January 25, 2016

Soft Pretzels with Creamy PepperJack Dip

When I was 12 years old my grandparents took me and 3 of my cousins on a US History tour in the Washington DC area. While on that trip we visited the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the first commercial pretzel bakery in the US. I practiced twisting pretzels, I ate pretzels, both soft and hard, and I came home determined to make my own soft pretzels. I tried, and they were good, but not great. Perhaps my expectations for a homemade product were too high. 

A few years ago my little sister made some homemade pretzels that were AMAZING but she couldn't remember which recipe she used.
It renewed my desire to make delicious soft pretzels. After a few less than awesome attempts, I combined what I liked from 4 different recipes and these were the result. 

Try them and see what you think.

2 c. Warm Milk 
1 1/2 Tbsp. Yeast
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

Combine in mixing bowl, let sit until bubbly, about 10 min.

2 tsp. Salt
4 1/2 c. Flour
Knead for about 5 min until dough pulls away from the bowl and is soft and elastic.

While the dough is kneading 
2 c. Water
2 Tbsp. Baking Soda
Bring to a boil in a large saucepan
Turn off heat, and let cool.

Place dough in a greased bowl and let raise until double in size, approx. one hour.

Divide Dough into 8 pieces, roll each piece into a rope, then shape into a pretzel.
Once shaped, dip each pretzel into baking soda mixture, then lay on parchment lined cookie sheet and let raise another 10-15 min.

Beat 1 egg.
Brush each pretzel with beaten egg.

Bake at 500' approx 10 min.

Remove from oven, brush with butter, sprinkle with kosher salt, and serve with Creamy PepperJack Dip.

Pepper-Jack Dip

1 c. Pepper Jack Cheese
1 block Cream Cheese cut into cubes
1/3 c. Milk

Mix together in an oven safe bowl/dish, bake on cookie sheet @ 500* for 20 min.
Stir after removing from oven, it will be slightly lumpy, but oh so creamy and good. (I'm sure it would also taste good made in the microwave if that's easier for you.)

They're also great for playing peek-a-boo, in case you're into that sort of thing.

January 14, 2016

Baby Cannon

I had the amazing experience last week of being with my sister for the birth of her first child.
Life is a miracle.

 All pictures taken with my Nikon D3300 and 35mm 1.8 lens.