Monday, January 31, 2011

Steph's Bite by Bite: Online Bake Sale Fundraiser

Steph at Steph's Bite by Bite has organized an Online Bake Auction going on today until 7pm EST!  All funds raised from the Online Bake Sale will go directly to Team in Training to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The food blogging community has come together to donate baked goods to support Steph's fundraiser. To see all of the amazing baked goodies that are up for auction, click here!  Each item has a minimum bid of $15. Bidding is easy- just email Steph at stephsbitebybite@gmail.com.  To learn more about the rules and logistics, click here.  Please visit the auction and help support a good cause!

I'll be donating my baked doughnut holes- powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, glazed, and with sprinkles!



To bid on these doughnut holes or other delicious sweets and treats, visit Steph's Bite by Bite!  Bidding will close at 7:00pm EST so act quickly!
StumbleUpon

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guacamole



This week on my Saturday Patch column, "Cooking with Chelsea", I'm featuring Homemade Guacamole.  After going to the grocery store to buy produce this week, I noticed a package of powdered Guacamole mix. I immediately felt the need to provide an easy homemade recipe because making it from scratch is just as easy as mixing a powdered substance into a bowl of sour cream, but a much healthier and natural option.  Homemade Guacamole is nothing but fruits and vegetables chopped and mixed together with a little seasoning- how easy is that?!  I hope you enjoy this homemade version of a classic dip- a perfect addition to your Superbowl party!  Click on the link here to find the recipe!





StumbleUpon

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Homemade Auntie Annes Pretzels


I'm sorry to be the bearer of another diet busting recipe... really I am!  I'm not intentionally trying to sway you from your positive eating habits, but we all know the Superbowl is coming up and it's not a day to snack on fruits and vegetables.  It's a day of indulgence- so enjoy it for what it is!

Now I'm sure the title of this post intrigued most of you- many of you have probably had Auntie Annes Pretzels.  It's impossible to walk through the mall and not get hit with that amazing aroma of fresh pretzels baking in the oven. It gets me every time!  So when I came across this recipe that claimed to have an exact replica of Auntie Annes Pretzels, I was admittedly a little skeptical at first. How can someone honestly recreate this amazing one of a kind recipe?

Well, I decided to give it a try and see for myself how authentic it really is and let me tell you- this is the real deal!  Soft chewy center with a perfect crust- if I can even call it that.  Pretzels don't quite have a crust.  It's more of a flexible dense bite.  I can't quite put it into words, but you know what I"m talking about- well the baking soda bath is the trick to getting that pretzel stand authenticity!

Whether you like the traditional salted pretzel dipped in mustard or the sinfully delicious cinnamon and sugar pretzel dipped in icing, you have the instructions here to make them.  Hope you enjoy them!!

Quick side note- Stephanie at Steph's Bite By Bite is organizing an Online Bake Auction to raise money for her Team In Training efforts to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  The auction is being held Monday, January 31st starting at 7:00 am EST through 9:00pm EST.  Please check out her link here to find out more details.  Many fellow food bloggers are donating baked goods to be auctioned and I'll be donating my Baked Doughnut Holes topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, glazed, and rolled in sprinkles.  Please stop by the auction to help support a good cause!


Recipe Tips
  • I recommend serving your pretzels immediately.  If you have to wait, I would imagine the same day is fine too, but  the next day the plastic wrap had trapped the moister making them soggy while the uncovered pretzels hardened.  


 Begin with combining 1 1/2 cups of warm water and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer:


 Using a spoon, gently stir until your yeast dissolves:


Then add your brown sugar:


Salt:


 And stir until dissolved:


Then add your all purpose flour and bread flour:


Using the paddle attachment, mix on low for about 10 seconds until combined:


 Switch your attachment to the dough hook:


And mix on high for 5 minutes to knead your dough.  If you don't have an electric mixer, you can knead by hand:


Lightly grease a large pot by brushing the bottom and sides of the pan with olive oil.  Place your ball of dough in the center of your pot, cover it, and let it sit for 1 hour in a warm space to rise.  I keep my oven at 350 degrees and place the pot on top of the stove:


Immediately after making your dough, prepare your baking soda bath in a large mixing bowl by combining 2 cups of warm water:


Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda:


Stir until dissolved and continue to stir regularly while the dough is rising:


Once your dough has doubled in size:


Put it on a pastry mat and remove a section of dough about 3/4 cup in size.  You can break off as large or as small of a piece as you like depending on the pretzel size you want to make:


Roll your section of dough into a long 1/2 inch thick string of dough.  The length will vary depending on how big you want your pretzel, but the thickness should be no bigger than 1/2 inch in diameter. When rolling the dough, I found it helpful not flouring my work surface and lightly wetting my hands with water (not soaking wet).  To get the right shape, roll the dough up and down with your hands, all the while pushing from the center out to get a long and narrow string of dough.  That's what worked for me, but you'll find a good rhythm of your own too I'm sure!


