Pretzel Bites

To quote struggling_along: “These are awesome!”.

DSCN4190These being ham and cheese filled pretzel bites. I found the recipe here at Pip & Ebby. What a great soft pretzel!  Adding ham and cheese takes it over the top. We eat them as a light meal or as a snack. Somehow, either way, there are never any leftovers!

DSCN4187  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made these in the last few weeks. I usually make a double batch and try to freeze some for another day. I managed to freeze a small batch just to see how they did in the freezer. I froze them after boiling but before baking. They baked up great with only a few extra minutes needed in the oven. “Extra” cooked pretzels reheat superbly in the oven or toaster oven. I read in the comments (on Pip & Ebby) that the microwave works well too.

DSCN4239

Here’s how they look after boiling. I froze some at this stage, then bagged them once frozen.

Here is the pdf printable of the recipe. I’ve reproduced the pdf printout below for your convenience. Although, I recommend popping on over to Pip & Ebby – if only to drool over her photos.

……….

Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites
(Source: penniesonaplatter.com)
Servings: 48 bites
Ready in: 2 hours,45 minutes
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)
2½ to 3 cups flour
1 package (1/4 oz) instant dry yeast
½ cup finely chopped ham
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 cups water
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
Directions:
1.In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.
In a large bowl combine 2 ½ cups flour, the milk mixture and the yeast. Stir
until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.
2. Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and
cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.
3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust
hands and rolling pin with flour. Roll one of the four sections into a 12×4- inch rectangle. With the long side facing you, gently press ¼ of the
ham and cheese into the bottom third of the dough, and roll as tightly as possible, starting with the end that has the filling. Cut into 12 1-inch pieces and transfer to a
baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of dough.
4. Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
5. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
Boil pretzels in batches, cooking about 20 seconds each, turning once. They should be
slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheets.Bake until
puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Brush warm pretzel bites with melted butter
and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm
…………

 I cut the rolls into thirds instead of bite-sized pieces. After boiling I cut the thirds into bite sized pieces. I also grease a cookie sheet instead of using parchment paper, which kept sticking to the bottoms.

If your kids love to help in the kitchen, like mine do, I suggest getting them involved in the first steps of the process. My youngest two (4 and 2) are quite capable at measuring out the ingredients and mixing up the dough. They also help sprinkle flour, roll the dough out, prepare, and add, the filling.

DSCN4235DSCN4182You’ve got to try them!

mossy_stone

sharing with:

slightly indulgent tuesday

barn hop

wildcrafting wednesday

farmgirl friday

Chèvre Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped Chicken

I’m been meaning share more from Nourishing Traditions but lately most of the recipes I’ve been using from Nourishing Traditions have been simple and basic: sauté in butter, season to taste with salt and pepper and maybe a splash of lemon juice. Simple, good but not really enough for a post. But this chicken, stuffed with herbed chèvre, wrapped in bacon is definitely post worthy. I saw a similar recipe on Pinterest and later when it was time to get dinner going and I had some freshly made goat cheese and chicken on hand…well one thing lead to another.

First I pounded the chicken to make it uniformly flat and just a little bigger so it would be easier to roll up. Then I mixed up some of the goat cheese I made earlier with some oregano and rosemary I have growing in the kitchen and some salt and pepper. This time I made a simple goat cheese from some yogurt I made from our goats’ milk and strained until it was thick. It was a tad more soft and spreadable than the somewhat chalky bars of goat cheese sold at the supermarket. Store brought goat cheese will work too- just cut a few slices and season (or buy pre-seasoned). Then roll it up and wrap two pieces of bacon around each piece of chicken and secure with toothpicks. The bacon not only lends flavor but helps keep the goat cheese inside.

The next step is to brown it on the stove top- and preheat your oven to 350F. I love my cast iron and it works well for the transfer to the oven. Otherwise brown the chicken and transfer to an oven-safe dish. Bake in the oven till done.

Then serve. I made wild rice and green beans. As you can see in the photo below the goat cheese and herb is absorbed and infuses the chicken with flavor but there isn’t a separate layer inside like when chicken is stuffed with ham and cheese. And if anyone doesn’t like goat cheese you can always skip the goat cheese and just wrap with bacon. Although, in my opinion, they’d be missing out.

Enjoy!

mossy_stone

sharing with:

simple lives thursday, fightback friday, freaky friday, farm girl friday,homestead barn hop, monday mania, make your own! monday, melt in your mouth monday, fat tuesday, slightly indulgent tuesday, hearth and soul hop, scratch cookin, weekend gourmet carnivalclever chicks, ,real food wednesdaygluten-free wednesdaythis chick cookswildcrafting wednesday,healthy2dayfrugally sustainable,


Homemade Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars

Maybe walking pass the aisle of heart shaped boxes is getting to me.

I had to make some candy. I’ve been intending to make some homemade peanut butter cups but I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand. I did have some chocolate chips and coconut tho,- and you can’t go wrong with chocolate and coconut.These use white sugar (could be replaced with honey perhaps) so they’re no so much a real food but at least they are HF corn syrup and preservative free.

