Sunday, August 28, 2016

Coconut Pecan Cookies

Sweet chewy Coconut Pecan Cookies

I don't think words can do justice to how tasty these cookies are. Just imagine a perfect party of butter, brown sugar, coconut, and pecans nestled all cozy inside a cookie. It's the sweet taste of toffee with the chew of a soft cookie and the perfect texture of toasted pecans and coconut. Mmm...
These awesome cookies are a slight modification of the Coconutty Cookies with Toffee Bits that I already love. I didn't feel like going out and spending money on macadamia nuts and almonds today, though; plus I am out of Crisco. So this is what I did, and they're so good that they deserve their own post.

If these sound good to you, you'll love them for sure. And if you share them with others, I'm pretty sure that they will love them too. It's just one of those cookies, you know?

Coconut Pecan Cookies

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups chopped lightly toasted pecans
  • 1 cup toffee bits (use Heath Toffee bits or recipe below)
Instructions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cream butter, coconut oil and sugars.  Beat in baking soda and salt.  Beat in vanilla extract and eggs.  
3.  Mix in flour just until blended. Then stir in coconut, nuts and toffee bits.
4.  Scoop by tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving two inches between cookies. 
5.  Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes, or until cookies are puffed and start to brown around the edges.
6.  Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: I like to keep my cookie dough in the fridge, or make and freeze dough balls. This dough does great with refrigeration or freezing. If you're not going to bake it all of within about three days, I recommend freezing the dough in pre-portioned dough balls.

Makes about 4 dozen 3-inch diameter cookies


I just happened to have some homemade vanilla ice cream on hand...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies: Peanut Buttery Oaty goodness

You know, every time I've eaten a monster cookie, I've loved it. Just loved it. But I've never ever thought to make them myself. I can't say why. Just haven't.

I saw a pin of these cookies on Pinterest. Center Cut Cook made them jumbo sized and they looked so attractive. I pinned the pic realizing I'd likely never make them--as I will never attempt even a fraction of the recipes I've pinned.
Lucky for me, though, my husband asked me to bake something as a little thank you for the custodians at his school where he's a VP. I'm hoping they like these.
The cookies are soft and chewy, full of peanut butter flavor and nice oatmeal cookie chew. The chocolate chips and M&Ms add sweetness as well as fabulous chocolate flavor. A very satisfying cookie for sure.
Note: I used two types of peanut butter, but you can just use chunky or smooth--whatever you have on hand. Plus, I had various sizes of M&Ms after my son's birthday, so I mixed it up with the different sizes--totally unnecessary, but fun.

Monster Cookies   
--Adapted from CenterCutCook.com

Ingredients:
  • 4 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural Super Chunk)
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural Creamy)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini M&M candies
  • 1/4 cup regular M&M candies
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels)
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Measure out the oats and baking soda and place in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine/cream together the peanut butters, butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.
Add the oats & baking soda mixture and stir to completely incorporate the oats. Add the M&Ms and the chocolate chips and stir by hand to evenly distribute the M&Ms and chocolate chips.
Using a medium size cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons), scoop balls of cookie dough onto one of the parchment lined cookie sheets, spacing cookies about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Gently smoosh each dough ball to about 1/2 inch thickness.
Bake one pan at a time for 8-10 minutes. While one pan bakes, fill the next cookie sheet with dough balls.
When cookies are puffed and start to brown a little on the edges, they are done. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes before removing with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store cookies in an airtight container.

