Double your creative fun when you get crafty in the kitchen. There are plenty of opportunities to have fun in the kitchen with your kids. Decorating cookies and cupcakes are always fun but if you want to avoid sweets and make a healthy snack in the process, try homemade pretzels.
The child’s age will determine how involved they can be but preschoolers on up will enjoy helping to measure ingredients, kneading the dough and shaping the pretzels.
1 tsp dry yeast
2 tbls and 2 tsp brown sugar
2+ cups flour
coarse kosher salt
shortening or butter
1. In large mixing bowl mix 1 T. HOT water and 1 tsp yeast. Mix until yeast dissolves completely.
2. Stir in 2/3 cup WARM water.
3. Stir in 2 T. and 2 tsp brown sugar.
4. Slowly add 2 cups flour, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
5. Lightly flour counter. Dip your hands into extra flour. Knead the dough until it is stretchy and smooth. (Push it down and away from you with the palms of your hands, turning the dough as you work)
6. Grease cookie sheet(s) well with butter or shortening. Sprinkle greased cookie sheet(s) with kosher salt. Preheat oven to 475.
7. Using liquid measuring cup fill a large saucepan at least 1/2 full of water. For each 1 cup of water, add 1 T baking soda.
8. Divide the dough into 16 equal sized pieces.
9. Using the following steps shape each dough ball into a pretzel shape:
Roll the dough into a rope about 14″ long by holding each end and shaking in circular motion. Bend the dough into a U shape.
Cross one end of the rope over the other one. The ropes should cross about three inches from the tips.
Twist the crossed ends, making a full turn. Fold the ends back, towards the middle of the U.
Open the ends slightly to form a pretzel shape. Press the ends into the dough firmly.
If the pretzel shaping is too difficult, try pretzel nuggets by shaping small pieces into spheres or make twist sticks by twisting two ropes together. Use your imagination on this step!
10. Bring water into saucepan to a gentle boil (not too many bubbles)
11. Use slotted pancake turner to lower each pretzel into the saucepan. Count slowly to 30. Then lift the pretzel onto the greased and salted cookie sheet (shaking off excess water back into the saucepan). Repeat until all the pretzels are done.
12) Sprinkle some kosher salt on top of the pretzels and put them in preheated oven. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the pretzels are golden.
This recipe makes plain salted pretzels but you can get creative with other flavors. Try sprinkling them with cinnamon & sugar for a sweet treat or adding minced garlic to the dough and Parmesan cheese on top before baking. Dipping sauces are always a hit. Set up a “taste test” station with a variety of dips for even more fun.