The first step to making chocolate covered bars is to assemble the coconut bar filling and baked them. Press in almonds (use soaked and dehydrated nuts if possible) and let cool. I really like the almonds as the chocolate is so sweet but I left some plain for the not-so-much-of-a-nut-fan folks. I’d also make them smaller- like half the size.

Coat the cooled bars in melted chocolate and cool at least 4 hours to allow the chocolate to re-harden.

Or dig in….

Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars

1 (14 oz) package shredded coconut, sweetened preferred

1 jumbo egg white or 2 small egg whites                        2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract                                                       Almonds

1/3 c (or use up to 1/2c) sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Combine all but chocolate chips. Form bars and bake till golden around the edges. Press in almonds, if using. Let cool. Coat in melted chocolate (use 2 forks). Let sit till firm to touch-least 4 hours.

mossy_stone

sharing this post with:

mouthwatering monday, homemaker monday, homesavvyatoz, melt in your mouth monday, made at home mondays, hearth and soul , fat tuesday, slightly indulgent tuesday, food for thought, weekend gourmet, real food wednesday, what’s cooking wednesday, gluten free wednesday, frugal days sustainable ways, healthy2day, simple lives thursday, two maids a baking, fight back friday, farmgirl friday, sunday school

In the Kitchen :: Baking

During the past week there has been a lot of baking going on in my kitchen. First: Stuffed Pretzels. Farmama shared Brooke’s Stuffed Pretzels recipe a while back. She stuffed theirs with provolone and pesto with caramelized onions. Not having any pesto nor enough fresh basil on hand to make some I came up with my own variations for the stuffing.

Cinnamon and Raisin

(with sucanat)

The other half I made savory. I started with brushing on some mustard then I layered provolone cheese, caramelized onions, spinach and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Other changes I made: I did not do the baking soda dip on the cinnamon raisin nor did I salt or brush them with oil. They baked up beautifully- more of a cinnamon roll than a pretzel. I have noticed that the sucanat starts getting hard and burnt fairly easily so it’s important to take them out of the oven as soon as the dough is baked. I baked the cinnamon raisin ones first which might be why I only have a photo of the savory ones after being baked.

The savory pretzels got the full treatment- a dip in baking soda water, brushed with oil, sprinkled with salt (coarser grained salt works best- I used flakes). Baked til golden brown.

Delicious! I like reheating them in the toaster oven.

Also fresh from the oven this past week: gingerbread cookies,

and yet another pumpkin pie….to go with my gingered whipped cream.  I blended several pieces of crystallized ginger in with the heavy cream. Wow is that stuff good! If you’re culturing and making your own sour cream don’t forget to add a bit in with the heavy cream and make the whipped cream probiotic.

Also baked but no photos tho, chocolate pancakes with almond extract and…. chocolate cake!

For your convenience (from the link above @ farmama’s) here’s……

  Brookespretzels

You will need:

5 Cups All Purpose Flour (I’m sure you can substitute with some wheat, rye or spelt or…..)

4 tsp. Yeast (or one packet)

1 tsp. sugar

1 1/4 Cup. Warm water

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

A bit of Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Baking Soda

For the Filling:

2 TBSP. Butter

1 Onion sliced

Salt & Pepper

Pesto

Your favorite cheese (Brooke used Provolone)

Instructions:

1) Dissolve the 4 tsp. (or 1 packet) of yeast in 1 1/4 cup of water with 1 tsp. sugar. Let stand about 10 minutes.

2) Mix 5 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle and add about a Tablespoon of olive oil and the water/yeast mixture. If it is too dry add about one tablespoon of water at a time. Knead until the dough is smooth (about 7-8 minutes).

3) Cover and place in a warm spot for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

4)Make the filling by carmelizing the onion in the butter. To do this put the sliced onion in a pot with the butter. Cook low and slow on top of the stove until the onion is golden brown and sweet.

5) Preheat oven to 450F.

6) When dough has doubled in size, roll it into a rectangular-ish shape, about 1/4 inch thick and spread the filling evenly over the surface. Brooke also put basil pesto from our freezer and some provolone cheese in the pretzels she made us. You could use just about anything to stuff these pretzels. Lots of room to be creative! Roll up the rectangle and slice it into 12 equally sized pieces. (Brooke suggests using a serrated knife for this.) Put each slice onto a sheet tray and let the (now stuffed) pretzels rise again until about doubled.

The Dunk:

A baking soda bath is what gives pretzels their distinct flavor.

7) Mix together 1/2 cup of baking soda and 4 cups of hot water. When the baking soda has dissolved, dunk the proofed pretzels one at a time, and set them back onto the sheet tray. Brush each pretzel with some olive oil and a tiny bit of mustard, and lightly dust each pretzel with some salt (Brooke recommends Cyprus flake salt.)

8) Bake at 450F until the pretzels are golden brown.

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Let us know if you decide to make them, or if I’ve forgotten any important details. They really are as good as they look!

Thanks for sharing Brookie!

mossy_stone

this post is part of traditional tuesday, real food wednesday, frugal days sustainable ways, simple lives thursday, fight back friday, sunday school