Showing posts with label pretzels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pretzels. Show all posts

Saturday, October 29, 2016

#Halloween Decorated Pretzel Rods #Recipe @PegCochran

There isn't exactly a recipe for this--it's more of a craft than cooking, but it's lots of fun and kids can easily participate.  And while I used Halloween themed sprinkles, you can vary them according to the holiday--red and green for Christmas, red, white and blue for Fourth of July, green for St. Patrick's day.  You're limited by only your imagination!

Gather your supplies.  I used:

chocolate candy melts
white chocolate candy melts
pretzel rods

Melt chocolate according to directions.  I used a microwave safe mug so the chocolate would be "deep" enough.

Once melted, dip your pretzel rods in the chocolate and then press into the sprinkles coating all sides.

I found some cool sprinkles that included tiny pumpkins.

Place pretzel rods on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.

Drizzle with white chocolate.  I found this cool spoon made just for drizzling although it wasn't really necessary.  I found the white chocolate candy melts to be rather thick--next time I might try a white chocolate candy bar.

Gather the finished pretzels into a pretty glass and you have an instant centerpiece for your Halloween table!

Aren't they fun?  My grocery store even sells bags specifically for these so you can package each of them separately.  Great teacher gift at Christmas, don't you think?

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On her blog, The Farmer’s Daughter, Shelby McDonald is growing her audience as she posts recipes, gardening tips, and her experiences raising two kids and running Love Blossom Farm in the small western Michigan town of Lovett.

Working the farm is demanding but peaceful—until that peace is shattered when the minister’s wife is murdered on Shelby’s property during a fund-raiser for a local church. But the manure really hits the fan when Shelby’s good friend veterinarian Kelly Thacker emerges as the prime suspect. Shelby decides to dig in and find the murderer by herself. As more suspects crop up, she’ll have to move fast—before someone else buys the farm. . . .

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

* * * * * * 

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!

* * * * * * * * * * *

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!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pretzel Rolls

Lie about it. That's the best advice I can give you. This has to be the fastest, easiest yeast bread one can make, or very close to it. I recommend tossing a towel over your shoulder, brushing a bit of flour on your cheek, perhaps even dabbing at your forehead with a washcloth. Take deep breaths that lead to long sighs, put your feet up, and pretend to be exhausted.

I don't know about you, but I'm seeing pretzel rolls everywhere. They're on billboards and TV, and I've even heard people talking about how they have to try them. So please don't let on that they're super easy to make or we'll all be hounded to bake them all the time.

Oktoberfest is upon us, so it seemed a great time to try out pretzel rolls. Why is it so easy? No rising! No kidding! I made the dough in my handy dandy KitchenAid mixer. Minutes later it was going into the oven. Unbelievable.

I based this recipe on a pretzel recipe I found on-line. I couldn't believe that the dough didn't have to rise, but a brief discussion with my German mother led to the inevitable -- we had to try it. She thought it might be authentic because German breads and pretzels don't rise as much as they do in America. I tweaked it a just bit, though, to suit our tastes.

Pretzel Rolls

1/3 cup warm water
1 package rapid rise dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 1/2 cups flour

8 - 10 tablespoons baking soda
8 - 10 cups water

Kosher salt

Install the dough hook on your mixer. Pour 1/3 cup warm water into the bowl of your mixer. Sprinkle with entire package of yeast.

Stir lightly with a fork. Wait about 10 minutes for it to dissolve.

Add 1 1/3 cups warm water, salt, and sugar and mix. Add the flour about a cup at a time, mixing after each addition. When the dough clings to the dough hook and the walls of the bowl are relatively clean, remove the dough.

Place the baking soda into the 8-10 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place it near the pot.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. Shape the dough into a log (sprinkle with a little flour if necessary to handle) and slice it into 8 equal pieces.

On each piece, take a cut side,

spread it a bit

and turn it inside out, bringing all the edges to the bottom.


Pinch them together. That's the bottom of the roll.

This is the top.

Using a pierced or slotted spoon, slide 2 or 3 of the rolls into the simmering water. Don't overcrowd them. After 30-40 seconds, flip them.

 After 30-40 seconds, remove from the water and place on the parchment paper. Cut an X on the top of each roll and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Repeat with remaining rolls.

Bake at 400 for 20-22 minutes. The rolls should be brown on the outside and baked through.