Makes about 6 dozen 3- inch cookies









Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Iowa State Fair Food Competition is Dead to Me

This past fall, I learned how to make a perfect French bread batard at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center. So, although I didn't really express it out loud to anyone, I was pretty psyched to enter the King Arthur Flour Yeast Bread competition this year at the Iowa State Fair.
I mean, I have spent the last two months making lots and lots of loaves of French bread, trying out different methods, baker's lames and sourdough starter to get it just right in flavor, texture, and appearance. I've made French bread at least twice a week for the last couple of months. Seriously. Lots of bread. I keep finding more demi-baguettes tucked away into my two freezers.
So, when I got to the fair after only 2 1/2 hours of sleep and saw that there were only three entries in the French Bread class at the fair, I thought, "Well, I'll at least get a third place ribbon." To tell the truth, though, I thought I had the blue ribbon in the bag and was really hoping to place for the overall bread, which would have given me a King Arthur Flour gift card to spend. I really thought I was a contender.
I'm going to cut to the chase here: my French bread batard didn't even get a 3rd place ribbon. "How is that even possible, Kelly? I thought you said that there were only three entries." I did say that.
Here's the thing with the judging of breads at the Iowa State Fair: If the judge believes that none of the entries deserves first place, they won't award it. Even if there's just one entry in a class, a judge might give it second place, or third place, or NO place at all. I am telling you the truth. Those "seasoned" judges are tough
This seasoned toughness has frustrated and even angered me in the past (see White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cinnamon Roll post). But nothing, and I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for what happened this year. 
When you go to the Iowa State Fair Food Competition in the Elwell Family Food Center, you'll see the judging rooms set up with tables in the front where the judges and their scribes sit, and then there are the chairs, facing the judges' table, for the audience consisting of the entrants, their supporters, and other interested folks.
I was sitting in the front row, and watched intently as the third judge from the left started cutting into the French breads. I saw her taste the first one, make some comments that her scribe wrote down, and then I saw her cut into the next loaf. She made more comments, and then she cut into my loaf last, scrunched up her nose, made some comments, scrunched her nose some more as she examined the interior and exterior of my loaf, made more comments, and then the scribe started the wrap-up procedures and the judge asked for the microphone.
My mind was whirring, and my heart was thumping, as I listened to her judgment. Did I look away when she tasted the other breads? Is she really finished? "There were three entries in the French bread class, and I'm only awarding first place to ____."
What the...?
She didn't even TASTE the other two loaves! She awarded a blue ribbon to a loaf she didn't even taste, and she didn't place my loaf that she didn't taste either. Oh. My. Gosh.
What just happened?
I am so DONE with this competition. I decided then and there. Completely. DONE. 
With my heart pumping hard, I walked across the front, over to my loaf on the reject table at the side, and I picked up the two pieces of my loaf to confirm that the judge had not tasted any of it (a huge no-no in food competition--you're supposed to wait to pick up your entry in the back after the tags have been processed). 
Then I walked straight back to the food competition superintendent and lodged my complaint/accusation. 
All of the details at this point just don't matter. We looked at the loaf, I pointed out the judge to the superintendent, we looked at the score card to confirm that my entry was actually judged (as opposed to disqualified for some reason)--and what do you know! I got 40 out of 50 points for flavor! Amazing. 
At this point I was completely disillusioned and disgusted. I went home without really knowing if they were going to do anything about it, but only partially caring because I had already decided that I was done with that farcical food competition. Forever.
Did I mention that I'd only gotten 2 1/2 hours of sleep the night before?
Of course, my curiosity got the better of me, and after a long nap at home, and a yummy dinner with my family at Zombie Burger, I had my husband drop me off at the fair so I could see how my other four entries did that day. 
All four of those entries placed: 2 first place and 2 second place. 
Armed with this satisfaction, I found the assistant to the superintendent, and chatted with her about what had gone down earlier in the day.
I had a chance to explain my frustration some more, as well as my realization that a bread competition is really not that big of a deal in the light of real life. First-world problem. I get that. 
I also reiterated, though, that I cannot compete any longer because each time I do, I risk this frustration and disappointment. I take the competition too seriously. I just do.
Now, you may be wondering, as I had been, if someone actually confronted the judge with my accusation. The assistant superintendent said that the judge had been spoken to, and the judge said that she did taste the entries. I maintain that she is lying through her teeth. Whatever. She'll still be a judge, and I will not be competing.
Many people I've talked to have said that I need to write the Des Moines Register about this, or dust myself off and continue competing. I will do neither. Despite that ridiculous judge (and some other ridiculous judges, by the way), the superintendent of the Food Competition and her team really do an amazing job at organizing and pulling off what is purportedly the largest food competition anywhere. It truly is a well-oiled machine, and lots of folks really do enjoy competing in that environment.
It really is a shame, though, that judges like the one I got are allowed to degrade the integrity and legitimacy of the competition. Other home bakers may have the emotional maturity and strength to not get all wrapped up in the drama and are able to take the injustice and disappointment in stride, but I recognize my own limitations, and am choosing to stay away.
Thanks for listening.



