Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lovey Pretzels


Hello everyone!

I have an obsession with pretzels. Seriously! I eat all kinds.

And don't even get me started on those pretzel rods from Starbucks dipped in caramel then chocolate. Oooooo simply divine!


The store bought, bagged variety are sufficient for snacking purposes but sometimes a pretzel-loving gal just gets a hankering to make her own.

So here are some pretzels inspired by my loved ones and the month of love.


Homemade Soft Pretzels
from gastronomy



Ingredients
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 14 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°.

Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion into an 18-inch-long rope with tapered ends. Cross one end of rope over the other to form a circle, leaving about 4 inches at end of each rope. Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape,
pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 10 minutes (pretzels will rise only slightly).

Combine 6 cups water and baking soda in a nonaluminum Dutch oven. B
ring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer. Gently lower 1 pretzel into simmering water mixture; cook 15 seconds. Turn pretzel with a slotted spatula; cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer pretzel to a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining pretzels.

Place pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth. Brush a thin layer of egg mixture over pretzels; sprinkle with kosher salt. For cinnamon and sugar pretzels, omit the salt completely.


Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Paint with melted butter for extra richness if desired. For cinnamon and sugar pretzels, paint with butter and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
Makes 12 pretzels.
Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine's Day Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting



two love birds from this photography project 

Hello!

Here's a tasty cupcake for YOU...yes YOU!


The cupcakes rise nicely and are just sweet enough...so they can handle a decent amount of frosting.

Ohhhh the frosting!!! Just amazing and only three ingredients!! (and it's vegan(!!!) although the cuppycakes are not)

 

These cupcakes are perfect for the sweetie in your life this Valentine's Day such as the recently available JOHNNY DEPP ;) 



but it's better to be single and have them ALL to yourself :) which wouldn't be hard to do!
However, don't get me wrong these cupcakes are not just for Valentine's Day. No siree!!

Spring, summer, fall or winter these babies will hit the spot for a deliciously decadent dessert! (they aren't thaaaat unhealthy, though)


So, enjoy!!

And for your listening pleasure, here's a somewhat seasonally appropriate song.

Vanilla Cupcakes
adapted from we choose organic.com

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees / 180 G Celsius and prepare your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

2. Pour together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.

3. Add 1/2 teaspoon vinegar to the milk and set aside for about 3-5 minutes.

4. In another bowl, add the 2 eggs and mix with handmixer. Now pour in the sugar and continue to mix for a minute.

5. Now add vanilla extract and vegetable oil and mix.

6. On low speed, add half of flour mixture, beat, then add half of milk mixture. Repeat until everything is combined and well mixed. Scrape down sides of the bowl too.

7. Now pour the rather thin batter into your cupcake pan and fill up the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake in your preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, use a toothpick, stick in the center of the cupcake, if it comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.

8. Let cupcakes cool for a couple of minutes before you remove them from the pan. Let cool completely on a plate or wire rack.

9. When completely cooled, you can start frosting them.



Frosting
adapted from the nourishing gourmet

1 cup of cocoa powder
3/4 cup of virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup of honey or agave
dash or two of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1. Gently melt the coconut oil in a saucepan (you don’t want to heat it, just melt it)
2. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and pulse until well combined.
3. Scrape into a small bowl and place in the freezer or refrigerator until it has hardened to desired consistency. Approximately 15 minutes in the freezer.
4. You can use a hand mixer to fluff the frosting up or if too stiff.











Friday, February 3, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil


My oh my! It's February already!! Hopefully everyone had a nice January.


Well, groundhog day has come and gone and Wiarton Willie (as he's called in these parts) hasn't seen his shadow so Spring comes early this year. Although we've barely had ANY winter weather to begin with.

p.s groundhog day is such a strange phenomenon.

Aaaanyway, here's some scrumptious chocolate chip cookies that you can savour while thinking up warm thoughts of Spring.


This recipe uses coconut oil instead of butter or any other type of oil, for that matter. 

The coconut oil  gives the just slightest bit of coconut flavour that it is ever so pleasing. And definitely gives these chocolate chip cookies an edge over the regular ones. 

Even if you don't like coconut I don't think you'll mind these cookies at all but...

then again I do like coconut so I don't have any stats from non-coconut lovers to give you.





Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from stetted

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (we didn't have whole wheat PF on hand so we used white)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together coconut oil and sugar, then beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. If dough is looking too runny, add a little more flour until it resembles standard cookie dough.
Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake approximately 10 minutes. They spread a lot, so be careful to not put the cookies too close together on the pan.






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