Tuesday, August 11, 2009
play date pretzel
We've been hosting play dates at our house off and on over the years with friends from the neighborhood and from the Waldorf school. Mostly the children just play while the grown-ups have a chance to catch up and find out that all the difficulties we're having as parents are shared by nearly everyone else. That is the most cherished revelation of mine each time we gather...that in every trial of parenthood it seems I am never alone. At least one other person struggles with me.
Sometimes we have activities or crafts for the wee ones while we sit aside and sip our tea. Recently we made these delicious pretzels which the children got to form themselves. They're a great cookie-cutter-using alternative to actual sugary cookies.
(Because I am usually frantically cleaning the house until the first of our guests knocks on the front door, I prep these pretzels in the bread machine. You can alter for conventional kneading and rising if preferred.)
Play Date Pretzels
1 cup water
3 cups flour
2 Tblsp. oil
1 Tblsp. sugar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tblsp. oregano (or herb of your choice)
2 tsp. yeast
Place ingredients in bread machine on manual. When dough is ready turn it out onto a floured breadboard and knead flat. Separate into balls for children to either roll and stretch into the traditional pretzel shape or to roll out for cutting. (Scraps can be re-kneaded and used again but the less handling of the dough the better.)
Set onto floured board, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (20 or 30 minutes).
Meanwhile, in a large stainless steel or enamel (not aluminum) pot, combine:
8-10 cups water
2-3 Tblsp. baking soda
Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.
Preheat oven to 425.
Gently lift formed pretzels into the simmering water. After 20 seconds, gently turn. After 20 more seconds, remove from the water with a slotted spoon or spatula. Allow to drain then place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. (They will really, really stick to an unlined pan.) Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake 15 - 20 minutes. They'll look darker than you might think.
Give them to the children to eat with mustard or honey right away. They won't keep well.