Once you have your long string of dough, bring one end to the center,  letting it hang slightly over the edge:


Then bring your other end over and weave it underneath the first loop to get a pretty knot:


Then dip your pretzel into the baking soda bath water, making sure to hold its shape in place:


Then lay it on a well greased cookie sheet:


Lay them with about 1 1/2 inches in between each other.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and let your pretzels sit for 15-20 minutes before baking to allow for a second rise: 


Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown:

Meanwhile, prepare your dipping ingredients.  Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter:


Then mix your sugar and cinnamon together if you're making cinnamon sugar pretzels:


To make an icing glaze to dip your cinnamon sugar pretzels in, combine your powdered sugar and water together in a bowl:


Mix until combined and set aside for dipping:


When your pretzels are cool enough to handle, generously brush them all over with your melted butter:



Then dip in your cinnamon sugar mixture until coated:



Or sprinkle with sea salt:


Serve your traditional pretzel with a side of mustard for dipping:




Or serve your icing with the cinnamon sugar pretzel:



Serve immediately and enjoy!






Homemade Auntie Annes Pretzels
Adapted From Korean American Mommy
Makes: 10-12 large pretzels
Prep Time: 1 hour, plus 1 hour and 20 minutes for rising
Cook Time: 10 minutes
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour

Baking Soda Bath
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons baking soda

Toppings
4 tablespoons butter, melted
rock salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons water

Directions
To prepare your dough, combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a spoon, gently stir until your yeast dissolves. Then add your brown sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Add your all purpose flour and bread flour and using the paddle attachment, mix on low for about 10 seconds until combined.  Switch your attachment to the dough hook and mix on high for 5 minutes to knead your dough.  If you don't have an electric mixer, you can knead by hand. Lightly grease a large pot by brushing the bottom and sides of the pan with olive oil.  Place your ball of dough in the center of your pot, cover it, and let it sit for 1 hour in a warm space to rise.  I keep my oven at 350 degrees and place the pot on top of the stove. 

Immediately after making your dough, prepare your baking soda bath in a large mixing bowl by combining 2 cups of warm water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Stir until dissolved and continue to stir regularly while the dough is rising. 

Once your dough is finished rising and has doubled in size. Put your ball of dough on a pastry mat and remove a section about 3/4 cup in size.  You can break off as large or as small of a piece as you like depending on the pretzel size you want to make. Roll your section of dough into a long 1/2 inch thick string of dough.  The length will vary depending on how big you want your pretzel, but the thickness should be no bigger than 1/2 inch in diameter. When rolling the dough, I found it helpful not flouring my work surface and lightly wetting my hands with water (not soaking wet).  To get the right shape, roll the dough up and down with your hands, all the while pushing from the center out to get a long and narrow string of dough.  That's what worked for me, but you'll find a good rhythm of your own too I'm sure! 

Once you have your long string of dough, bring one end to the center,  letting it hang slightly over the edge. Then bring your other end over and weave it underneath the first loop to get a pretty knot. Then dip your pretzel into the baking soda bath water, making sure to hold its shape in place. Place it on a well greased cookie sheet, making sure to put them about 1 1/2 inches in between each other. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and let your pretzels sit for 15-20 minutes before baking to allow for a second rise.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. 

Meanwhile, prepare your dipping ingredients.  Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter. Then mix your sugar and cinnamon together if you're making cinnamon sugar pretzels. To make an icing glaze to dip your cinnamon sugar pretzels in, combine your powdered sugar and water together in a bowl. Mix until combined and set aside for dipping. When your pretzels are cool enough to handle, generously brush them all over with your melted butter. Then dip in your cinnamon sugar mixture until coated or sprinkle with sea salt. Serve your traditional pretzels with a side of mustard for dipping or serve your cinnamon sugar pretzels with icing.
StumbleUpon

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BBQ and Onion Straw Sliders



After posting my potato skins and seeing how popular they were with everyone, I decided I had to change my game plan for the week and dedicate my remaining posts to amazing Superbowl snack options! Apparently a little creativity can go a long way- so I wanted to test what ideas I could come up with for a great Superbowl party!  

I got to thinking what traditional items you normally see at a Superbowl party.  Although I love them all, I think it's important to have a main dish item among the many dips, chips, and finger foods.  Something with a bit of substance, while remaining a crowd pleasing option that people will swoon over.  So I decided on sliders.  It's an item many people enjoy at sports bars and can be made in so many different ways that I decided I could get creative.

My husband and I have a favorite burger we look for on every menu when we go out- a BBQ burger with cheddar cheese, bacon, and cheese straws.  It's a man's burger, but I'm a sucker for flavor and this one is fully loaded. So I decided to tackle a homemade version of this "out of this world burger"- in miniature form as the best slider burger you'll ever have!

I've always been intimidated by frying- never considered a recipe that required it.  However, after having this sudden craving and feeling of sheer excitement, I decided to tackle it head on and I'm so happy I did because it's SO EASY!!  Please don't be afraid of this technique- of course you have to be careful when working with hot oil, but it's as easy as my pictures demonstrate.  These onion straws are restaurant quality- a perfect crisp exterior, wonderfully flavored, with a soft, sweet onion in the center.  They are a must try!

