Showing posts with label beer cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beer cheese. Show all posts

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oktoberfest Soft Pretzels, Beer Cheese, and a fun Giveaway from Author Joyce Tremel!

Please join me in welcoming author Joyce Tremel. Joyce hails from "Someplace Special," as we say back in Pittsburgh, PA. Today she's sharing two wonderful Oktoberfest recipes along with news of her brand new cozy mystery series. She also has a fun comment-to-win giveaway. More on that below. For now...

Take it away, Joyce!

~ Cleo Coyle

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Author Joyce Tremel
Follow her on Twitter here.
Visit her on Facebook here.
I am so thrilled to be here! Thanks so much to Cleo for inviting me and giving me the first opportunity to let yinz guys (as we also say in Pittsburgh) read a little about my upcoming series.

My cozy series is called Brewing Trouble, and the first book, To Brew Or Not To Brew will be released from Berkley sometime in the fall of 2015. My main character, Maxine “Max” O’Hara is a brewmaster and in the process of opening a brew pub called the Allegheny Brew House in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. When she finds her assistant and chef dead in one of the beer tanks, Max is determined to find out who killed him. There are some quirky characters, like the woman who owns the bakery who’s a rabid Steelers fan, and a World War II vet who usually has something cranky to say (he’s my favorite). And of course, there’s Max’s love interest, a hunky ex-hockey player who becomes her new chef.

That’s enough about that. You’re here for the food, not my ramblings! Since Max learned how to brew beer in Germany, and it is Oktoberfest right now, I thought some homemade soft pretzels and beer cheese sounded good. I hope you agree!

The pretzels aren’t hard to make, but they do take some time. And they sure beat the ones in the freezer case at the grocery store!

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SOFT PRETZELS by Joyce Tremel


1 ½ cups warm water

1 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. salt

1 pkg. or 2 ¼ tsp. yeast

4 ½ cups flour

¼ cup canola oil or melted butter

Directions: Combine water, sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top. 

When it starts to foam, add the oil and flour. Mix well. If you have a mixer with a dough hook you can use that, or just do it the old fashioned way, like I did. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic—about 5 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl. 

Cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm place until it doubles in size. This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 450F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly oil the parchment paper.

Fill a large pot with 10 cups of water, add 2/3 cup baking soda, and bring to a boil. (Note: be sure to use a large enough pot. The bubbles from the baking soda water kind of make a mess. Fortunately it cleans up easily!) While waiting for the water to boil, divide the dough into eight pieces (this makes big pretzels, if you want smaller ones, feel free to break into more pieces). 

With your hands, roll each piece into a rope about 2 feet long. Hold the ends and make a U, then cross the ends over each other and twist to make the pretzel shape. 

When all your pretzels are formed, put each pretzel one by one into the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon or spatula and place on prepared baking sheet. 

Brush with a beaten egg, then sprinkle with pretzel salt (if desired). I left mine unsalted. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until they’re a nice, dark golden brown. 

by Joyce Tremel


12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar

1 ½ tbsp. cornstarch

1 bottle of beer (12 oz.)—I suggest using a dark lager or a brown ale.

5 oz evaporated milk

1 tbsp Dijon or brown mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Frank’s Red Hot-hot sauce (Really. Is there any other kind?)

Salt to taste.

Directions: Toss the shredded cheddar with the corn starch and set aside. Whisk together beer, half & half, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in a saucepan. Heat until steaming, whisking frequently so it doesn’t scorch. Add cheese, stir until melted and bubbly. Add hot sauce and season with salt. Serve warm.

(Note: When I make the beer cheese again, I’m going to reduce the amount of mustard. It kind of overwhelmed the flavor of the cheese. I also think I may use two cheeses—cheddar and swiss—the next time just to see how it tastes.)

Since Oktoberfest 2014 runs from September 20th to October 5th, I suggest serving the pretzels and beer cheese with your favorite Oktoberfest beer. 


Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. She lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband and a spoiled cat. Her debut mystery, To Brew Or Not To Brew will be released by Berkley Prime Crime in Fall 2015.

Visit Joyce on Facebook here.

Follow her on Twitter here.

Coming Fall 2015

To Brew Or Not To Brew

Someone doesn’t want the Allegheny Brew House to open, and Maxine “Max” O’Hara is determined to find out why.

With her brand-new brewmaster certification in hand, Max has been working twelve hour days getting the abandoned Steel City Brewery up to code, perfecting beer recipes, and learning the business. A lot of work, but she’s sure she made the right decision—until things start to go wrong. She’s not too worried until the minor annoyances get progressively worse. And when she finds the body of her assistant brewmaster and chef in one of the beer tanks, she knows that batch wasn’t brewed according to Reinheitsgebot.

Oktoberfest Giveaway!

Comment-to-Win These Fun Coasters

I don’t have books to give away yet, but I wanted to do something to thank everyone for stopping by today. So one lucky commenter will get this cute set of coasters from Crate and Barrel. 

Leave a comment on this blog 

by 12 Midnight Monday Night 12/29.

Winner will be announced here.
Good luck!