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    Entries by Taneasha (191)

    Wednesday
    Feb012017

    It's Authors Kitchen's Birthday!!

    That’s right, Authors Kitchen is 6 years old today! And no, that’s not a picture of a cake. I know cakes are traditional fare for birthdays, but you know how I feel about traditions. Besides, my own birthday is on the 12th, so I’m sure I’ll be making something cake like between now and then. Also, as an added bonus, these pretzel bites are the perfect snack for your Super Bowl party this weekend.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 2 ½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 packet instant yeast (1 scant Tablespoon)
    • 1 cup warm water 

     For Later:

    • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ cup hot water
    • Pretzel salt (or other coarse salt)
    • Melted butter 

    Into a mixing bowl go the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.

    Stir those together and then pour in the water. You want the water to be bath water warm.

    I like to stir those together with a spoon just until it comes together into a shaggy mess.

    Then the stand mixer will take care of the rest. Give it a good 5 minutes with the dough hook. I like to use the third speed setting on my KitchenAid for that. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can always knead by hand. Just dump it onto the counter and go to town for probably 10 minutes, or until your arms give out. Whichever comes first. When it’s ready, the dough should be soft and smooth, but not really sticky anymore.

    Butter a medium sized bowl.

    Place your dough ball upside down in the bowl and turn it to coat the top side with butter.

    Then flip it over and turn it again so that the whole ball has a light coating of butter. This will keep it from drying out while it’s rising.

    Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set it aside to do its thing.

    While that’s rising, you can make the alkaline mixture. This is the secret ingredient. It’s what makes pretzels chewy on the outside. Measure about ½ cup hot water, then add 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda. Stir until the baking soda is completely dissolved. If it won’t completely dissolve, just add a little more hot water.

    After about thirty minutes or so, the dough has probably risen enough for what we’re making. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 400°

    Punch the dough down and pat it out on an unfloured surface. Yes, I know there is flour in my picture, but it wasn’t necessary, and I ended up having to scrape it out of the way for the next step.

    Cut the dough into four pieces and roll each one into a rope. My favorite place for these is Wetzel’s Pretzels, so I was trying to copy theirs for size. Mine were probably about an inch in diameter, which was good.  

    Cut each rope into segments. Mine were probably about 1 ½ inches. Can you use this same recipe to make whole pretzels? Sure! Just roll the ropes thinner and shape them into a pretzel shape and then continue with the rest just the same.

    Dip each segment into the soda water solution and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. I dipped mine into the salt, which made for overly salty pretzels. I recommend sprinkling it over the top, instead. If you want to make sweet ones or if you just don’t like salt, you can also leave them bare at this point. Just make sure they all get a dip in the soda water.

    Into the 400° oven for about 10 minutes. When they’re done, they’ll be nicely browned.

    Melt a couple tablespoons of butter and brush it over each one. (If you do want to make sweet ones, you would just dip each one in butter and then roll them in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.)

    And that’s it! Did you know it was so easy to make your own pretzels? And aren’t they beautiful? You can serve them with whatever you like for dipping. Personally, I like good ol’ French’s yellow mustard.  

    What are you going to be eating during the Super Bowl this year?

     

    Monday
    Sep122016

    Zucchini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Well, here in Utah, Zucchini season is starting to wind down, but if you grow zucchini, you will have already had sautéed zucchini, breaded zucchini, baked zucchini, fried zucchini, zucchini pasta, zucchini casserole, zucchini bread, and, of course, the oh so fad-tastic zoodles. *shudder* That word is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Anyway, my point is, we can all use more zucchini recipes. Options are a good thing. These cookies are cake like, in texture, with a bit of chew from the oats, warm spices, and plenty of chocolate.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ½ cup butter (1 stick) – softened
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup grated zucchini
    • 1 cup flour
    • ½ cup whole wheat flour
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon spice mix
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup oats
    • 2 cups chocolate chips 

    Preheat your oven to 350°. Then go ahead and grate your zucchini. I like to just use a box grater. Even though I still make a mess, it’s much easier to clean up than the 87 parts of the food processor.

    There we go. This looks like a lot, but I was doubling the recipe, so just ignore that.

    Now, in your mixing bowl, beat the butter for about a minute, until it’s nice and soft. Add the sugar and mix on medium speed for about two minutes, scraping everything down a time or two in the middle.

    Add the egg.

    Mix until it’s thoroughly incorporated, scraping everything down again, and then add the vanilla.

    When that’s mixed in, add the zucchini. Just a quick note, the zucchini should be room temperature when you grate it, so if you’ve had it in the fridge, make sure you pull it out ahead of time.

    Once the zucchini is incorporated, step away from that for a minute to deal with the dry ingredients.

    Let’s talk spices for a minute. Along with the cinnamon, I used Penzey’s Pie Spice. It’s just a mix of spices. Cinnamon (China, Korintje, Ceylon, Vietnamese), vanilla sugar (sugar, vanilla bean), mace, ginger, nutmeg, anise seed and clove, to be exact. I also added an extra bit of mace, because I just love the stuff. You can really use whatever mix of spices you like, though. Put them into a bowl along with both flours, soda, powder, and salt.

    Give that a good whisk to get rid of any lumps and get everything evenly distributed.

    Now, when you go back to your zucchini mixture, it’s going to look like a swampy mess, but don’t panic. The zucchini just needed to give off some water. 

    Give it a quick stir and then add the dry ingredients. See, everything is fine. 

    Add the oats. I like to use a combination of old fashioned and quick oats, but if you only have one or the other, it will be just fine either way.

    Stir them in. This is going to be unlike a typical cookie dough. It will be more like a thick cake batter in its consistency.

    Add the chocolate chips. I have a couple opinions when it comes to chocolate chips. Firstly, as long as they’re good quality (I like Ghirardelli, but Guittard is also a good brand.) you can never have too many of them. And secondly, in baked goods, a combination of types of chocolate (milk, semisweet, dark, etc.) is always better than using just one. I used milk, dark, semisweet, and mini semisweet. Use whatever combination you like.

    And, one last stir. I like to just use a silicone spatula for this one, and just sort of fold everything together. 

    Scoop the dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. I would definitely use parchment for these cookies, because they tend to be a bit sticky. My scoop is about 1 ½ Tablespoons, which I think is the perfect size for these cookies.

    Into a 350° oven for 14-15 minutes. When they’re done, they’ll be dry on top and just starting to brown around the edges. And look how lovely they are with their bits of green and loads of chocolate chips.

    Allow them to cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

    Here’s a look at that wonderful cakey texture I told you about. They’re soft, chewy, and simply fabulous. I have a feeling even picky eaters will love these. Hubby (who is probably the pickiest eater I know) said they are the best cookies he's ever tasted. 

    Are you sad to see summer coming to an end, or just glad to finally get a break from the heat?

     

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