Thursday, February 5, 2009

You asked for it! Soft Pretzels!

Prep time, 1 hour, 40 minutes
Bake time, 10 minutes
Ready in 2 hours

3 to 3 1/2 c all purpose or unbleached flour, divided (can use 1/2 and 1/2 with whole wheat flour as well)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 (1/4 oz) dry active yeast
1 c water
1 tbsp shortening
6 c water
1/4 c baking soda
pretzel salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 c flour, sugar, salt and yeast; blending well. Heat 1 cup water and shortening in a small sauce pan to 100-110*f. Add water mixture to flour mixture. With an electric mixer, blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Stir, by hand, and additional 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups of flour, or until dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in 1/2-3/4 cup flour on a floured surface, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Spray 2 cookie sheets with non stick spray. Punch down dough. Divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 16 inch rope. Form into pretzel shape (if ends won't stick to the middle of the knot, use a drop or 2 of water to bind). Place on greased cookie sheets. Cover and let rise again for 15-20 minutes.

Adjust baking rack to top position and heat to 375* (non stick and dark sheets)/ 400* (light/glass sheets). Combine 6 cups of water and baking soda in a shallow sided sauce pan. Bring to a gentle boil. Slowly drop pretzels into water, one at a time, cooking 15 seconds on each side. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with desired topping.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Best served warm.

Makes fabulous 12 pretzels!
This recipe was on the side of a flour bag. (not my photo)

SUPER AWESOME Oven Fried Chicken

I LOVE this oven fried chicken. It's a hit every time I make it. I always make at least double what I think everyone will eat- apparently, their stomachs enlarge at the very smell! It's also very good the next day, cut up and placed on a salad as well.
1 to 1.5 lbs chicken
1 c cracker crumbs & rice chex crumbs, mixed (bread crumbs are ok too)
1 c flour
1 egg
1/2 c half & half or milk
1/4 c finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp Crazy Jane's seasoning salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350* for dark, non-stick pans and 375* for light or glass. Grease a cookie sheet.
Clean chicken.
Place flour on a small plate.
In small bowl, beat egg and half & half.
In a separate bowl, mix all spices, Parmesan cheese and crumb mixture.
Dredge chicken in flour, followed by half & half mixture, then crumb mix. Place on Greased cookie sheet. Continue until all pieces are covered. Drizzle melted butter evenly over all pieces. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until no longer pink. (I used 1 lb of chicken tenders, baking at 350* for 30 minutes)
(not my photo)