I know, it's been forever. It's a good thing my livelihood doesn't depend on writing new posts and updating my blog. There hasn't been tons going on in the kitchen because there's been a lot of this going on....
I really hate packing. This hasn't been the everyday run-of-the-mill packing either, this time around it's involved selling furniture, booking storage and donating as much as possible--all still part of the "simplify" new years resolution. And oh yeah, I gave notice last month and bought a one way ticket to Italy.
At the end of July, I'm heading to NY for a week and then it's off to Italy to study some Italian language and history and get a refresher on Renaissance art history. The former Liberal Arts major in me sings "hallelujah." I'm signed up for a couple of months of intensive total immersion Italian lessons but the biggest plan is to not have any plans--you know, just live a little dolce vita for a bit. Tranquilo.
I bought a one-way ticket but I know I have to come back. The biggest deterrent to this whole adventure was not the part where I quit a stable job that paid the mortgage, but rather thinking about leaving this one....
Finding an acceptable option for Brooklyn was really tough. Really, really ridiculously tough. I considered taking her because even with a full ticket, it was cheaper than boarding but smush face dogs aren't very welcome by the airlines. I talked to quite a few people and long term boarding facilities before finally deciding on an option. I knew I'd stay home before I'd let her be kenneled for long periods of time each day so it had to be an in-home option with someone who
likes loves dogs, has great references, and very importantly, someone who would definitely give me my dog back when I came back. You'd think that would be a given but I swear I talked to a woman who was a self-declared "BT Addict" and got the sense I'd never see Brooklyn again if I went with her. Just like everything else in the planning of this trip, it all eventually worked out. I do feel so guilty though and already miss this peanut if that's possible.
So between finding boarding and scheduling everything from movers to cleaners and running a bazillion and one errands, cooking has gone by the wayside. That is of course except when I come across an abundance of ingredients that I feel guilty about throwing out...like a half-full 25lb bag of flour. Yikes.
Luckily, pretzels are one of the easiest doughs to make and when covered with cinnamon sugar are seriously one of the best things ever. This is the same recipe I posted last year for the pretzel dogs(the same recipe that everyone's posted really). Pretzel dough is just that flexible.
Rolling this dough into balls makes some pretty awesome pretzel rolls as well.
Cinnamon Soft Pretzels
1.5 c warm water (about 110-115ºF)
1 tbsp sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
4.5 c all-purpose flour
4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
12 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 stick of melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Canola oil for greasing bowl
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with hook attachment, combine the water, sugar and kosher salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
- Add flour and melted butter to the mixer bowl and mix on low until the ingredients are combined.
- Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 6-7 minutes. Remove and roll into ball.
- Grease bowl, add dough and turn, ensuring oil covers all surface of dough. Cover bowl with towel and let dough rise in bowl until double in size (about 1 hour depending upon temp)
- Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with vegetable oil.
- Fill large stockpot halfway with water and bring to a rolling boil. Add baking soda. The boiling baking soda water can make quite a mess--definitely stick with a big pot filled halfway full if you can.
- Preheat oven to 450 and line two sheet trays with parchment paper.
- Remove dough and place on work surface. Divide it into 12 equal pieces.
- Roll out each piece of dough into an 18- to 20-inch rope. Fold each rope in half, twisting the two pieces around one another and pressing the ends together. Twist the bottom end around the top, feeding it through the top hole and pressing to secure.
- Return the twists to the cookie sheet.
- One by one, carefully place each twist into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove each twist from the water using a large slotted spoon or spatula(s) and return it to the cookie sheet.
- Bake the twists until golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans (between racks and turning to rotate pans) halfway through, then remove the twists from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before topping.
- Mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.
- Melt butter and lightly brush the top of each pretzel.
- Hold over sugar bowl and liberally sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top of each pretzel. Serve warm.
For pretzel rolls, shape dough into balls and let rise for 30 minutes before adding to boiling baking soda water. Pretzel rolls will bake for 15-20 minutes depending upon size.