Today I spent most of my day baking. That to me is a good day! I am going to a party tonight so I wanted to bring a few things. I often bring goodies (usually sweets) to parties and even to smaller get-togethers. I really love baking but I don’t necessarily want to eat a whole recipe worth of cookies, brownies, or whathaveyou so I get other people to eat them! They don’t complain.
So I made three different things today. I will post today about two of them and save the third for another post.
First off: Homemade soft pretzels! A few weeks ago I picked up some Vanilla Bean Salt at a small kitchen shop in Half Moon Bay, Ca. When I think of large grains of salt I think pretzels so that is what I made first. Expect to see this salt in other upcoming experiments as well. I was really happy with how these pretzels came out and they were a lot of fun to make.
Buttery Soft Pretzels
4 tsps active dry yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tbls vegetable oil
¼ cup baking soda
2 cups water
Salt, for topping
Sugar cinnamon mixture, for topping
Few tablespoons Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter, melted
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in warm water. Let stand for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and add oil and yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead the dough until smooth, adding additional flour as needed, for about 8 minutes. Lightly oil the bowl, place dough in bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 410 degrees F.
Heat water in a sauce pan until boiling. Mix in baking soda and cover to keep warm.
When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope by rubbing the dough between your palms. Each piece should be about 18 inches in length. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape.
Dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution for about 10 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If using salt, sprinkle on before baking.
Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes, until browned.
While still hot, lightly brush melted Earth Balance on each pretzel using a pastry brush. If using sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle on right after brushing with butter.
Goodie #2: Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
These bars are pretty simple: pumpkin, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar, and spices. The taste is fantastic. I was a little surprised at the texture. These bars are more like fudge than cookie bars. That’s a-ok because they are delish. Hooray for pumpkin season! You can find the recipe here.
Expect to see a post on the third goodie sometime soon. I’ll keep it as a surprise but I will give you a hint: it involves a beloved vegan authoress, chocolate, and cayenne.
364 days ‘til the next pretzel day*
*Bonus to anyone who gets the reference!