Candy Corn Pretzel Bites

DSC_0446And so the million combinations for pretzel bites continue...
However, this time we are using a Hershey Kiss that is seasonal so you better act fast!
Have you seen these little guys?
Candy corn flavored Hershey Kisses.  My friend Jennifer introduced me to them and while I actually can't stand candy corn, these are pretty addicting.  Add a pretzel and a dark chocolate m&m and you've got quite the perfect little bite. 

Recipe Note
I have only seen the candy corn kisses at Target.  I scoured grocery stores for a long time so let me you save you a trip and just head to Target.  If you have made the original pretzel bites, know that these are a little different.  The candy corn hershey kisses do not harden as well as hugs do.  If you are making a big batch and want to throw them in a bag, I suggest making ones with double pretzels.  I had to lay them side by side with parchment paper on top or they get kind of melty on each other. 
1 bag candy corn Hershey kisses (see recipe note)
1 bag square pretzels
1 bag dark chocolate M&Ms
parchment paper
Step by Step
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place one kiss on top of each pretzel.  Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly melty.  Remove baking sheet from oven and top each kiss with an m&m.  Press down slightly so that the hershey kiss smushes down on the pretzel.  Optional:  Press another pretzel on top instead of the m&m.


nutty chocolate chip cookies

I am in search of a signature cookie.  I know that there are much bigger fish to fry in the world, but this is close to the top of my list.  I just want that one cookie that you know will always be good, but is not too complicated so you could whip some up for any occasion.   

This here is my first attempt at finding that cookie, and it is a really good one.  I'm not quite ready to give up my search, but this was good enough to share.  A little nutty, a little chocolaty, but not too heavy.  The best part is that dough froze well and I will even venture to say that the cookies tasted better after the dough had been frozen.  

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.

Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe Notes
It says to sift the flour.  If you do not a sifter, you can use a strainer.  You just want the flour to be fine, fluffy and have no clumps.  Another option is to just fluff the flour a little with the measuring cup before you measure it.  It is ideal to sift, won't totally ruin the cookie if you don't have a sifter.  I always bake cookies now with parchment paper.  Haven't seen a burnt edge since I started.  If you really don't want to buy this, you can cook on an ungreased cookie sheet, but I highly recommend the parchment paper. 
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1 (4 ounce) bar Hershey's milk chocolate, grated
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
parchment paper

Step by Step
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a bowl, cream butter and sugars until creamy and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well and set aside.

Place oatmeal in a blender and grind to a fine powder.  Add gradually to sugar- egg mixture, along with flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir just to combine all of the ingredients.  Add chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and nut.

Roll into golf ball- sized balls for a medium sized cookie.  For small cookies, use a heaping teaspoon. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place dough 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on dough size), until slightly golden brown.  


soft pretzels


We had our own little Oktoberfest celebration this weekend and if I have my way, it will be the way we celebrate the occasion every year from here on after.  For that matter, it might be the way I celebrate everything.  We made soft pretzels and I am hooked.  It's a blessing and a curse when I find something I love so much.  A blessing because it's another great recipe to share but if I make these as often as I want, I would turn into one gigantic carb.

This is not by any means one of those quick recipes, but it was quite fun making them and even more fun eating them.  If you have a few friends or kids that want to join you in the kitchen, rolling these suckers is a fun little project.

We added some parmesan cheese to a few and cinnamon sugar to a few more.

My friend Kate made two great dips... a worcestire dip and a beer cheese spread.

If this wasn't indulgent enough, after one bite of the cinnamon sugar pretzel, I heard, "this would be even better with some icing"... from another, "oh I think this would be good with some Nutella.  Well, what do you know, I had both in the pantry and they made the cinnamon sugar pretzels even better.

This is the perfect weekend project.  Warning... make at least two per person or you might start feuds over who gets the goods.


pretzel rollin fun...

Don't be discouraged if your pretzels don't turn out well from the get go.  Even the ugly ones taste good... that was my first one, eek.


the baking soda bath... sounds weird, but makes for a great pretzel

Soft Pretzels
Adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network
Recipe Notes
Some people use pretzel salt and if you want to go all out, feel free. However, I used coarse sea salt and if you don't have it, I would suggest buying it.  You will use it way more than you think.  Make sure you provide a lot of time for these suckers because you will need to let the dough rise for an hour.  

1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water (a meat thermometer comes in handy to test temperature)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Coarse salt
Optional toppings
parmesan cheese, shredded
cinnamon and sugar

stand mixer with a dough hook
parchment paper

Step by Step

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a large pot.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Pinch the dough at all places that it intersects tightly so that it will stay together.  Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula or strainer spoon and return to the baking sheet.

For regular pretzels:  Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with coarse salt.

For cinnamon sugar pretzel:  Brush with melted butter, dip in sugar and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

For parmesan pretzel:  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.

Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with various dips.