Brace yourself folks. I’m about to shatter the illusion you have of me that I’m perfect.
Yes, it’s true I’m a flawed soul. I’m plenty okay with this but I’m afraid of the devastating effect this news will have on you.
I hope I have not ruined your holiday season. I am truly sorry.
None of you even entertained the idea that I was perfect?
Well okay then. Hmm, I have to say I’m a little surprised and mildly shocked but….none of you?
Well let’s just move right along shall we.
The flaw that I was about to shock you with is my failure to live in the present. I tend to put on my rose color glasses over how things were in the past and get super jazzed about how I think things will be in the future. Note: using the term super jazzed often does not constitute as a flaw.
I’m sure we all do this but it erks me so much when I catch myself dismissing something that I will surely look back on with joy but at the moment comparing it to our past. Just enjoy now Jen, you big dummy. That’s what I yell in my head.
I have to remind myself that things weren’t alway perfect. That cute first apartment together, remember the ceiling fell in. The phone never worked, the kitchen was pretty non-existent and the trolley shook the whole place every 10 minutes. Let’s not forget the squirrel break-in. He wrecked the whole place. When Adam came home he thought maybe I was in a mad dash to get to work because I was late. It wasn’t until he found the hole in the screen and squirrel bathroom evidence that he thought possibly it wasn’t me. Possibly? Really?
I’ve been catching myself though. Fixing the flaw as best I can. The past was wonderful and imperfect. The squirrel, he is part of our history that makes us laugh. And the future will be what it is but now is perfect in its many imperfections. That’s what we will look fondly on I hope. Like how I mastered the making of soft pretzels. This was necessary because it is one of the foods we miss from Philadelphia. Adam would bring me home a soft pretzel everyday from work. He is sweet that way, I think I’ll keep him. Now I can look back on those moments and these new pretzel memories and smile and I won’t need to wear any tinted glasses.
And Pretzels aren’t for an after work snack anymore. You can have your regular coarse salt topping. Or why not make it a meal and add some cheese? How about kalamata olives or some capicola? The possibilities are endless.
from Smitten Kitchen
2 Cups warm water (100 – 110 degrees F)
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 + 1/4 Teaspoons active dry yeast
5-6 Cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
1 Large Egg
Course Salt for topping and any other topping of your choice
Pour warm water and 1 Tablespoon of sugar into bowl of electric mixer, stir to combine. Sprinkle with yeast and let sit about 10 until yeast becomes foamy.
With dough hook attachment on, add 1 cup of flour to yeast and mix on low until combined. Add salt and 4 cups more of flour, mix until combined. Beat on medium until dough pulls away from the sides of bowl. Add another 1/2 cup of flour and knead for 1 more minute. If dough is sticky add additional 1/2 cup flour and knead for another 30 seconds. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 20 seconds worth of kneading.
Pour oil into a bowl and coat the sides. Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Punch down dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead a couple of time and divide dough into 16 pieces (32 for minis) Cover pieces with plastic wrap.
Roll each piece into a strip and twist into a vague pretzel like shape. I can’t help you here, I just kind of make a little knot so they stay together. Good luck to you! Transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets and cover with a kitchen towel. When all are made, let them rest, covered for about 15 minutes.
While they are resting fill a large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda, careful it will foam up fast. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and reduce heat to a simmer. Working with 3 or 4 pretzels at a time add them to water. Poach them for 1 minute on each side. Using a slotted spoon transfer back to baking sheets. Continue with the rest.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat egg with one tablespoon of water. Brush pretzels with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt or add toppings of your choice. Bake until golden brown. About 20 to 25 minutes but keep an eye on the last 5 minutes so they don’t burn. Enjoy!