Tag Archives: flour

Bottom of the Pit

Salted Rosemary Pretzel Buns

Pretzel Buns

I’m really hoping that with this last round of snow Mother Nature is finally done with winter – I’m ready for cherry blossoms, green grass, and spring vegetables!  We had a brief glimpse of spring over the weekend, to include the sighting of a few tulips, but now the world is again covered in a white blanket.  The only positive about winter continuing is that it gives me a little more time to plot out my spring recipes, to include the conquering of a few more new-to-me vegetables.  Today’s post however is not a veggie post – it’s a post about a delicious treat that is best enjoyed while walking down the city street (or at a ball stadium).   Pretzels might not the THE street food that everyone thinks of, but when I saw the challenge on /52weeksofcooking my mind went to pretzels.  Maybe because they are one of the few vegetarian items readily available from conventional street vendors, as I was trying to avoid caving in to the temptation of recreating something from a more modern food truck.

Bottom of the Pit

Serves: Yields 6 Buns


  • 2 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 cup HOT water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary


  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the middle and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil and water and slowly pour in to the well. Quickly mix all the ingredients and then kneed for 5-7 minutes on a flat surface.
  3. Lightly oil the large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, rolling the dough around to cover in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a dry/warm location for an hour, or until dough has double.
  4. Combine the baking soda and hot water in a shallow bowl or saute pan.
  5. Divide the dough in to 6 balls. Remove the balls out at time, keeping the others covered in the bowl. Roll the dough out to form a snake like shape, then twist and form a bun.
  6. Dunk in to the water/baking powder mix then place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and repeat for remaining dough. Top with the fresh rosemary and kosher salt.
  7. Place pretzels in oven and heat to 415. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

I can easily say the hardest part of this recipe was figuring out the right way to form them.  Since that didn’t really work for me I decided to twist them in to a bun shape – which turned out fantastic.  The quick baking soda bath gave them their distinct outer shell while the bun insured the inside was soft and moist!   Now it’s back to doing an anti-snow day since rumor has it more is coming on Tuesday…

Chasing Relentlessly

Sourdough Bread


I missed Random Recipes last month thanks to a total spaz on my part so I made sure to get to work on my recipe this month as soon as I got back.  This month the theme is “bread” and as I only have one bread book I knew that was the one I was working with.  As for the recipe it was randomly selected my a friend who was coming for dinner, who requested sourdough.  Once I was narrowed down to the sourdough section I had my hubby pick the page number which led me to the basic Sourdough Bread.   This is a bread I have made many (MANY!) times because it is simply amazing.  I’ve had my sourdough starter going for a few months now so every loaf is getting better and better.    Gunther, as my sourdough is loving called, might not be the fanciest starter on the block but he’s the first I’ve had survive past the few month so he’s a winner in my book.   One day I might attempt to make a loaf fully by hand but until then I’m a HUGE fan of my bread machine and use it at least once a week.

Chasing Relentlessly


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup starter
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast


  1. Place all ingredients in bread machine per instructions, for mine it's dry first then wet with yeast in a special compartment.
  2. This makes a medium sized loaf (1 1/2 lbs) and for best results use the timer, adding at least 3 hours.
  3. Once finished allow to set for 20 minutes before cutting in order to prevent the bread from collapsing. Enjoy!!

This bread can easily be enhanced by adding various herbs and spices to the dry ingredients – my favorite is 1 tbsp of dry oregano but a combination of thyme, rosemary, and basil also gives amazing results.  As for serving the bread I’ve used it for everything, it makes an outstanding sandwich bread and if it lasts long enough it also makes a delicious french toast.  For more bread recipes be sure to check out Belleau Kitchen and the rest of May’s Random Recipe entries.

Here to Make

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie

I’ve been trying to be good, honestly I have, however the theme this week for /52weeks is guilty pleasures – which just screams for being bad.  I debated between the large range of foods I’m suppose to be avoiding right now: espresso brownies, 5 cheese manicotti, double fudge cupcakes, donuts, essentially the shopping list of every kid.  In the end I did decide to go with something sweet, but not as decadent as the Molten Lava cake that was the first runner-up.   I also decided to make my own caramel sauce in order to take things to the next level.  I had seen the caramel in slow-cooker recipe on Pinterest for months now, but had a feeling it was going to be more of a Pinfail so had blown it off.  Yesterday however I decided to finally give it a try, figuring that if it failed I had plenty of time to buy some caramel.  Success!  Total and complete success!  In order to avoid the rust rings a few people seemed to encounter I poured the sweetened condensed milk into an empty jam jar with a very secure lid.  Just popped that in the slow cooker with enough water to cover and let it go for 8hrs on low.  Once I let the caramel cool it was time to get to work on the cookie dough!

