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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Beer Pretzels - #BreadBakers



Bread baking never ceases to amaze me. You take the same ingredients, manipulate them a little differently, and then you are left with a wide variety of bread that look and taste different. I'm ready to admit that I prefer baking bread to baking cakes. It's just that I prefer eating cakes so I'll always need to cream some butter and sugar.

For this month's Bread Bakers, we're taking flour, yeast,  and water (ahem, beer) and turning them into pretzels. There's some butter in there too because I wanted soft pretzels. But Alton Brown (from whom I adapted this recipe) said if you left the butter out, added more beer/water to compensate, and baked a little longer, you'd have some great hard pretzels. See what I'm talking about? Easy manipulation; different product.

Lots of pretzel recipes below so keep on scrolling. Thanks to our host, Stacy!

 Beer Pretzels

Ingredients

22oz flour (by weight)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups beer
10 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon water

Mix together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast then add melted butter and beer. Knead about 6 minutes until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Place dough in an oiled and covered bowl. Let rise at room temperature until doubled.

Preheat oven to 450F.
Line baking sheets with GREASED parchment paper.
Bring the water and baking soda to a boil.
Divide dough into 12 equal portions (approximately 3 ounces each). Roll each portion into a 24 inch rope. Shape the rope into a U, twist twice and then bend over to form a pretzel.
Dip each pretzel into the boiling baking soda solution for about 30 seconds. Drain then place on baking sheet.
Mix the egg yolk and half tablespoon of water. Brush over each pretzel.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until pretzels are dark, golden brown.
Hide them from your family so that you can eat them all.

Notes

  • The pretzels will stick if the parchment isn't greased well. Also, drain well before placing on parchment. 
  • The original recipe used 2/3 cup baking soda but some commenters said this made it bitter. You're welcome to try with the full amount.
  • I used Red Stripe Beer. 



BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Chicken and Corn Muffins - #MuffinMonday



It's a special edition of Muffin Monday - Muffin-Wednesday-because-the-last Monday-fell-on-Christmas-Day. I think this was definitely my busiest Christmas season ever. After a marathon cooking session on Monday (I rarely cook so I am extreeeeeeemely slow in the kitchen), I was ready for bed by 7 pm. It was great to get almost 8 hours sleep and wake up on Boxing Day with very few pressing issues. And then I remembered that I hadn't made my muffins yet!

I chose ingredients that I knew would be left over from dinner - cured chicken (we don't eat ham anymore so we cure a chicken in just the same way we'd have made the ham; I miss ham!) and some corn. Truthfully, the leftover corn would come from me always holding back some corn to nibble on - even if my salad could do with more. And here's even more truth for you, I didn't even add the full amount of corn to the muffins and as I stole some to nibble again. I kinda like corn.

Chicken and Corn Muffins
Yield: 6 muffins

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil
heaping 1/4 cup cooked chicken, diced small
heaping 1/4 cup corn

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F and line 6 cups in a muffin tin with wrappers.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cayenne, garlic, and onion. In a separate container whisk together the egg yolk, milk, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until most of the flour is moist. Next fold in the chicken and the corn.

Bake 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne does make these a little spicy. 
  • Some cumin would have been wonderful here but I forgot to add it.
  • Cheese would have been great here too.

Muffin Monday



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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sorrel Mini Bundts - #BundtBakers




For the past week, I've been neck-deep in my least favourite Jamaican Christmas tradition - cleaning the house. I don't know whose grand idea it was to deep clean the house at Christmastime but I don't like you very much right now. I'm not being my regular whiny self either, folks. This is some serious cleaning. It's spring cleaning on steroids. EVERY SINGLE ITEM in the house is CLEANED. And while that's going on, the house might also be painted. Every curtain and drape, every single wine glass that we never use because we never drink wine, every single one of those 1 million plates that I think we need to get rid of because we don't use them ever and I don't want to wash them next year. Dear shot glass collection, you are on my hit list. And no, I do not have a dishwasher. While all the crazy cleaning is going on, Jamaicans might also be painting their homes. Why oh why do we do this to ourselves? Isn't Christmas hectic enough? I need a very long nap and a cup of sorrel with lots of rum.

Sorrel


Now, sorrel is definitely my favourite Christmas tradition. The plant is called Jamaica hibiscus elsewhere but if you ask for hibiscus here, you will get something quite different. You'll find it in various shades of red, with almost everyone preferring the darkest colour that you can find. The sorrel is placed in a large pot with water and lots of spices (my family uses ginger, cinnamon leaves, cloves, pimento, and orange peel), brought to a boil and then left to steep for a while. It's then sweetened and then copious amounts of rum is added. We don't add rum in my household and on more than one occasion, I have walked away from a friend's house extremely tipsy because I forgot that everyone else goes a little bit crazy with the rum. It might actually be unpatriotic to NOT add rum to your sorrel so fellow Jamaicans, don't arrest me. We just pretend to be teetotallers over here but we really aren't.

This month the Bundt Bakers are baking up Christmas Bundts and I decided to try out a sorrel bundt. It just isn't Christmas if there's no sorrel. I don't care about the fruit cake and the ham. (OK, I do care about the ham.) But the sorrel? It's a must have. The sorrel gives the little cakes a pinkish hue. I think it might have been a bit more pink if I'd made my batter a bit acidic - but that's an experiment for another time.

Thanks for hosting, Sneha! Lots of Christmassy bundts below. Keep scrolling!

Sorrel Mini Bundts

Ingredients 
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sorrel (prepared or steep 1/2 cup dried sorrel in 1/2 cup hot water overnight. Drain.)
Directions
Thoroughly grease 3 one cup capacity mini Bundt pans. Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until well combined and then add the oil, egg, and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture along with the sorrel. Mix until almost combined and then add the remaining flour. Mix well and then divide into prepared mini Bundt pans.

Bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a mini Bundt comes out clean.




BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.
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