Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Salty and Sweet Breakfast Pretzels!

Another day, another pretzel! LOL! As those who faithfully read my blog know - I LOVE SOFT PRETZELS! My apologies to those who are not so enamored by these twisted, tasty marvels, but I just can't help myself!

Dave and I had been out and about on a busy Monday. By the end of the day, I could feel "it" coming on.....a little sore throat, a little stuffy nose, a little ache, a little pain. I knew I had a meeting early the next morning and that my friends were depending on seeing something tasty on the table that morning, but UGH.....I was uninspired. All I could think was "What's easy?" Pretzels sometimes aren't the easiest things to make because of the water bath process, but I knew I had a recipe that didn't require the bath and THAT was the ticket that night. I quickly mixed them up, shaped them while we watched TV then popped them in the frig for an overnight rise. The next morning, all I had to do was "brush and bake".......and then listen to the rave reviews at the meeting! I know you'll get rave reviews for serving these delicious treats!

Salty and Sweet Breakfast Pretzels

Yield: 12 pretzels
Dough Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
 4 cups all-purpose flour

For topping:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Pretzel (or coarse) salt
Cinnamon Sugar

Place yeast and warm water in the EZ DOH bucket. Stir to dissolve yeast, then let rest for 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then remaining dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it, or traditionally knead dough, until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 12 equally-sized balls. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each piece out to approximately a 16” rope, twist ends of the ropes and then attach the ends to the dough to form a pretzel shape. Place prepared pretzels on a large baking sheet that is covered with baking parchment (or spray your sheet with cooking spray). Cover and let rise until doubled. (I covered mine and let them rise in the frig overnight)

Whisk the egg with the water to create an egg wash. Brush the risen pretzels with the egg wash. Sprinkle with pretzel salt then sprinkle lightly with a cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. 


Friday, February 17, 2017

Apricot Orange Coffeecake - Kugelhopf!

Last weekend, we took an uncharacteristic trip to Florida! It was uncharacteristic because we are not "pick-up-and-go" type people. Dave and I are homebodies. We just love to be in our environment. However, we had promised ourselves to try and break that mold and travel a bit more. With  "snowbird" friends who had invited us down.... with the winter months quickly passing away.....and with low-priced airfares slowly beginning to climb, we decided to take the plunge and take the trip. And.....IT WAS AMAZING! After leaving snowy Ohio at 10:30, we arrived in sunny Florida two hours later and I don't think we stopped smiling the whole weekend! (It's surprising what a little sunshine can do for your disposition!) Now, I'm sure I would have been satisfied and content to be at home for the weekend as well, but getting out of routine is sometimes a very, very good thing! And spending time with good friends is also a very, very good thing!

Well, this recipe has the wonderful, citrus-y taste of Florida! The sunny flavors of oranges and apricots dominate this cake-like bread. And since we're still in the midst of winter here in Ohio, those bites can sure brighten our day! This will serve quite a few, so get some friends together and celebrate the things that make you smile! 

Apricot-Orange Coffeecake (Kugelhopf)!

¼ Cup warm water
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum yeast
½ Cup sugar
¾ Cup softened butter
4 eggs
¾ Cup milk, warmed
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cardamom
4 ¼ Cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 Cup chopped, dried apricots
½ Cup toasted sliced almonds

1 Cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

In the EZ DOH bucket, dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 tsp. sugar. Set aside. In another bowl, cream sugar and softened butter. Beat in eggs one by one. Add one cup of flour, then creamed ingredients and remaining ingredients. “EZ DOH-it” slowly, as this is a heavy batter-like dough, continuing until all ingredients are incorporated together well – the dough will be slightly batter-like and a little sticky.  Spray a bundt pan well with cooking spray. Spoon dough into the prepared pan. Cover and let rise until doubled (Dough should reach top of pan).

Preheat oven to 375. Bake coffeecake for 45-60 minutes or until done (mine was done at 45 minutes). Remove from oven. Invert pan onto wire rack to cook. Mix glaze ingredients together and drizzle over warm coffeecake. 

Adapted from Red Star Yeast website: Apricot Orange Kugelhopf 


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Amazing Garlic Naan!

Welcome to another edition of "Ginny's Terrifying Adventures in the Kitchen"! Last week it was aluminum-wrapped copy paper in the oven to make bread cones. This week it's flatbread being cooked directly on the flame of my gas stove. Oh my......! This is what I get when I "breeze" through recipes, looking at the pretty pictures and ignoring some of the more questionable instructions -haha! 

