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    Entries in pretty (2)

    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?

     

    Wednesday
    Dec112013

    All Natural Purple Frosting

    Did you know you can buy purple sweet potatoes?  I didn’t.  I was actually looking for white ones, which my store didn’t have, but they did have purple ones.  Well, purple is my very favorite color, so I wasn’t about to pass up on those.  Not only did I make sweet potato crisp out of them for Thanksgiving, but the color was just too gorgeous not to use it for something else.  These are the sweet potatoes after being baked.  Seriously amazing, huh? 

    I did some reading and discovered that baking them in something like cupcakes changes the color to a greenish hue.  Some sort of chemical reaction with the baking soda or something, I assume.  Buttercream was the answer, then.  For frosting, I needed to make sure the sweet potato was nice and smooth.  I only needed a couple of tablespoons, though, and really didn’t want to dirty the food processor for that.  Since I don’t have a food mill or ricer, I decided to just press the baked sweet potato through a fine mesh strainer.  It worked beautifully. 

    I used my basic buttercream recipe.  Just add about 2 tablespoons of sweet potato before adding any cream, and adjust the consistency from there.  Who needs artificial colors when nature provides something so perfect already? 

    What is your favorite color?