinkle with flour, and cover loosely with a dish towel. Place in a warm area to rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Combine water and baking soda in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil.
  6. Meanwhile, turn the dough out on to a slightly oiled surface. Press the dough into a 1 ½ inch thick circle. Cut into 12 even pieces, 6 if you are wrapping whole brats.
  7. Roll the dough wedge out from the center using your fingers to form a foot long snake-like shape. Wrap the dough around the brat, making sure to seal the ends tightly. Continue until all brats are wrapped.
  8. When the water is boiling, add a few pretzel brats into the water at a time. Boil each batch for thirty seconds and then remove with a large slotted spoon or folded spatula. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet drizzled with a bit of oil to ensure the boiled pretzel brats don’t stick.
  9. Once all pretzel brats are boiled, brush with egg wash and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  10. Bake pretzels for 15 minutes until deeply golden.
  11. Pretzel brats last four days in the refrigerator wrapped in foil. Reheat in the oven wrapped in foil at 350 degrees F for 10 – 12 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders

I totally thought that, during our childhood, my brothers and I were unique and so creative… Until just now.

I was just telling Mike how the only pretzel related memory I have is of my brothers and I biting the ends off of those really long pretzel rods and pretending they were huge cigars. We, much to our mom’s chagrin, used to “ash” the pretzel cigars throughout the house. We also did this with pickles. (Sorry mom).
He then informed me, “Yeah, everybody did that when they were little.”
“Really?”
“What, did you think you guys were the only ones that did that?” He asked.
Crickets chirping.
“No. Shut up!”

Turns out we weren’t that creative. I am going to try to put together the pieces of my shattered idyllic childhood memory by eating these pretzel crusted chicken tenders with my hands. Since it is my own house, I won’t be “ashing” the pretzel bits on to the ground. Who do you think has to clean that up?
Ingredients (Makes 10 Tenders)
1 lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Tenders
1 Egg
½ Cup Buttermilk (Regular milk or half and half will suffice too).
2 Cups Crushed Pretzel Rods
½ Teaspoon Pepper
1 Teaspoon Corn Starch
Ingredients for Honey Mustard
¼ Cup Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Honey
A Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
First, prepare the honey mustard dipping sauce by combining the Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk for a minute to incorporate and loosen up the honey. Set off to the side.

Add the egg and buttermilk to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
Add about two handfuls of pretzel rods to a food processor. Process on low until coarsely ground. You want to be able to still tell that they are pretzels.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground pretzels with the pepper and corn starch. Give the mixture a quick toss using your hands. (You are going to get dirty during the breading process anyways).

Dip each tender, one by one, into the egg mixture and then into the pretzel mixture. Place each tender on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. The wire rack helps the tenders cook evenly and stay crispy.

Once all the tenders are breaded, place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes. Make sure the internal temperature of the tenders is 140 degrees. Let the tenders cool for about three minutes before serving. Note: Be sure to reheat in the oven to keep the crispiness. Do not reheat more than once or tenders will dry out.

These chicken tenders go great with some crispy baked French fries. It is the perfect utensil-less ode to your childhood.

Go ahead, get messy!

Happy Hour Friday: Soft Sourdough Pretzels

I never knew sourdough was such hard work. Ever since I won a sourdough starter giveaway, I have been playing mad scientist in my kitchen every night. Before I go to bed I have to feed my living sourdough culture to make sure it doesn’t die. The crazy thing is how fast and how much this “thing” eats and grows; my own little Frankenstein.
Most of you know how bad I am at baking. I somehow am guaranteed to mess something up in terms of measuring or just by not following the instructions in the right order. Any time I am faced with a baking task I get really nervous.
Having this “sourdough baby” has made me inspired to try baking more often. Plus, two other bloggers, Salty Seattle and Pinch My Salt, have started a sourdough movement called Doughvember, for those of us who cannot grow beards for Movember, and I really wanted to be a part of that. Plus who doesn’t love a good sourdough, right?
I am not going to lie; there have been major fails and spills along the way, but I finally got one to work and from then I have been a baking machine!
My nerves have been calmed through a lot of trial and error and also from this nerdy ritual my husband and I made up as a joke that kind of stuck.
You know how Notre Dame Football has a “Play Like a Champion Today” sign in their locker room? Well, if you didn’t, they do. The players hit the sign on their way out to the game to inspire them. My husband and I joked that when I get nervous about baking I should jump up and hit the little overhang in the hallway into the kitchen and imagine it says “Cook Like a Champion Today” right there. Yes, this is what we do in our spare time. We are both huge nerds, I know.

 

I feel like this is a good message for all of us before the big cooking holiday comes up next week. If you are scared about bringing a mess of a dish to your family Thanksgiving gathering, just remember two things:
1. Cook like a champion today! All you can do is give it your best shot.
2. Holidays are about being together and your family has to love you regardless of how your dish turns out… Unless the dish is headed to the in-laws, then just trash the mess and bring a bottle of wine instead!
At least you tried.
Ingredients (makes 7 pretzels)
1 Cup Sourdough Starter
1 Cup of Warm Water
3 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of baking soda
4 quarts of boiling water
1 Egg White
Coarse Sea Salt
Mix the flours and salt together using a whisk in a large bowl. Create a well in the middle of the dry mixture. Then add in the starter, water, and oil. Knead for about 7 minutes until smooth. Shape the batter into a ball and place it in a warm area to rise for about two hours. When the dough ahs almost doubled in size, punch the batter down and knead it for another five minutes. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a 7” x 12” rectangle. Cut off 7, 1” wide strips of dough. Roll them into snake-like shapes. Let the dough rise for another thirty minutes.

Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large pot. While the water comes up to temperature, form the pretzel shape with each piece of dough. When the water is at a rolling boil, add each pretzel one at a time the boiling water. When the pretzel rises to the top remove it from the water and place it on a wire rack to cool. Immediately after the pretzel is placed on the rack, brush it with egg white and dust it in coarse sea salt. Continue this process until all seven pretzels have been boiled.

 Place pretzels on a baking sheet and place them in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes to complete the cooking process.

I know it is complex, but if I can do it, so can you! In the end, as your reward, you get to enjoy my favorite happy hour food with a cold beer. What’s better than that?
COOK LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY!
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