Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

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I’ve been making a lot of baked pretzels lately. I like to bake them and then put them in the freezer so I don’t sit there and eat the whole batch. To warm them up, I’ll just put them in the microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds. I also like to use Alton Brown’s recipe for homemade pretzels. Then, I find other ways to flavor them up. One time I used a package of ranch seasoning mix. Those were ok, but I like these better.  These little pretzel bites would be fun to make for a game party. We never have those at our house and I wish that we did. Although, I’m not sure if there’s people out there that have NHL parties at their homes? I’m not a football fan at all.

To make these, use your favorite pretzel dough recipe. Take the dough and divide it into 4 separate balls. Roll them out length wise. Place some cut up pieces of ham, pepperoni, or whatever you like in the center of the dough. Then some cheese. Fold the pretzel dough over so that it covers the ham and cheese and crimp the pretzel dough shut. Cut them into equal size pieces and place them on a baking sheet. Brush them with egg wash and sprinkle on some kosher salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.

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Ham and Cheese Pretzel Brites

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 cup cheese (your favorite)
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1 egg beaten
  • salt (for the top of the pretzels)

Directions

Step 1
Make the dough. In a stand mixer with the dough hook, combine flour and salt. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Add the yeast package to the warm water a long with the sugar. Turn on the mixer and let the water mix in with the dough until it's elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl and let it sit for an hour.
Step 2
After an hour, take the dough and divide it into 4 separate pieces. Use a rolling pin to stretch the dough out length wise. Once the 4 pieces have been rolled out, place the ham in the center of the dough. Then the cheese. Fold the dough over the cheese and ham and crimp it shut. Cut the dough into equal size pieces.
Step 3
Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.
Step 4
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes then enjoy.

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Fudge

I’ve been becoming quite the candy maker lately. I made some more caramels and fudge yesterday. I’ve tried making pumpkin fudge before, and I think there was something wrong with the recipe. It could be that the pumpkin caused the sugar mixture to start burning too early when it hasn’t even reached 234 degrees yet. I tried about 10 different times  to get that recipe to work and just couldn’t get it. That made me angry.  I decided to try a different fudge recipe this time from Alton Brown. This was super easy to follow and the chocolate mixture did not start burning before the temp reached to 234 degrees. I was pretty happy. You can add whatever you like to this fudge recipe. I added chopped pecans and marshmallows. Any type of dried fruit would be good, candy, cookies, you name it.

This is real fudge people. Not the fudge you make where all you do is melt some chocolate in a microwave or mix some kind of cake mix. I came across a “fudge” recipe the other day ago that just required some cake mix, butter and oil. I was kind of confused because they had called it fudge when the recipe didn’t require any sugar or chocolate to be boiled together until it reached a certain temp. Whatever I guess… it looked pretty easy though and I’m a fan of easy recipes. I also like the difficult recipes every now and then.

Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetenuped chocolate
  • 3` tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

Step 1
Grease an 8 by 8-inch pan with butter. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, chocolate, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter, half-and-half, and corn syrup.
Step 2
Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved and chocolate is melted. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the cover and attach a candy thermometer to the pot. Cook until the thermometer reads 234 degrees F. Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter
Step 3
Do not stir. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or until it drops to 130 degrees F. Add vanilla and nuts, if desired, and mix until well-blended and the shiny texture becomes matte. Pour into the prepared pan. Let sit in cool dry area until firm. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Alton Brown’s PIzza Dough

I just want to share with all you guys this awesome pizza dough recipe.  I was going to make some lasagna this fine evening, but I didn’t have enough cottage cheese. We had got this deal on fresh mozzarella at the grocery store (b1g1 free) this weekend and I really wanted to make something with it. Pizza it is! Had all the ingredients for that on hand. Using fresh mozzarella cheese on pizza changes everything. I used to use the bags of already shredded mozzarella cheese up until now.

You can’t go wrong with any of Alton Brown’s recipes either. Sorry, I’m an Alton Brown fan. The recipe says to cover and refrigerate the dough for 24 hours, but I was in a hurray so I skipped that part. You have to brush the pizza dough crust with a little bit olive oil to make it that golden brown color on top. For toppings use whatever you like, and please if you already haven’t yet try using fresh mozzarella instead of the shredded mozzarella in the bags. You will see a difference.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour (for bread machines)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
Olive oil, for the pizza crust
Flour, for dusting the pizza peel

Directions

Place the sugar, salt, olive oil, water, 1 cup of flour, yeast, and remaining cup of flour into the mixer’s work bowl.

Using the paddle attachment, start the mixer on low and mix until the dough just comes together, forming a ball. Lube the hook attachment with cooking spray. Attach the hook to the mixer and knead for 15 minutes on medium speed.

Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disc. Stretch the dough until thin. Hold it up to the light and look to see if the baker’s windowpane, or taut membrane, has formed. If the dough tears before it forms, knead the dough for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll the pizza dough into a smooth ball on the countertop. Place into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.

Place the pizza stone or tile onto the bottom of a cold oven and turn the oven to its highest temperature, about 500 degrees F. If the oven has coils on the oven floor, place the tile onto the lowest rack of the oven.

Homemade Peanut Butter

I was looking for something easy to make today, since I didn’t feel like baking. Well.. I take that back. I really wanted to bake but being it Easter and all there were so many desserts. Pie, shortcake, and lemon bars. I wanted to have all 3 of them.

Making your own peanut butter is so easy. That is, if you own a food processor. When I made this, the peanut butter kind of formed a ball at first, and I wondered what was going on. You have to let the food processor run until the peanut butter is smooth. That is key when making peanut butter. If you want even healthier peanut butter don’t add in any oil at all. It’s so good, I want to make my own nutella next!

Add about 15 oz of peanuts to a food processor or more, depending on how much peanut butter you want. Pulse until it looks like this:

 

Isn’t it amazing how something like this?

Can turn into this? ;)

Ingredients from Alton Brown

15 ounces shelled and skinned AB’s roasted peanuts, recipe follows
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

Directions

Place the peanuts, salt and honey into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Place the lid back on and continue to process while slowly drizzling in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Place the peanut butter in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.