Saturday, August 24, 2013

Much frustration

   I have been having many many problems with my computer lately. I think it's time to take it to the doctor (eg, Staples). Poor sick computer.
   All has not been well here in Ellie's world. My uncle passed away suddenly last week; his funeral was a sad goodbye to someone who lived life to its fullest. And two days ago we learned that my husband's great-uncle passed away as well.
   On a lighter note, my husband, my sister, and my older children and I spent a ridiculous day doing the back-to-school shopping that needed to be done, as my older boy is heading into his Junior year, and my daughter is entering high school as a Freshman. There is no happier sight than a sixteen year old boy, a thirty-two year old woman, and a thirty-eight year old man racing shopping carts through TJ Maxx. (Especially when the fourteen year old girl is IN the shopping cart the thirty-two year old is pushing) Trust me on this.
   The children return to school Wednesday and Thursday, and my little one and I will begin his home preschool program this week as well. I've spent the last couple days planning out his lessons, covering everything from writing and beginning reading to doing a study on blue jays and learning about space, and, of course, cooking. He's very excited. Amazon and my library are going to be very helpful, methinks.
   In light of the returning to school phase that many are in now, I suggest readers check out some of the blog links on my page. Yummy Mummy Kitchen and Family Fresh Cooking have already posted delicious (and super-healthy!) school lunch and breakfast recipes on their pages. And if your family gathers for afternoon tea like mine does (the teenagers are home by 3:00, and the tea service is on the table waiting when they walk in the door) take a look at their snacks and treat as well. (If you really want to go whole-scone for your tea, check out the amazing cookbook, "Alice's Tea Cup")

I will leave you (hopefully only for now, not for the next week and a half...please be all better computer, please please please! I have an article due for SageWoman soon!!!!!!) wi8th a recipe I've only dreamed of making....but this shall soon be remedied. Ladies and gentlemen, dearest readers, I give you Pumpkin Pretzels.


- If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice mix, you can make your own by combining 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground allspice and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.

-Not a fan of coffee? Just sub it for 1 tbsp of warm water!

Spiced, Brown Butter Pumpkin Pretzels with Coffee Cream Cheese Icing


makes 10-11 pretzels

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (150ml) warm water
1 tbsp active dried yeast
1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
3 1/4 cups (425g) all purpose flour (plus 1/3 cup (45g) more for kneading)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (see notes)
2 tbsp neutral oil (e.g. vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil)
3/4 cup (185 ml) pumpkin puree
1 egg

For dipping:
1 cup (250ml) hot water
2 tsp baking soda

For rolling:
1/4 cup (55g) butter
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix (see notes)
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar

Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup (50g) powdered sugar
2 tbsp cream cheese
strong coffee
optional: 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) chopped pecans

In a small bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp of the brown sugar. Stir, and set aside.In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, spice mix and the rest of the brown sugar. Add the yeast mixture, oil, pumpkin and egg to the bowl. Stir together until you get a rough ball of mixture.

Tip the entire contents of the large bowl out onto a work surface. Knead together for about 10 minutes, gradually adding the 1/3 cup of flour, using it to stop the dough sticking to your hands and the work surface, until you get a smooth-ish, slightly sticky dough. Pop the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, turning it to coat, cover with a clean tea towel . Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour-ish until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 10-11 equal pieces (roughly weighing 3 oz each) and roll into balls. Dip the bottom of the dough balls lightly into some flour to stop them sticking to the work surface.

Roll each dough ball into a rope about 20″ long.

Shape into a U, cross the ends of the U over each other and fold down to make the pretzel shape.

Combine the hot water and baking soda in a jug, then pour into a shallow bowl. Dip the pretzels into this mixture and place onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Leave to rest while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (210 degrees C). Once preheated, bake the pretzels for 7-10 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees, halfway through baking, until golden brown.

While the pretzels bake, brown the butter: melt the butter, and continue to cook over a medium heat until it foams up and brown solids appear at the bottom of the pan. Take it off the heat. Combine the granulated sugar and spice mix in a large shallow bowl.

Brush the pretzels all over with browned butter, then coat with the spiced sugar mixture

Combine the powdered sugar and cream cheese in a small bowl. Add some coffee, little by little until you get a drizzle-able icing, and drizzle over the spice-sugar coated pretzels. Top with chopped pecans, if you want them. Store in an airtight container – they’re best eaten warm  (I think I'll skip the icing, but that's just because I don't like super-sugary-sweet stuff like that. Unless it's chocolate. Then bring on the sweet!)


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