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Resolution Recipe 6: Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels


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I am not going to lie…this recipe killed me in so many ways. I earn my novice status with many recipes but my badge should be gold after making these. I know they may look like pretzels and they may even look good to the untrained eye, but I had so many issues with this recipe, I just want to spill my guts and get it over with…and pray they turn out better if I ever dare to try again…ugh.20140308_135337

Ingredients are minimal and you probably have everything you need in the pantry unless you’re like me and don’t keep chocolate ships in your pantry because that isn’t a healthy decision!

As grumpy as I am even typing this up, I do have some thoughts on what might have gone wrong for me….

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YEAST: I hate working with yeast sometimes. It’s so temperamental. It always feels like such an amazing victory to see your bread rise after you’ve been standing in the kitchen  biting your fingernails watching the dough like a worried mother. I guess these guys rose better then they could have but the consistency of the dough was like clay or even Play Dough and not at all soft like I would have expected to see for pretzel dough. So, while it’s possible I killed the yeast or that it was too old to be nice to me, I actually wonder if it wasn’t something else…

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MIXING: Guys this was a total disaster! The recipe says to mix it for like 10 min (I might be exaggerating, but I don’t have the recipe in front of me while I type this…) and within 2 min it was so tough that the mixer was literally skipping and hopping on the counter top. *sigh*. 20140308_141753

 

This is a picture of me holding the top down because it was not wanting to stay put. The dough hook had a terrible time working the dough and I was 100% sure I was going to have to apologize to my room mate for breaking her very expensive mixer and then some how replace it with the money I don’t even have to buy my own. Nightmare. I have no idea how I would have been able to mix it for the amount of time they suggest. But things got worse when I added…

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BUTTER: Oh geez. Imagine putting clay in your Kitchen Aid and then adding butter. Imagine with me for a second what that mess would look like. A greasy mess! That’s what it looks like. The dough was not able to absorb the butter (as you can see above) but it did start to soften it a bit out of the hard rocky ball that it had been previously. I continued to run the mixer, hoping it would improve and while it did show some signs of  improvement, but I was really discouraged by what I was seeing.

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Things seemed to shape up a bit after I added the chocolate chips. You can see below that it’s looking more like cookie dough and less like a wet buttery mess. Score!

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Back to the bad news…the dough totally didn’t rise. It looked like this after the set amount of time for raising. It was not yeasty and squishy like other doughs are. It should have been fluffy and doubled. It was not. I decided that this situation might end up a little bit like those experiences you have at the hair dresser getting a cut or style….you know that moment….about 10 min in to your new quaff you  inwardly start groaning thinking the person doesn’t know what they are doing and they didn’t listen and you’re going to look terrible!!!….and then…you just let them finish…haha. The relief ! All is right in the world. They get to keep their jobs and you’re happy….I was hoping these hopeless guys would turn out the same way with a little time and patience…soooo…ONWARD!

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Because I let my dough raise in the oven (dumb choice) the chocolate chips got nice and melted which turned the dough the chocolate color you see. These should be more like a chocolate brioche pretzels since you can’t see the chips in there but we’re going to keep the name the same for consistency sake. 20140308_181811

 

I started to work out the dough by rolling it out into long snake like strips before I started twisting it. Twisting it got easier once I figured out you need to twist the two ends together a few times before pressing them into the curve of the base and that you’ll have more twisting space in the dough the longer you make them.

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I decided to have gravity help me out since the dough was pretty thick and kind of hard to work with.  That seemed to do the trick to get them the length I needed. I believe I divided the dough into rounds based on the serving size so I know what I had to work with for each pretzel. That helped them all be about the same size and shape when all was said and done. 20140308_184001

The egg was you put on them makes them look a little more exciting then the chocolaty marbled dough. This is what they looked like before a trip into the oven…moment of truth folks! Wasn’t sure what I was about to get….


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Well I guess you kind of already saw them at the beginning of the post (sorry for the spoiler after this dramatic interpretation of my experience!) but here they are in all their pretzely glory! I am really happy to say that they actually had a bready (…making up words here, friends…) consistency and tasted very much of chocolate which seems like a good place to be at the end of making this recipe. They are far from as lovely looking as Deb’s are and are not even sort of the best pretzels I’ve ever had…but…they are mine and I am happy with them. They were pretty sweet so they make a good after dinner treat.

I would love to try these again and see what I can do about fixing that rubbery dough. Deb has not blogged this recipe but I’ve found another happy Perelmanite fan like me who has the recipe posted on her blog as well as her review of the cookbook. Check out Think Well. Love well. Dine Well.

If you have tried something like this before or know what I might have wrong, would you be kind enough to tell me! I get a little nervous at the thought of doing this again, but I know there has to be redemption out there for me to find for these pretzels. It will happen :)

Coming up next…Almond Date Breakfast Bars and hopefully restaurant or dish reviews. As I type, I am on the way to Delaware to visit my best friend! I hope to do some fun food reviews of my travels around Delaware and Pennsylvania. I had some majorly good eats last time I was here and can’t wait to see what other goodies I get to try!

