Friday, December 18, 2015

Mint-Chip Chocolate Soft Pretzels!

Unbelievable, but in a week (Lord willing!)  our family will be sitting around the Christmas tree in our pajamas, surrounded by our traditional happy mess of wrapping paper, ribbon and plates of cinnamon rolls! From all reports, the weather sounds as though it will be mild, so the grandkids will probably be outside on the driveway enjoying the new scooters that Pop-pop and Ninny (Dave and I) got them -Shhh!!! Don't tell them!!  With the passing of my step-mom in February, this will mark the first Christmas that no "Greats" will be with us  - Dave and I are "the old folks!" How things change, yet they remain the same! 

This holiday marks a day when the world changed, yet everything appeared to stay the same. A baby was born who was destined to transform not only people's hearts, but all of human history. But....Who knew? Amidst the hubbub of the noisy Bethlehem census, one could barely hear the cries of a newborn babe. Few probably noted the coming and going of shepherds and wealthy men to the obscure stable where this child lay. Even when the quiet of the night silenced the din of crowded Bethlehem , how many lifted their weary heads and saw the brilliant star in the sky? They were tired; they were hard-pressed; they just sought rest.......and peace...... Who knew? 

My prayer is that the rest and peace that was given to all mankind on that holy night of Jesus' birth might be real in your hearts this Christmas season and throughout the coming year. Who knew? I pray that YOU know! Merry, merry Christmas to you and yours! 

Enjoy this festive recipe as a treat sometime during this holiday season. Not too sweet, but delightfully soft and yummy, it's sure to become a favorite! 

Mint-Chip Chocolate Soft Pretzels!

1 ½ Cup warm water
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
3 ½ Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
¼ Cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tsp. instant coffee
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ Cups mini mint chocolate chips, divided ( ½ and ¼ )
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water and ½ tsp. kosher salt (for egg wash)

Place water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket. Stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest for one minute. Add 1 cup of flour then remaining ingredients (plus the 1/2 Cup of the mint chips) , except for the beaten egg. EZ DOH-it until the dough is smooth and all ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated, about 2-3 minutes. You may add additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Remove dough from bucket and “smooth” the dough. Spray the bucket lightly with cooking spray and replace dough in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Remove dough from bucket and divide into 12-16 equal pieces (I made 16). Roll each piece of dough into a rope measuring 20 + inches. Pretzel formation: Lay the rope horizontally and pick up the ends to meet; About 2” from the each of the ends, twist the dough then bring down to the base and press lightly into the dough. Stretch into pretzel shape. Repeat with all dough. Dip both sides of each pretzel into the egg wash and place the pretzel on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them rest for 15 minutes. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes. Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack. Press the remaining mint chips onto the pretzels while the pretzels are still warm. 


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