I just have to say that I am incredibly proud of these mini pretzel dogs. Aren’t they beautiful? They are little jewels of deliciousness that I have to admit are maybe one of my proudest achievements. I made them for our small Oscar gathering a couple of week ago, and one of my friends, mid-bite, declared them to be “like crack”. That is high praise, indeed. They weren’t even all that difficult to put together. The most time consuming part, honestly, was wrapping them up into their adorable little pretzels cocoons. Making the dough was simple, especially with the help of a stand mixer. You just need to knead everything until the dough is slightly tacky, let it rise for an hour or so, and that’s it – you’re ready to pretzel dog it up. I originally saw my inspiration for these babies on 2sisters2cities, who got their idea from Joy the Baker, so I knew immediately that I was in good hands. I have to give credit where credit is due – these two blogs really hit it out of the park. The key factor in pretzel making is a quick 30 second boil in a mixture of water and baking soda, which gives the pretzels their chewy, deep brown crust. That’s the difference between a bagel and a pretzel. Pretzels are boiled in baking soda (or lye, if you’re daring) and water, while bagels are boiled in a sugar solution. It’s a quick step that almost seems too small to even bother with, but trust me – you must do it. When you’ve made the dough, wrapped up the cheese-stuffed hot dogs, boiled them in a baking soda concoction, then popped them in the oven, you’ll probably have some leftover pretzel dough. This is the most fun part. I made some classic twisted pretzels, some tiny pretzel bites, and some long, twisted rope pretzels. You will probably come up with something more creative than I did, but Kramer and I really appreciated having something extra to snack on while we waited for guests to arrive. If you want to do these ahead of time, too, feel free – once they’ve baked through, let them cool and sit at room temperature on a baking sheet (I replaced the parchment paper so that they didn’t get soggy), then heat them back up for 10 minutes or so when your guests arrive.
Obviously these cheesy pretzels were the hit of the party, so go forth and make mini cheesy pretzel dogs – your friends will thank you, as will your own belly. I’ve kind of been on a bread baking roll, lately (haw haw haw). I made Irish Soda Bread (although that doesn’t have yeast so maybe it doesn’t really count), these pretzels (which do have yeast and a rising time, so I’m counting them), and I’ve got one or two more bread recipes to share with you in the coming weeks. I guess I know that hot summer temperatures are just around the corner, and baking bread in the middle of a New York summer is basically the worst thing any human being could do to themselves. I’ll have to try to squeeze in a few more bread experiments this weekend before I’m sweating it to the oldies on the subway with all of the other people who, during New York summers, collectively think, “Why in the hell do I even live here?” This weekend should be nice enough, though, so we’ll be out and about. Tonight, we have plans for drinks with a friend. I’m going to try to get her to join me for an oyster happy hour somewhere. I feel as though it’s been far too long since my last oyster expedition and what am I, an animal? Maybe after that we’ll check out Featherweight if it’s not too late/crowded. I love that place but it is tiny and becoming more popular, so if I can’t get a seat, I’m out.
On Saturday, we have plans to go and see my friend and co-worker who just had her baby a couple of weeks ago. I have honestly never held a baby. I hope she’s ready to see Sydney’s Struggle when she hands me her baby and I say “Uhhhhhh..” I wonder if Kramer has ever held a baby. I should probably ask. Anyway, since you can’t eat deli meat when you’re pregnant (what kind of punishment is that?), I’m going to bring over a couple of giant godfather sub sandwiches from Graham Avenue Meats, which I think is a fitting reward for having a child. After that, we’ve got another card night at our friend’s place. We’ll start with Cards Against Humanity, but I’m hoping I can get in a round of poker or two. My poker fingers are itching since I won a whopping $5 a few weeks ago. Now I am convinced that I am an excellent poker player – obviously I must be stopped and the best way to do that is to play against someone who I know is actually a good poker player. Or maybe I’ll have another streak of beginner’s luck. We’ll see. Have a lovely weekend, you crazy kids.