Weight Watchers Update: Ladies and gentleman I am 1 lb away from having lost 10% of my original body weight. I have been circling the 10% mark for the past 3 weeks and while I was hoping to hit it sometime in August, I’ve decided that with this trip, my upcoming birthday and school starting that I need to let my routine settle a bit before I beat myself too much. I’m still doing all I can to eat right and plan to keep it up but this plateau might just need a jump start with routine change to get me back in the loss. What a way to spend the summer :) I’m happy with the progress I’ve made. I’ll made these before I started weight watchers so I don’t know the points, but if I remember I’ll come back and post it.

Blessings, friends!

 

 

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BBQ Chex Mix…yes please!


So, I love bbq…we’ve established that. And what better way to get that bbq flavor any time you want then to make up a chex mix that is easy to munch!

My first attempt at making this recipe was a few years back from a Super Bowl party at home. I did it in the oven because I thought it was laughable to do in the microwave. Not to mention, putting stuff in the microwave to cook seems…less like cooking…more like…something else. It doesn’t feel like cooking unless I’m turning on a stove or oven so if someone  tells me to take the short cut in a recipe and do it in the microwave, I usually turn up my inexperienced nose and use the oven/stove to complet the recipe, convinced it will taste better.

Well, I should have hung my head in shame after making this in the oven. It was a soggy, sticky mess and not very delicious….at all. Boo. I, of course, blamed the failure on the recipe and vowed to never try it again.

2 years changes things, because I got it in my head to cross the bridge one more time and give it a try when I had the same bbq craving this summer. I need to get off of my mental high horse regarding microwaves because this recipe is a total success in the silly thing. And FAST! If you’re having a party or work full time like me and need a quick something to bring to a get-together, this may be your new go to!

Here’s the recipe and my experience with microwave cooking :) (CHEAP NOTE: The cheapy in me bet myself that I could get all the ingredients for this yummy snack at the 99 cents store. I was almost right…just had to get the Chex Mix at the store. Everything else was a quick pick up there. Score! )

Step 1: Grab a bowl and your ingredients. The recipe calls for Cheese-It type crackers, but I found these whales at the 99 cents store and I have to say, this is my new favorite cheese cracker to add to this mix. Better flavor then the cheese its.

Step 2: Mix your dry ingredients..6 cups of Chex, 3/4 cups honey roasted peanuts, 1.5 cups of pretzels and cheese crackers. I have been using my big red plastic bowl for this project, however, I’m pretty sure that’s not a great idea when microwave cooking. Best bet is a nice big glass bowl. Much less toxic.

Step 3: Combine your other ingredients for the sauce…garlic and onion powder, bbq sauce and vegetable oil. My little oil bottle looks like it’s olive oil…it’s not…thus the silly blue label. Had to use the vegetable oil for something so I decided to pour the small amount I had left into the glass bottle. Very hand, but confusing for this recipe :)

Step 4: Pour bbq mixture into dry ingredients

Step 5: Mix it well. I have to admit that the first time I made this I was highly skeptical that the little amount of bbq sauce mixture was going to coat that 6 cup+ mixture of dry ingredients….but have faith. It does cover the whole lot of it. I found that the bbq sauce that tends to be thinner is better for this recipe. I’ve used KC

Masterpiece and then this dollar store buy and though I prefer the taste of KC or a Kraft Honey BBQ sauce, this one did a better job combining. My one tip is to mix well and try not to make up any more of the bbq mixture if possible. Remember you don’t want this to be soggy but crunchy. The more you put on, the longer you’ll likely have to cook it. Here is a picture of what it looks like all mixed…not a whole lot different hu :)

Step 6: Put your bowl into the microwave and put 7 min on the clock. I recommend opening up the door and stirring after the first 2 min and then I usually open and stir every min until I hit the 7 min mark. I’ve had an incident where the mix started to burn, so I’ve been careful ever since. As a hint, you won’t notice anything magical happening to the mix. It’s not going to look much different from when you put it in so don’t be using that as a sign to know when it’s done. I’ve learned that the hard way and I wish they would have explained it in the recipe.

Here’s a picture of what it looks like after a few min in the microwave.You can kind of see what I mean…nothing much different. Don’t worry, you’re still doing everything right. It’s going to seem like it’s still too wet when you finally pull it out, but don’t be discouraged, just follow through with the recipe.

Step 7: Roll out your parchment/wax paper and spread your mix and separate the pieces. Believe it or not they will dry and be crunchy! They will also be stuck together so you can put them in a Rubbermaid like shown below and shake the dickens out of it. That is sure to separate the pieces….I guess the same can be said for a gallon bags…but then you don’t get the terribly loud noise…choices, choices.

I hope you give this a try. My Life Group friends enjoyed it…think Jamie and CJ tried it this summer too… I’d like to try this with some of the other flavors that the Chex website offers.  Tell me of your Chex mix adventures below!