First, I’d like to share a few books I remember from my childhood that my Mom found and gave to Lilly this weekend. I remember them all by heart and so do my brothers. It was extra specially cute to hear the boys read them to Lilly and gives my heart a little flutter when I see them resting on the shelves of our new book nook.
This is a very sweet book in general but it’s also great for us to teach the “more” sign to our daughters. Many, many opportunities to practice the sign- on ever page of the book! Hungry bear always wants more!
I think Lill’ and I will make cookies today in Mouse’s honor. It’s hard to imagine that we don’t have this book on our shelves already, but we do have this one:
This has been one of Lilly’s favorites since she was just a tiny little thing. Every Laura Numeroff book includes some mischievous character who inevitably makes a mess and The Best Mouse Cookie is no exception. Lilly loves pointing out the messes; cracked eggs on the floor, flour everywhere. She likes a clean kitchen, that much is clear.
And without further adieu, this is the box I received this month from my Foodie Penpal, Julie, who happened to be from Philly as well. Everything in the box came from Reading Terminal Market which is far and wide one of my favorite foodie places in PA.
Lilly and I may or may not have scarfed them up in a less than lady-like amount of time.
Moving on, we also got some other great treats! The fall cinnamon spice loose tea leaf (which is perfect for my tea-only travel mug that steeps loose tea in the lid contraption), the dark pretzel splits (which I have to admit I was skeptical of at first- but good God they are addicting), the chocolate covered espresso beans (woo-hoo a Mom only treat!), some beautiful fall colored acorn squash, and last but not least the best pretzel mix I have ever tried. Obviously Pennsylvania Dutch Country Soft Pretzels are the greatest carb treat ever but for those of you who didn’t grow up on them; they are light, airy, soft, sweet and oh so buttery delicious. Julie wrote:
“Make your own soft pretzels- Your kids might be too young to fully get into it, but it sounded like an enjoyable project. Making soft pretzels is def on my to do list. This bag came from one of the Amish vendors. (Same one that had the squash.)”
Well, Julie, we had a MORE than enjoyable morning making our own soft pretzels. At two and a half, I wouldn’t have thought Lilly would A) enjoy it as much as she did or B) actually be able to do what she could do with the pretzel dough. Take a look.
I got the dough ready in the morning and let it rise per the instructions on the back of the bag. Then I greased up the table and let Lilly have at it. I showed her how to roll a snake, and “make a twisty” to turn the dough ball into a pretzel.
Ok, so I know what some of you are thinking. You asked for the recipe and I gave you some photos of pretzel making from a mix. But have no fear. I made round two of homemade pretzels (that were 100% homemade) with even better results. Here is THAT recipe. These would be great to bake up before a football game or as a fall party snack. So delicious.
Baked Soft Pretzels
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups luke warm water
4 cups flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
|In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes (set a timer for this- properly kneaded dough is important). Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for one hour.
|Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. Line 6 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat (you could also just spray your sheet tray with baking spray).
|After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner. Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. I brushed all my pretzels with the baking soda solution but but this step is what makes the dough brown in the oven so if you want a uniformly brown pretzel- dip the whole thing! Place onto parchment covered baking sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
|Preheat an oven to 500 degrees F .
|Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt, garlic salt or cinnamon sugar. You could make these any way you want- cheddar jalapeno, rosemary garlic, etc.
These would also make fabulous dinner roll alternatives with something like chili or beef stew. Plus, your kids will love making all kinds of shapes and eating their results! Brandon and I ate them last night with Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash- I’ll be posting that recipe tomorrow. It was so delicious!
Thanks again, Julie, for such a great October box!
P.S. If you are interested in the tea mug- this one is my favorite:
Available from joysteaspoon.com
Happy [real] Halloween!