My five entries for the day
I got a ride from the parking lot at the VFW in this awesome truck because I brought the guys some rolls.
The three French bread entries. Mine is top left. The top right got first place.
The judge said she tasted a little bit of this bread. Can you tell where she took a piece? I can't either.


Notice that 50% of the points are for "Flavor."

First place in the Cinnamon Raisin class (Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread)

First place in the Cinnamon Roll (with nuts) class (Croissant Caramel Sticky Buns)

Second place in the Cinnamon Roll class (Croissant Cinnamon Rolls)

Second place in the Non-Sweet Yeast Roll Other Than Named class (Pretzel Rolls)

First place in the Friends class. Kara and Christie brought me flowers and an adult beverage to cheer me up.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Gluten Free Almond Flour Brownies

Rich and decadent Gluten Free Almond Flour Brownies.



These brownies were intended for my husband's boss who is supposedly going gluten-free. I say "supposedly" because even though I made these absolutely delicious gltuen-free brownies, he still ate several bites of the Oatmeal Cake I also made, which, as I reminded him, was not at all gluten-free. Of course, that oatmeal cake is something special. Perhaps I will try to make that with almond flour sometime...
This post is about brownies, though, and man, are these some GREAT brownies--so great, in fact, that I may just start making these brownies instead of my usual ones. They've got less butter, more protein, and they're super moist and delicious. You can't even tell that they're made with almond flour instead of wheat flour. Really.
The brownies taste of deep, rich chocolate. They are moist and chewy, even two days after baking, and if you know me at all, you know that for me to eat a baked product even one day after baking is pretty surprising. 
I added nuts to these because I enjoy nutted brownies, but you can definitely leave them off. You can also leave off the frosting if it's not your thing. Just know, that if you're needing some gluten-free brownies, you've found the recipe.
Enjoy.


Gluten Free Almond Flour Brownies
     --Adapted from KingArthurFlour.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 recipe Cocoa Frosting (recipe below)
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and butter an 8" square brownie pan (I like to line mine with parchment first and then butter a little bit for flavor).
In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, melt butter and add sugar and salt. Stir until mixture is hot--sugar probably won't melt all the way, but KAF included this step to help melt the sugar in the brownies to produce a glossy top.
Place butter/sugar mixture in a large heat-proof bowl and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes.   
Add vanilla and cocoa powder to the sugar butter, and mix thoroughly.
Add eggs and mix until smooth and shiny.
Add almond flour and baking powder and stir to combine.
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan, sprinkle nuts on top, if desired, and then bake at 350 degrees for 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs hanging on. (Note, mine got really puffy, and then upon cooling, the center sank a bit. Not sure if this is to be expected. So the center pieces are fudgier than the edges.)
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before attempting to frost.
Frost brownies when cool and cut into 16 or 25 pieces.   
Makes 16-25 brownies  
 
Cocoa Frosting


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons half and half 
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ground cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 cup butter, cut up 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions:
In 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat half and half with butter, stirring until blended. Add cocoa and sugar, mixing with wire whip until smooth. Heat on medium-low until mixture is thick and shiny and runs off the spoon like syrup and the first bubble appears on the surface (160°F). Do not boil or overcook frosting. Cool 5 minutes, add vanilla. Place pan of frosting in a bowl of ice and water (or snow in the winter). Beat slowly with spoon until frosting holds shape. Frost cake. Refrigerate to set frosting. Makes frosting for and 8-inch layer cake.

