Welcome to the Foodie Extravaganza!
We are a group of bloggers who love to blog about food! Each month we will decide on an all-famous National Monthly Food Holiday in which we will base our recipes around. This month the ingredient is pretzels with an optional ingredient of caramel. Yes, October is National Pretzel Month along with a whole array of other delightful things!! Get excited!! We hope you all enjoy our delicious pretzel treats this month and come back to see what we bring for you next month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.
This is my first month participating in Foodie Extravaganza, and I'm so honored to join this fabulous group of bloggers! So, welcome to today's extravaganza, and also welcome to the first day of October! Good grief - where has this year GONE?! I always say - once you hit October the year is essentially over. You roll from one Holiday into the next and before you can blink, it's time to put the Christmas tree away and welcome in the New Year. What an amazing year it has been - I am looking forward to the upcoming Holiday season, and to kick that off it is fall baking season! What better way to get the fall baking season going then to incorporate some delicious apples into this month's selection of pretzels!
If you are a novice boiled frosting maker (or novice "soft-ball" stage sugar cooker) like me - I highly recommend that you take a look at this video first. I wasn't sure what I was doing, at all, and whisked my cream / sugar mixture which caused the frosting to "sugar". It was grainy, but still delicious. :) I used the full frosting recipe (linked below) and used most for a cake that I'll be posting soon (yumm!) and used the rest to dip these delicious, soft, chewy apple cinnamon pretzels in!
The dough was a little difficult to roll out with the bits of apple, but just do the best you can - you'll loose some when you're rolling, and again when you boil them, but you'll still have some yummy tender bites of apple to enjoy mixed into the soft, buttery pretzel dough.
I have actually never done boiled pretzels before! I used to make pretzels in high school ALL the time - I would take them and sell them occasionally at events for a little extra "fun money". This is when we lived overseas in West Africa, so soft pretzels were a big treat for all of the Americans who were living there and didn't typically have access to those types of treats which reminded them of home. Those pretzels were just allowed to rise after being shaped, then egg washed, salted, and baked. I remember our tiny little kitchen, already hot thanks to the Africa heat, getting practically unbearable especially with almost no real ventilation - but I had such a good time baking! Big thanks to my mom who tolerated my "hobby" even then (and my hubby, who tolerates it now)!
So, this was a learning experience for me all around, and one everyone in the house enjoyed. This entire recipe disappeared in about 24 hours flat, and I only ate one pretzel. My husband and son ate the rest, and my daughter got a few bites in too. :) My son said these really needed the frosting as the dough was on the bland side by itself. I think that is largely because I didn't salt the tops of these before baking, but since they were meant to be sweet pretzels I left the salt off. I think they would probably be really good if you dipped them in melted butter then some cinnamon sugar after baking! The original bake time of 12 - 14 minutes on the parchment paper resulted in soft, chewy pretzels. If you like yours to have more of a firm crust, allow them to bake longer, or even move them from the baking sheets directly onto the rack for a few extra minutes to get crispier all around. My husband liked the very soft, chewy crust, and I liked mine a little crisper!
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (or 1 package)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 small apple, peeled and diced small
1 tsp cinnamon
4 TBS unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup baking soda
4 TBS unsalted butter, melted
- To make the dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Blend gently with a spoon or whisk until combined and allow the yeast to proof (let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until the surface looks foamy / bubbly and a little puffy). Add the flour, cinnamon, and melted butter and mix until the dough just comes together. Turn speed up to medium and allow the dough blend until it is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and scrape out any dough / flour from the bottom. Pour a little vegetable oil in the bottom of the bowl and return dough ball to bowl, flip over so both sides are lightly coated in oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towl and allow to rise in a warm place (I usually leave mine on top of an oven that I have pre-heated to 350 degrees and then turned back off).
- Prepare 2 baking sheets by covering with parchment paper.
- When the dough has risen, punch down, add in the apple pieces and divide into 8 sections.
- Working one piece at a time, roll the dough into an approximately 24" long rope. Make a U-shape with the dough, and holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and onto the bottom of the U-shape to form a pretzel. Transfer the pretzel to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Allow dough to rise again for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and prepare the water to boil them in by pouring the 10 cups of water into a large pot with the baking soda. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil when the pretzels have become puffy.
- Working 1-2 pretzels at a time, place into the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds, flipping once. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to remove the pretzels from the water and transfer to paper towels and allow to drain and remove excess moisture, then move them back to the baking sheet. Repeat with all the pretzels.
- Melt 2 TBS of butter and brush the tops of all of the pretzels (sprinkle with a touch of cinnamon sugar or salt if desired - or you can add some cinnamon sugar after baking if desired). Bake for about 12 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden brown, and to desired crispiness on the outside. If desired, brush with an additional 2 TBS of butter and allow to cool on a rack (you can also brush with butter and then dip in cinnamon sugar if desired).
- Serve with caramel cream cheese frosting for dipping.
3/4 cups (light) brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoons half and half
1 TBS butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 brick of cream cheese
- Mix sugar and half and half in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring over low heat until the sugar has completed melted into the liquid. Turn the heat up and use a candy thermometer to register when the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (235 degrees). If you do not have a thermometer, or just want to confirm the mixture has reached the softball stage, get a small bowl filled with ice water. Use a spoon to drop some of the sugar mixture in. Give it a second to cool and then see if you can reach in and gather the mixture together into something that will hold together. If you can form it into a "ball" - it is ready! (And it tastes really good, so go ahead and taste test... for scientific testing purposes...)
- Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter, then let syrup cool. (This took several hours, although that was for a larger batch, but be prepared to allow this part of the process some time.)
- Once cooled, add in the vanilla and cream cheese and beat until smooth and the desired consistency has been reached. If it is too thick, add a small amount of half and half or additional cream cheese and continue blending until you get the correct consistency.