This was a totally last-minute creation. I had already decided that I was NOT going to make any bread for the big game - there was enough food coming and I had selected four simple things I was going to make. Well, you probably know how this get to working in the kitchen and things are going decide, "Hmmmm, I could also add -----; It's not that difficult!" Well, that was me on Sunday - Hmmmmm, wouldn't fresh hummus be tasty with these cut-up veggies? - so I made hummus. Hmmmmmm, wouldn't some fresh naan also be tasty with the hummus? - so I dug up the recipe for naan that I had wanted to try (but hadn't read thoroughly) and mixed up the dough. My comfort level dramatically changed when the dough had risen and I read the REST of the recipe.......WHAT!!!!! Place the dough directly on the flame!!!!! OKkkkkkkk........ so the adventure began! What started in great fear ended in great delight.....I LOVED the texture - my past experiments with naan had never yielded any close to a restaurant-quality product. And oh, the taste - the charred spots added that "just-like-at-the-restaurant" taste, along with all the garlic. Again, as I did last week, I advise great care as you proceed on this adventure. No doing two things at one time!! Do THIS! And then thoroughly enjoy it! 

Garlic Naan

1 Tbsp/Packet Red Star Platinum Yeast (you can use slightly less –  1 ½-2 tsp)
½ Cup warm water
1 Cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
¾ Cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1 ½ Tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ Cup milk, warmed
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. grated garlic (1 clove peeled garlic, using a fine grate microplane)

2 Tbsp. salted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
Fresh or dried cilantro, if desired

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Dough may be slightly sticky – you may add additional flour, but not so much to remove all stickiness – it should be somewhere in between sticky and smooth).  Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

For the topping melt the butter and stir in the minced garlic. Set aside.  Lightly oil a 10” or 12” cast iron skillet and heat on gas stove (There are oven instructions, but I don’t think it would be as effective and I haven’t tried it that way, so I’m not including them. ). Divide the dough into 4-5 pieces. On a floured surface, roll each piece into a 8-12” circle. Place one circle of dough onto the hot skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the top of the bread starts to show bubbles all over the surface. Using tongs, flip the naan and place it directly on the gas flame (on the stove grate) until the surface is slightly, delightfully charred (10-20 seconds). With the tongs, remove the naan, place it on the counter and repeat with all of the dough. Immediately brush the cooked naan with the garlic butter. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
 ENJOY while warm (though they’re good even when they’re cooled down!)

Recipe adapted from


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fill 'Er Up Bread Cones!

Last night I had the privilege of meeting with fellow Chamber of Commerce directors to select the honorees for the annual community awards. It is absolutely inspiring to read the award submissions for the different categories......Lifetime of Service; Businessperson of the Year; Young citizen of the Year; Educator of the Year; Community Service..... It's often surprising to discover who's been "off the radar", yet doing so much for our little city. I've been serving on the selection committee for several years and every year it is a breath of fresh air,  in the midst of all the "bad news", to hear the "good news" of GREAT people doing GREAT things! I can't wait until the banquet to see them rightly honored! 

It is tradition that our committee gathers for a meal as we discuss the selections. It's a wonderful time of laughter, discussion and gratitude. Our hostess, Deann, supplies the delicious soup and bbq ham and the rest of us kick in with drinks, dessert, salad, etc. Of course, I always bring the sandwich buns! This year, I decided to try to make the newly-popular "bread cones". They turned out spectacularly - beautiful and tasty - so this time in my blog, I'm not leaving a recipe......I'm just supplying a link. The instructions are detailed and the video is a HUGE help! HOWEVER, if you're going to try this with an EZ DOH, please read my recommendations below before making them: 

                 1. The dough is HEAVY - TAKE IT EASY when cranking the hook-avoid a breakage!!                        2. Add an additional 2-4 Tbsp. of water to the recipe
                 3. I made 10 cones rather than 8.....they were plenty big
                 4. Bake at 375 for a little longer
                 5. WATCH your oven as these bake. I'm sorry, but it still made me nervous to put paper in                        my oven, even though it was covered in aluminum. I was ready to make a quick grab if                        necessary, but it wasn't ! that you've read the MUST READS, you're ready for the link (if I haven't scared you off by now!) Thanks, Country Living Magazine for this interesting and beautiful recipe!



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