Almond Flour Brownies before frosting. I like to do nuts on only part of the batch. Some people like nuts, some don't.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Plank Potatoes


Crisp and tender baked potato planks.
All you really need to know about these is that they are delicious--crispy and salty on the outside, tender and fluffy on the inside. Plus, they're super easy.
I think I started making these as a bun substitute for my gluten-limited son's sloppy joes. He'd pile on the sloppy joe meat and eat it like an open-faced sandwich. The whole family enjoys them so much though, that they've made it onto our regular side rotation for all kinds of dinners. 
I bake mine on a sheet of parchment on my ever-present baking stone, but they would be fine on a baking sheet too. They're better than oven fries because they bake more evenly, I think. My oven fries tend to dry out and burn in some places, but are raw in others. 
At any rate, these are a nice side, AND you can adjust the level of oil (fat) according to your health needs.
Enjoy!

Plank Potatoes

Ingredients:
  • 2 to 4 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 2 to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1/4 inch planks and press cut sides onto a clean paper towel to absorb excess water. Place cut and dried potato planks in a large bowl.
Add oil, salt, and pepper to the bowl. (Generally, use 1 tablespoon of oil per medium size potato. Add a little more oil if you want to make sure they get crisp.) Toss with hands or a silicone spatula to coat both sides of each potato plank.
Line a rimless baking sheet, or the bottom of a baking sheet (if using a baking stone) with parchment paper. (If you don't have a baking stone, just line a baking sheet with parchment.)
Place potato planks in a single layer onto the parchment. If using the baking stone, slide the parchment with the potatoes onto the baking stone. If no baking stone, place pan in oven. Bake potatoes at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes, turning one time after the tops begin to brown. 
Remove from oven when they are baked to desired doneness.
Serve immediately.
Makes 2 to 5 servings



This one got cut a little thin and is just this side of burned. Still super tasty though.
I enjoyed this one by slathering it with chili and cheese. So good.




Monday, May 30, 2016

Hamburger Buns


Homemade Hamburger Buns

Here's my weird laziness: I wanted to have some hamburger buns for dinner tonight, but I just didn't want to get into the car and go to the grocery store. So I decided to finally make some homemade hamburger buns. 
It's something I've been wanting to try, but never have, because if I'm making a meal involving hamburger buns, it's usually going to be a quick meal, like burgers, or sloppy joes, or something of that speedy nature. 
Today is a holiday, though, and it was the perfect opportunity to look up a recipe and give it a go. Of course I went to King Arthur Flour first, and these buns got rave reviews. Decision made. 
Here's what you need to know about these buns:
They are, in fact, wonderful buns--slightly chewy exterior and a soft, light interior with a fine crumb. I halved the sugar since I didn't want any sweetness to my burger buns; AND I decided to see if they could be turned into pretzel buns. They can.
The size of these buns is on the large side. Think restaurant sized burger buns. Reviewers in KAF have made 12 buns from the recipe, and perhaps I will try that next time, but for now, I'll just make my hamburgers large enough to fit the big buns.
If you're looking for a burger bun recipe, look no further. This will do. Really, it will. 
Enjoy.

Hamburger Buns
      --adapted from kingarthurflour.com

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (for brushing buns before baking)
*For Pretzel Version:
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pretzel or kosher salt
Instructions:
  • In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix all of the dry ingredients. Add the butter and cut it in a little.
  • In dry weather, add the cup of water; and in humid weather, add 3/4 cup or a little more of the water. Also add the egg.
  • Mix and knead dough until it is soft, smooth, and elastic.
  • Place dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise 1 to 2 hours, or until about doubled in bulk (check after an hour and give it more time if needed).
  • Once dough has doubled, turn it out onto a clean work surface (no need to dust with flour). Cut dough into 8 equal portions and form each piece into a nice tight ball. 
  • Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment and then spraying the parchment with nonstick cooking spray. Working with one dough ball at a time, work it into a disk that is about 4 inches in diameter by flattening and stretching the dough. Place disk onto prepared baking sheet, and repeat with remaining dough balls. Cover finished disks with a sheet of wax paper that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • For pretzel version, bring the water to a simmer in a high-rimmed saucepan or saute pan. Gradually add the baking soda, taking care not to allow it to bubble over.
  • When buns have risen, place buns, probably two at a time, into the simmering water. Allow to simmer for 30-40 seconds, turning once halfway through. Using a slotted spatula, carefully remove simmered bun, drain briefly on a towel or paper towel, and then place it back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little pretzel or kosher salt. Repeat with remaining buns. Slash tops with a sharp knife, and proceed with baking.
  • For plain buns, brush tops of risen buns with a little melted butter (or brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or a little sliced onion).
  • Bake buns at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until well browned.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing. Freeze any leftover buns.
 Makes 8 large buns