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Serves: makes 6 dozen cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup caramel


  1. Mix together the flour and baking soda in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time, continue to mix well and add the vanilla and salt. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix well.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Preheat oven to 375
  5. Use parchment paper to roll out the caramel in to multiple long snake like shapes. Cut into 72 pieces, each smaller than a pencil eraser. Form the cookies into 2 inch round balls, then push the caramel in to the center, then cover with dough.
  6. Bake for 11 minutes. Enjoy!


If the caramel starts to melt from handling place in the freezer for 2 minutes, then re-roll.


I have a feel this caramel sauce would also go great with a dark chocolate cookie or turned in to a variation of a toffee cookie.  I’m going to have to forget how easy it was to make the caramel, otherwise it will become a regular occurrence which is just not a healthy thing.  These were a great treat at the end of my Downton Abbey viewing party – now just need dates for Season 4!

To Positive

Cinnamon Waffles with Cinnamon Vanilla Apples

Disclaimer: Nothing about this recipe is healthy, but sometimes indulgence is a good thing.  This week the challenge for /52weeks was an ingredient challenge featuring cinnamon.  I debated doing a savory dish for a while, such as a curry, but then decided I wanted to do more of a special breakfast recipe.  In the end it came down to a cinnamon sugar bread pudding or waffles, but that was before checking the bread supply.  However cinnamon waffles isn’t enough for a cinnamon challenge, so I decided to make up a some cinnamon vanilla apples to go on top.  After all, if I’m going to go down the unhealthy road I might as well go all the way.  The end result was a cinnamony treat perfect for a special brunch or making a breakfast special.

Cinnamon Waffles

Serves: makes 6 waffles


  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat waffle maker according to directions.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk then set aside.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients in to a large bowl and form a well in the middle. Slowly whisk in the wet ingredients in the fewest motions possible.
  4. Pour the mixture onto the center of the waffles maker and cook according to directions of machine. Serve topped with the apples and/or powdered sugar and/or maple syrup

Cinnamon Vanilla Apples


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large tart apple, quartered
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar


  1. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the apple and cook for 3 minutes before adding the vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar. Cook for an additional 10minutes. The "sauce" should be a very rich brown color when they are ready. Serve over top of waffles, ice cream, pancakes, or anything else that needs some extra sugar.

Sometimes it feels good to veer from the normal diet and indulge in something delicious and not so nutritious.  This certainly isn’t an every day breakfast but as a sweet treat, why not?!?

May the Force

Brown Butter (Star Wars) Pancakes


This week has been more than a little insane, but thankfully it’s all in the past and I can start to breathe a little bit easier.  With all of the insanity I haven’t spent nearly as much time in the kitchen as normal but luckily found some time over the weekend to work on my pancake technique.  I’ve never been a big breakfast person, something about eating soon after waking doesn’t sit right with my stomach.  However I am a huge fan of pancakes, and really REALLY want to break in some new toys.  Joe and I got a ton of Star Wars cooking supplies when we got married and while the cookie cutters have gotten multiple uses, the pancake molds had gone back to the cabinet after being washed.  I decided that the time had come for me to give them a whirl, and that such an occasion called for more than just my standard Joy of Cooking adapted pancake recipe.  So I went to the internet and started searching around for ideas.   In the end I decided to stick with my normal recipe with one twist: brown butter!

Brown Butter Pancake


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips (optional)
  • butter, oil, or spray for the griddle.


  1. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted allow to simmer for 5-7minutes, stirring frequently. Butter has finished when it is a rich peanut butter brown, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients, set aside
  3. In another bowl mix all remaining ingredients, including the brown butter. Quickly mix in the dry ingredients, mixing just until the large lumps are gone.
  4. Heat a large griddle over medium high heat, before adding the butter/oil/spray test to make sure the griddle is hot enough. When hot, water should bounce and splatter rather than sit and boil. Use a 1/4 cup to measure out the batter for the pancakes. Between batches make sure to add more grease to prevent burning. The pancakes are ready to be flipped once small bubbles appear and break. Serve warm!
  5. The chocolate chips can either be added to the pancakes while cooking, or directly to the batter.

I loved the nuttiness added by the brown butter, it gave them the right amount of something different without being too overpowering.    The chocolate chips were an indulgent treat and while I didn’t quite master the proper placement of chips to create eyes, they still tasted amazing which is all that really matters.