Recipe Tips
  • I couldn't find mini hamburger buns anywhere!  So I attempted to use large buns by cutting them into a smaller shape to fit the burger patties.  I'm not happy with the results because I know there are better options out there.  They worked well enough, but could have looked better. If anyone has suggestions, please leave a comment below!



To prepare your onion straws, begin with slicing a large onion into thin rings:


Scatter your onions in a rectangular pan and pour about 4 cups of buttermilk over the top:


Make sure your onions are covered and let them soak in the buttermilk for at least one hour:


Meanwhile, very finely chop 1/2 cup of onion:


Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized saute pan and add your onions and minced garlic.  Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes:


Then in a large mixing bowl, combine your ground beef, onion and garlic mixture, salt, pepper, and Worcester sauce. Using your hands, mix until well incorporated!


To form your patties, scoop about 1/4 cup of your beef mixture:


Shape it into a flat patty:


My husband, the grill master in our home, recommended making a 1 inch wide, 1/4 inch deep hole in the center of each patty, which prevents your patty from puffing up while cooking and ensures a nice flat surface.  Once your patties are prepared, cook either over the grill or under the broiler for about 5 minutes on each side. Cooking time will vary depending on how you like your burgers.  Just before your burgers are finished cooking, add one piece of cheddar cheese on top of each and cook until melted: 


While your patties are cooking, combine your flour, salt, and paprika in a mixing bowl.  Dredge your buttermilk soaked onions into the flour mixture until coated:


Then fill a large saute pan with vegetable oil, about 1 inch deep.  Place your pan over the stove top on high/medium heat.  Make sure your oil is heated through before you add your onions.  You can test this by dropping a clump of flour- if it begins to sizzle, your oil is ready for frying.  Carefully drop your onions, one at a time and allow them to cook.  Drop enough onions in the pan so they are scattered and not overcrowded:


Cook for a few minutes at a time until they are browned.  Carefully remove your onions and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel.  Repeat these steps until all of your onions have been fried.:



Meanwhile, cook your bacon over your stove top in a large pan over medium heat for about 7 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer your bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to catch any excess fat:
 

Once your ingredients are ready, it's time to assemble your burgers! Start with spreading the BBQ sauce over your top and bottom bun, add your burger patty on top of the bottom bun, then bacon, onion straws, finish with your top bun and you're ready to dig in!:


 Look at those layers of flavors!





BBQ and Onion Straw Sliders
Makes: 20 sliders
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
Onion Straws
1 large onion
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
vegetable oil

Hamburger Patties
2 lbs ground beef, ground chuck 80/20 is best, but you can use whatever is on sale too!
1/2 cup finely minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon worcester sauce

3/4 cup Homemade BBQ Sauce
20 slices of Cheddar cheese
20 mini hamburger buns or small dinner rolls
20 slices of bacon, cooked


Directions
To prepare your onion straws, begin with slicing a large onion into very thin rings.  Scatter your onions in a rectangular pan and pour about 4 cups of buttermilk over the top. Make sure your onions are covered and let them soak in the buttermilk for at least one hour. Once your hour has passed, combine your flour, salt, and paprika in a mixing bowl and set aside.  Then fill a large saute pan with vegetable oil, about 1 inch deep and place your pan over the stove top on high/medium heat.  Make sure your oil is heated through by dropping a clump of flour- if it begins to sizzle, your oil is ready for frying.  Dredge your buttermilk soaked onions in the flour mixture until coated and carefully drop your onions, one at a time into the oil and allow them to cook.  Drop enough onions in the pan so they are scattered and not overcrowded. Cook for a few minutes until they are browned.  Carefully remove your onions and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat these steps until you've fried all of your onions.

To prepare your hamburger patties, very finely chop 1/2 cup of onion. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized saute pan and add your onions and minced garlic.  Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then in a large mixing bowl, combine your ground beef, onion and garlic mixture, salt, pepper, and Worcester sauce. Using your clean hands, mix until well incorporated. 

To form your patties, scoop about 1/4 cup of your beef mixture and shape it into a flat patty. My husband, the grill master in our house, recommended making a 1 inch wide, 1/4 inch deep hole in the center of each patty, which prevents your patty from puffing up while cooking and ensures a nice flat surface.  Once your patties are prepared, cook either over the grill or under the broiler for about 5 minutes on each side. Cooking time will vary depending on how you like your burgers.  Just before your burgers are finished cooking, add one piece of cheddar cheese on top of each and cook until melted. 

Meanwhile, cook your bacon over your stove top in a large pan over medium heat for about 7 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer your bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to catch any excess fat. Once your ingredients are ready, it's time to assemble your burgers. Start with spreading the BBQ sauce over your top and bottom bun, add your burger patty on top of the bottom bun, then bacon, onion straws, finish with your top bun and you're ready to dig in! 
StumbleUpon