Dough all mixed and ready to knead
Dough kneaded and ready for first rise

Dough after about 1 1/2 hours of rising
Eight dough balls ready to be flattened

Buns formed and ready for second rise
Buns after 50 minutes of rising
Half of this batch got pretzelized
A look at the bottom of a regular bun
A look at the bottom of a pretzelized bun
I can't believe the beautiful crumb on these buns!


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pretzel Rolls II

Pretzel Rolls

Last fall I had the privilege and pleasure of taking a four-day baking class at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Norwich, Vermont. Up until that class, for many years, I've done all of my bread making in my Kitchen Aid mixer, and it's done a fine job. 

What I rediscovered in class, though, is that kneading dough by hand is not only easy, but it's a very satisfying sensory experience. You can actually feel the dough changing texture and becoming smoother and bouncier as you knead it.
The instructors also taught us about a couple of things that can go wrong in regards to flour. First, have you ever learned the proper way of scooping and measuring flour? At KAF, they do it all by weight and recommend that method for complete accuracy, but if you're like me, and can only take on so many kitchen appliances, you need to know that when people measure flour by the cup, the weight can vary from person to person and cup to cup. They even had us conduct a comparison of our measuring. Our weights for one cup of flour ranged from 4.5 ounces to 6.25 ounces. Recipes are written with the 4 ounces per cup rule. Apparently most of us were ending up with way too much flour the way we were measuring.
So, if you're not using a scale, this is the way you should scoop and measure flour: stir the flour to lighten it up. Gently scoop and sprinkle the flour into the measuring cup, and then level it off with the back of a knife. This will get  you as close to the intended 4 ounces per cup that the recipe writer intended. (KAF actually knows people measure with heavy hands and their recipes, when given in cups, are written with a 4.5 ounce per cup ratio.)
So now you know that. 
Second, when kneading dough, you only need the slightest film of flour on your work surface to begin. Then you want to knead your dough with a gentle touch--it is both unnecessary and counter productive to knead dough so hard that you break the dough open, exposing the sticky insides. You sort of just fold the dough over on itself and gently push it away. This is enough to develop the gluten and strengthen the dough, which is the goal of kneading. When you do need to add a little flour because of stickiness, you only smear another thin layer of it onto the work surface, and then use a bench knife to scrape the dough up onto the floured surface and continue kneading.
And there apparently is no such thing as over kneading your dough. The only risk there, I suppose, is that the more you knead the dough, the stickier it may seem and the more flour you'll probably add to counteract the stickiness. You can stop kneading when the dough is smooth and springy/elastic.
The recipe as written below calls for all sorts of King Arthur Flour ingredients and one mixing tool. You can probably fudge with substitutions, but if you want to go more straightforward, you can try the first Pretzel Roll recipe I have here on this blog. I prefer the results from this version, but I also am a King Arthur Flour fan with lots of their products.
So, the rolls. I should tell you about these rolls. On the outside they are every bit as pretzely as they look--salty, chewy, and crunchy on the bottom right out of the oven. Mmm. Then on the inside they are so soft and tender with the most fabulous crumb. I think the bread flour in combination with the magic Baker's Special Dry Milk is what makes the insides so, so wonderful.
The rolls are good straight up, or with a little butter. My son has been enjoying them as sandwich buns, and my friend Christie enjoyed hers with some yummy Vegetable Beef Soup. I try not to enjoy too many of them, because I could very easily overdo it with these things.
So there you go, yummy pretzel rolls. Very much worth the mess and the time.  


