When I am faced with even the tiniest bit of downtime, I always end up making my way to the kitchen. I love the satisfaction of putting a few simple ingredients together and ending up with a sweet reward to eat and share.
When my boys were little, I would pull a chair up to the sink, fill the sink with warm soapy water and let them play with measuring cups and spoons — they would play for hours! It was one of their favorite things to do and it gave me an opportunity to create something yummy. Plus, I always felt like playing in the water calmed them down. When they got a little older and were able to participate more, I would let them add the flour or sugar and stir with a wooden spoon. And when they were ready to do more, we would make homemade pretzels.
I have this old favorite, non-traditional recipe for homemade pretzels that I love it because it gives the kids an activity and they end up with a snack. It is super simple and doesn’t require boiling. These are great to make if your child has a friend over — they can bring the extras home. The fun part is that it doesn’t matter how much they play with the pretzel dough; the more you handle it the better they come out.
· 2 Tablespoons of dry yeast
· 1 cup of warm not hot water
· Dissolve yeast in water and let sit 5 minutes until foamy
· 2 teaspoon sugar
· 2 teaspoon salt
· 2 1/2 cups flour
1. Knead dough by hand for three to five minutes until it is no longer sticky. You can add a little flour if you need to.
2. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long snake.
3. Shape into traditional pretzel shapes or any shape you’d like.
4. Beat one egg and brush each pretzel with egg wash.
5. Sprinkle with coarse pretzel salt. You can also omit the salt and when the pretzels come out of the oven, roll them in melted butter and a cinnamon sugar mixture.
6. Bake in a 350-degree preheated oven 18 minutes.
Let cool slightly and enjoy!
Susan O’Keefe is the baker/owner of Baked by Susan in Croton-on-Hudson. bakedbysusan.com