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    Entries in happy birthday! (7)

    Thursday
    Feb012018

    7 For 7!!

    Authors Kitchen is 7 years old today! To celebrate, I decided to choose the seven recipes I go back to most. Sounds like an easy enough task, right? Turns out it’s anything but! There are so many recipes that I’ve posted over the years that I continue to refer to time and time again. I did my best to whittle it down to just the very best, though. Here they are: 

    Toffee Popcorn

    This is the probably the recipe I have made more of than anything else. It is also the one people rave about and beg for. This year I made countless batches and gave it as gifts for the holidays. It is fantastic for that!

     

    Braised Pork and Creamy Polenta

    This is my go to dish when I’m shooting to impress guests. It’s a super easy, long cooking meal, and yet it’s incredibly delicious! As a bonus, you can almost guarantee it’s something they haven’t had before.

     

    Chocolate Fudge Oatmeal Cake

    When I want a fabulous, rich, chocolate cake, this is what I make. I have yet to find a chocolate cake, including at my favorite bakeries, that is even in the same realm as this cake. Its simplicity belies its amazing, rich chocolate flavor and perfect crumb and texture, all topped off with a fudgy frosting that is to die for!

     

    Lasagna Rolls

    I’m not sure what it is about making individual rolls of lasagna rather than just laying it out flat in a pan, but it completely changes it… for the better! It’s less sloppy and holds together so much better. It definitely takes a bit more time, but it’s totally worth it. This is another great dish to make if you’re having company. I mean, who doesn’t love lasagna?

     

    Dinner Rolls

    It sounds like such a boring and basic thing, but the truth is, there’s not much better than really good, homemade rolls. They can even make a regular ol’ sandwich amazing! If you’ve never made them, definitely give them a try. In fact, give them several tries. Bread is one of those things that you just get better and better at with practice. At this point, I know exactly what the dough should feel like for perfect rolls.

     

    Zucchini Bread with a Twist

    This is one of those recipes that just sort of came together by accident. I love zucchini bread, but I wanted something different. Well, this time, I hit a homerun! Everyone who tastes this recipe is stunned by how good it is. Somehow, the tang of the lime glaze and cranberries, along with the sweetness of the white chocolate and the crunchy nuttiness of the pecans, come together to form an incredible whirlwind for your taste buds.

     

    Sloppy Joses

    These aren’t your run of the mill sloppy joes. Salsa gives them a wonderful Mexican flare! I would gladly eat these any night of the week, and often do.

    Because I had such a hard time narrowing it down to just 7, here are a few of the runners up.

     

    Basic Buttercream

     

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

     

    Broccoli Soup

     

    Cinnamon Pecans

     

    Cinnamon Roll Cookies

    What are your favorite go to recipes you find yourself going back to over and over again?

     

    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? 

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