Pretzel Rolls II
  -- Adapted from Two Bites in Suburbia
Ingredients:
  • 5-6 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Baker's Special Dry Milk (or 1/4 cup dry milk)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups water (110-120 degrees)
  • 4 quarts water (for boiling)
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • additional butter (optional)
  • Kosher or pretzel salt to taste
Instructions:
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix 5 cups of flour, yeast, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and dry milk. Once the dry ingredients are mixed, cut in the softened butter (preferably using a King Arthur bowl scraper--otherwise using a sturdy plastic/silicone spatula).
  • Add the water and mix until dough forms a cohesive, somewhat sticky mass. If the dough is much too sticky to work with, mix in more flour, 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
  • Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, rub palms of hands in flour, and gently knead dough until smooth, only adding a small amount of flour to the work surface as needed to keep dough from sticking (about 5 minutes).
  • Place inverted mixing bowl over the ball of dough and allow to rest for about 30 minutes, and then knead again for another 5 minutes or so, until dough is smooth and springy.
  • Place dough back in the mixing bowl (no need for a clean greased bowl), cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour (or 45-50 minutes on a warm day).
  • While dough rises, prepare two baking sheets by covering with a sheet of parchment paper. Place a large stock pot on the stove and fill with the 4 quarts of water--don't try to use a short Dutch oven--you'll need the head space for when you add the baking soda later. Turn water on low to get it heating.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • When dough has risen, turn up the heat on the water to medium high to bring it to a simmer/boil. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide dough in half and pull in the edges of each half to form two separate dough "pouches."
  • Gently flatten each pouch into a puffy disk. Cut each disc into 12 equal pieces. Take each piece and pull it together into a little pouch and set aside. 
  • When all of the dough has been preformed, gently roll each one into a nice, tight ball (see video below).
  • Get an old clean dish towel ready by folding it and placing it next to the pans.
  • Place dough balls onto prepared baking sheets. Once all of the dough balls have been formed, place one of the baking sheets of dough balls in the refrigerator for now. 
  • At this point you can gradually add the baking soda to the simmering/boiling water. Then drop about four dough balls into the water and allow to simmer for about 30-60 seconds, turning over a few times with a slotted spatula. Remove boiled dough balls one at a time, wipe the bottom of the spatula off on the towel, and the place the dough ball back on its spot on the baking sheet. 
  • Repeat with remaining dough balls for the first pan. Sprinkle boiled rolls with pretzel or kosher salt and slash each top with a very sharp razor blade.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 14-18 minutes, or until deep dark pretzel brown. You can turn the pan haflway through baking if you want uniform color on all rolls.
  • Also, halfway through the baking of the first pan of rolls, you can start boiling the second pan of rolls that were waiting in the refrigerator.
  • When rolls are done, remove from the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.
  • Makes 24 rolls


  • Freeze uneaten rolls on a pan or cooling rack until frozen, and then place in plastic zip-top bags and keep frozen until ready to use. (Freezing before placing in the bags prevents some moisture condensation from the rolls messing up the salt on top.)
  • I heat frozen rolls in the microwave for about 30 seconds on 50% power, or thaw at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes and then pop in a 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes to crisp up the outside.     
Just cut the butter into the dry ingredients.
This little scraper tool works great.
Dough is mixed and ready to knead.
Just barely coat the work surface with flour.
Dough after the first knead--underside
Dough after first knead--smooth side
Dough after resting 30 minutes under the inverted bowl
Dough after the second knead
Dough after rising for 60 minutes
Risen dough cut in half. The right portion has been formed into a pouch.
Each disk gets cut into 12 equal pieces. Or at least as equal as you can get them.
Dough formed into little pouches and ready for final rolling--see rolling below:
 
 
video

Tight balls of dough ready to boil
Water's boiling, towel, spatula, and salt ready to go
Rolls boiled and salted
Rolls slashed and ready for the oven
24 glorious little pretzel rolls




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