DIY Soft Pretzels with Kids

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The Very Best Present

Recently my mother sent me the Very Best Present.  It’s the book entitled I Can Make A Rainbow by Marjorie Frank, copyright 1976 by Incentive Publications.  Amazon is currently advertising a used copy for $3.98 right here.  New copies run for $25.  It might be the best money you ever spend in your life.  If you don’t believe me just take a minute to absorb the enticing back cover which reads,

“Come away with me on straw-whistle winds to the lands of goozles and whiffle-whomps and astronaut princes and soap-bubble pies and I’ll let you touch bright yellow drops of sun and pale washes of moon and stir your hand in mad rivers of purple elixir with whirlpools of winged witches and striped crocodiles.”  Fantastic, right?

The book doesn’t disappoint.  It’s got it all- things to do with paper, yarn, paint, cloth and string.  Things to do with food, things to carve, mold and sculpt, and special things to make.  There is even a whole chapter devoted to, “Things to Do When There’s Nothing to Do.”  How can you go wrong with that?

If you know a toddler please do their parents a favor and give them this holy grail of wonderfulness.  Do it soon because those parents wanted this book yesterday.

20131020-010739.jpgThat said, what I really wanted to write about was how fun and easy it is to make giant soft pretzels with your toddler.  Unfortunately my toddler was having a bit of day today due to a skipped nap and opted to spend the designated pretzel-making time engaging in such shenanigans as whimpering , pleading, shouting, and banging.  Always with the banging.  Still, I firmly believe it WOULD have been very fun for her to help with these super easy pretzels.  Where did I find the recipe you might ask?  Why, I Can Make a Rainbow, of course!  Learn more about it here.

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Measure 1/2 cup warm water into a bowl.  Sprinkle 1 package yeast on the water and stir until it dissolves.  Separate one egg yolk and white.  Keep the white for later.  Mix the egg yolk, 1/4 cup honey or sugar, 1/4 cup margarine (I used butter) and milk (I used coconut milk) into the yeast.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and enough flour to make a stiff dough.  For me this was 4 cups although the recipe calls for 5.  Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes, let it rise for about 1 hour, cut it into strips about 1 inch wide (use a pizza cutter if you have it).  Fold each strip in half and roll it into a rope.  Shape them into whatever you want and put them on the cookie sheet.  Beat 1 Tbsp. of water into the egg white and brush it over the pretzels.  Sprinkle each one with coarse salt.  Bake at 425 degrees until they are golden brown (15-20 minutes).  Serve with mustard or…. anything else.

20131020-010711.jpgNext time I make these I’m going to use fresh rosemary and garlic and the time after that I’ll try a dipping sauce with caramel and chopped almonds.  Basically I’m wondering where these pretzels have been my entire life.

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