Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nicole!

Recipe
Soft Pretzels

I've never met anyone who loves pretzels as much as dear Ms. Nicole, so I shouldn't have been surprised when she told me what she wanted for her birthday treat. Instead of making a batch of SuperPretzels (you know, those ones in the freezer section at the grocery store? They're not bad!), I did some digging and came up with this recipe from King Arthur Flour (really, between the tres leches cake and now these pretzels, I've put KAF on a pedestal so high they'll never be able to climb down). In a word, these pretzels are amazing, and I'm basically indebted forever to Nicole for prompting me to learn how to make them - I am not exaggerating a bit when I say they are one of the best things I've ever eaten.

I'm not particularly experienced in working with yeast breads, but this recipe is fairly simple and I got the hang of it after a couple batches - so don't be intimidated if you're not a regular bread baker. The recipe is a straightforward yeast bread that's rolled into long ropes, then shaped into pretzels. DR turned out to be quite skilled at this, so he rolled most of them for me - and look, he even made his name in pretzel dough! Let me tell you, sometimes it's nice to be with someone who gets pleasure out of simple things:

After they're shaped, the pretzels are dipped in a baking soda wash, which is what gives most soft pretzels their crispy exterior. After baking, this is where these pretzels stand out from any other: they're brushed with a generous amount of melted butter. Seriously. The King Arthur website describes these pretzels as ethereal, and I truly can't think of a better word for them than that. I sprinkled half of the pretzels with coarse sea salt, and half with cinnamon and sugar. Both were incredible. Other toppings would be great, too - garlic, sundried tomatoes, even a chocolate drizzle...I think I would make these every weekend if I thought it was a sane choice for my waistline.

Nicole is our middle preschool teacher at the center, and she's great. She's one of the most easygoing people I've ever met - an especially useful personality trait when you teach young children. She has a kind heart and a passion for helping even our toughest kids - I'm so glad she's on our team, and I'm also glad she asked me to make pretzels...but I've mentioned that already, haven't I?




9 comments:

Carrie said...

I literally said "oo!" out loud when I saw these things. The savory ones would make a fun accompaniment to chili or soup. I hope your skills are appreciated.

Nicol said...

These pretzels were so good I dreamt about them that night! LOL! The cinnamon ones would be so good as a side to the awesome pumpkin soup Liz made last week! You ROCK Liz!

Elisabeth said...

Carrie, they definitely are appreciated. My staff is the best!

Nicol, as always, thanks! I think we need to save up some flex points and come up with a reason to have these little guys at work again soon!

jennifer said...

My boys would LOVE these pretzels, which are high on my list of things to do with them during their next release day from school.

Thanks!

Elisabeth said...

Jennifer, I think they'd be a REALLY fun project to do with kids. I'd love to hear how it goes!

Anonymous said...

You're right - SuperPretzels ar ethe best - a childhood favorite. These look amazing and would be a great fall snakc with some cider!

Elisabeth said...

Anna, I wish you would have been able to try these...they definitely leave SuperPretzels in the dust! I'll have to make them again soon.

Kim said...

I made these this weekend and they were delicious! I highly recommend them. Next time I will make a double batch.

Elisabeth said...

Yay - Kim left a comment! I'm glad you liked these...double batches are a dangerous thing to have around though, unless you have somewhere to bring them. :)