Sourdough Soft Pretzels

image

It’s pretzel time again! Oh yes. This time though, I used my fabulous sourdough starter. I am finding a ton of uses for this starter and I absolutely love it. Sourdough bread, pizza crust, pretzels, I feel like the possibilities are practically endless.

I had a friend come over this morning who had never made pretzels. (Gasp, I know!) Anyways, we made pretzels, had some tea, and basically had a grand old time. It was so fun, and we both got some pretzels out of the deal!

I feel like sourdough anything is just a win in life. It makes things better, soft pretzels included. Whatever you do, don’t forget the last step of brushing some melted butter on your pretzels. It really takes them to the next level.
image

Ingredients

Yield: 12 pretzels

¾ c. lukewarm water
1 c. unfed sourdough starter
3 c. flour
¼ c. dry milk powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
1½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast
Kosher salt, to finish
1 tbsp. melted butter, to finish

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the water, sourdough starter, flour, milk powder, sugar, butter, salt and yeast until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead until smooth and slightly tacky, about 5 minutes.

If dough is too dry, knead in a teaspoon or so of water. If extremely sticky, knead in an extra tablespoon of flour. Shape the dough into a ball, and place into a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes. The dough will not rise a lot, but it will rise a little.

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large pot, boil 10 cups of water with 1/3 of a cup of baking soda. Prepare an egg wash of one egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon of water.

After dough has risen, turn out onto a flat surface, and cut into twelve pieces. Roll out into a long rope, about 12 inches. Form into a U-shape, then cross the ends down and around each other  into a pretzel shape. Boil in baking soda solution for 30-40 seconds.

Place boiled pretzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle kosher salt on pretzels. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pretzels are golden brown.

Once pretzels have been taken out of oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with more salt if desired. Serve warm.

 

Gingerbread Scones with Maple Glaze

image

Hello all of you lovelies! It’s been a while. I think I forgot to tell you all why. I’m substitute teaching! This is incredibly exciting for me, because in the last two years of me finishing my Education degree, it was a bit of a rough time. So hard for me, that I actually took two years off after I graduated. It was a hard decision, but it was definitely for the best, and finally, two years later, I was ready to get back into the classroom.

Life has been a bit crazy since I started substituting, because I am now on-call 5 days of the week, and still have my restaurant job 5 different days. I still try to keep up and bake something at least every week, but it has been a bit trickier to make sure I stay updated with all of you beautiful people.

For example, last week, I made sourdough soft pretzels. Oh yeah. But Stephanie, where is the post on those? You ask. Well… they were good. Like REALLY good. Like I made them, asked Paul not to eat all of them, went out for dinner with a friend, and came home to three pretzels left, which were reduced to zero by the next morning. Yeah. That good.

So, either way, sourdough soft pretzels will be coming on Thursday or Friday (because both Paul and I want more!), but I woke up this morning and wanted something comforting and warm and loaded with carbs. Scones seemed like the perfect way to go, and boy was I right.

I like scones, but don’t make them often. I don’t know why. Either way, these scones are really good, and even better with a glaze. I found the original scone recipe here, and just made a simple icing sugar glaze with maple syrup, icing sugar, and milk.
image

I have big plans for the next month and a bit… muffins, scones, cakes, eggnog… The Christmas countdown is on, and that means I bake more.

Go make these scones! They are very easy, and are made with most pantry staples. (Yes, I consider molasses a pantry staple because sometimes, you just need molasses. In gingerbread… and Gingerbread Scones!)

Ingredients

Yield: 8 scones

2 c. flour
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. cold butter, cut into cubes
1/3 c. molasses
¼ c. milk
1 egg, separated
sugar, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until evenly incorporated together. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the molasses, milk, and egg yolk until smooth. Add to dry ingredients, tossing with a fork until combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, kneading until a cohesive dough is formed.

Form dough with hands into a circle about 8 inches wide. Cut into 8 wedges, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Scones should be about 1 inch apart.

Whisk the egg white until frothy, then brush over tops of scones. Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top, and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.

If desired, you can top your scones with a sprinkle of icing sugar, or a simple maple glaze. For the glaze, in a liquid measuring cup combine 1 tbsp. maple syrup and 1 tsp. milk. Add 1-2 cups of icing sugar, a half cup at a time, until glaze is thick and smooth, not too runny. Drizzle or pour glaze over scones and let set. Enjoy!

Earl Grey Tea Cake

image

Well friends, Paul and I just got back from a week away. We spent a week in a little provincial stay-cation, just going up to Calgary and Edmonton, doing some shopping, visiting some friends, the whole shebang. It was great. No work, no worries. However, I was just itching to do some baking.

On our way back from Edmonton, we stopped in Calgary for a night at Paul’s brother’s house. Riley and Serena (his wife) are wonderful, and Serena shares my love of baking, desserts, and tea. We were chatting about how much we love tea and baking, are realized that we have never baked anything together!
image

We decided to immediately rectify the situation, and bake something. To make everything better, we made a tea dessert. Serena, fabulous as she is, is a great lover of Earl Grey. What better to make than Earl Grey Tea Cake! I got the original recipe here, and we made a few changes to it.

Firstly, in order to make the Earl Grey flavour stronger, we steeped the tea in the milk for probably about half an hour. The flavour was nice and potent. We also used 2 extra tea bags, and cut them open and put the tea in the cake batter. Serena made the genius decision to add extra vanilla to give the cake a London Fog vibe (which it had, and was amazing, but I’m still calling it an Earl Grey cake). Finally, I made a simple glaze and drizzled it over the cake. For the glaze, I did put some measurements, but I really just guessed and threw together a few ingredients here and there. It was fantastic. The Earl Grey flavour was just right, not overpowering, and it was a light and fluffy cake.

This cake was awesome because it was super easy to make. It has an extremely easy, basic and short ingredient list, and it mixes up in no time. Perfect for a quick cake craving, or when unexpected company shows up!
image

Serena was extremely happy with the end result, and I think she was even more excited about the prospect of baking together than actually having cake (Although both Serena and Riley were ecstatic about cake as well… Riley had 2 pieces while I was there!). Either way, it was a great vacation, and it was even better to be able to bake a cake with family and spend time together. Tea lovers, cake lovers, and family lovers, this cake is for all of you!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 10-inch bundt cake

For the cake:

½ c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
4 Earl Grey tea bags

For the glaze:

1 c. icing sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1-1½ tsp. milk

Put the milk in a microwave safe measuring cup, and microwave until hot. Place 2 tea bags in the milk and let steep 20-30 minutes. Prepare the bundt pan by buttering and flouring the pan (or just use my trusty Miracle Cake Release… a 1:1:1 ratio of vegetable shortening, flour, and canola oil).

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time and the vanilla and mix well. Cut open the other two packages of Earl Grey tea and add them in to the butter mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Add in a third of the dry mix to the butter mixture, and mix well. Add in half of the milk, and combine. Add in a second third of the flour mixture, then the rest of the milk, and finish with the flour mixture, combining well after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in thickest part of the cake comes out clean.

Transfer cake in pan to a cooling rack, and let cool for 10 minutes in pan, then invert and let cool while you make the glaze.

In a small bowl, whisk the icing sugar with the vanilla and the milk. If glaze is too runny, add a bit more icing sugar. If it is too thick, add a bit more milk. Glaze should be thicker, and run slowly off the whisk. Transfer the cake to a serving platter and drizzle glaze over cake while still slightly warm. Slice and serve.