These are best the day they are baked. If you need to store them, do not refrigerate or place in an airtight container. Store at room temperature.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Are there dishes you know you will never make? Cakes that seem too complicated? Pastries that are a lot of work? I seriously doubt that I will ever make puff pastry. I love all the things I can do with it, but making the pastry sounds like such a big, big deal. Sometimes, though, things change and you take on a challenge.

I never thought I would bake pretzels. Yummy, warm pretzels. Soft on the inside with that lovely golden brown exterior crusted with salt. It's Oktoberfest again and if there's one thing Germans love with their beer -- it's those big pretzels.

And while I'm on the subject of Germans, I'll take this opportunity to announce that I am writing a second mystery series in addition to the Domestic Diva Mysteries. This one takes place in a fictional resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where Holly Miller's German grandmother runs an inn. Naturally, there will be recipes and these pretzels are just the sort of thing that will be served at Barktoberfest.

That's right, Barktoberfest! Dogs and cats will play important roles in this series. Especially a little Jack Russell terrier named Trixie who has a nose for trouble.

The series doesn't have an official name yet. That will be decided in the next few months. Look for the first book in the fall or winter of 2013.

So back to the pretzels -- turns out they're not so difficult to make after all. I found a website called Heritage Recipes and their recipe sounded about right to me. It turned out great. Honestly, the only hard part is five minutes of kneading. I decided that would be good upper body exercise and went for it. I'm sure my arms look much more toned today.

I was skeptical about boiling the raw dough. Eeek! Turns out that's a snap. After the first one, I was like a pro, whipping pretzels in and out of the simmering water. Nothing to be afraid of there! Have a clock in front of you that marks seconds as they tick by. Don't bother with a timer -- it takes longer than 10 seconds to set them. Just eyeball it. This part sounds like a big chore, but it goes really fast and isn't hard at all.

I used my KitchenAid mixer to get this recipe started, but it can (and most certainly was) made entirely by hand. Note that I used a wide, shallow pan, about 3-4 inches deep for the boiling portion. A very deep pot might make it more difficult to extract the pretzels. The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour. I used bread flour and they turned out great. Mine baked in 12 minutes, so watch the baking time carefully.

There's more good news. The recipe says they can be frozen and reheated at 400 for 10 minutes. I popped a frozen one in the toaster and it came out great. A little bit crunchier on the outside maybe, but overall it was delish.

Authentic Soft German Pretzels
(from Heritage Recipes)
makes 12 pretzels

  • clock with second hand
  • baking sheet
  • stainless steel or enamel shallow pan that can hold 6 - 8 cups (do not use aluminum pan)
  • two large bowls
  • clean kitchen towel

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil + extra
1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons baking soda
6 cups water

coarse salt like Kosher or coarse sea salt

In a deep bowl (or mixing bowl) dissolve the yeast in the water.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, and sugar. Beat well for about 3 minutes until it becomes a smooth batter.

Gradually add the remaining flour and beat until it shapes into a dough.

Dust some flour on a board and knead the dough for five minutes, adding a dusting of flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

after kneading
Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in it and turn a couple of times to coat the dough.


Drape the kitchen towel over the bowl and place in a warm spot to rise until double -- about 1 hour.


after rising

Grease a baking sheet well. Pour some salt into a teeny bowl so you can easily sprinkle it with your fingers.

Punch down the dough and divide into 12 relatively equal pieces.

12 pieces
Roll each piece into a small ball and then, rolling between your palms, shape it into a fat little sausage.

Using your hands, roll it back and forth on a board until it's a long rope. It doesn't have to be perfect. Shape it into an upside down U.

Cross the ends near the bottom.

Lift the top and fold it over so that it touches the very ends.

Pinch ends to top lightly to secure the ends to the pretzel.

Place on the greased baking sheet. Cover with the towel and let rise about half an hour. They should look puffy.

after rising
Preheat oven to 425.

Pour six cups water and 6 tablespoons baking soda into the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.


Using a slotted spatula or slotted spoon,


slide each pretzel into the water -- one at a time -- for 10 seconds.

they float!
Flip, and simmer for another 10 seconds. Remove from water, drain for a second, and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat for each pretzel.

they will look wrinkled

Bake 12 to 15 minutes. They should be golden brown.

Serve warm with butter or mustard. (Beer and sausages not required, but very tasty!) If not eating that day, freeze in a zip top bag and reheat at 400 for about 10 minutes to serve.