Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Out Of My Comfort Zone: Soft Pretzels With Kids

Last year I started a series of posts called Out Of My Comfort Zone where I attempted to bake and cook with my kids. First we made Sugar Cookies and I confessed my extreme discomfort in cooking with children. In that post I also shared some tips for making kitchen memories a little less stressful. Then we tried Pop Tarts and Pizza, both fairly successful adventures. While I did invite the kids into the kitchen more than those three times last year, the amount of work involved meant that I rarely got out the camera to document the process.

I continue to wish I was one of those moms that didn't care about mess on the counters and fingers in the flour and kids licking the butter, but alas... I care. And it stresses me out. One thing that's helped a lot is that my kids are getting older and they're doing a much better job of following directions. I still do some prep work before I invite them into the kitchen; I measure out ingredients and get the large containers out of the way... less chance that they'll be eating brown sugar by the handful when I turn my back.

On our trip to Busch Garden's Christmas Town we ate the most wonderful fresh baked soft pretzels. Not the fresh-from-frozen variety but hand-rolled-and-pulled-out-of-the-oven-right-before-your-eyes pretzels. I've been craving them since we got home so one day during break Hannah and I got busy in the kitchen. I used Alton Brown's soft pretzel recipe and was really impressed at how easy it all was.

I made the dough before calling her over. Then I pulled out hunks of dough which she rolled and tried to shape.

Her attempts, after being shown how to twist a pretzel shape, were impressive.

Then she carefully arranged them onto cookie sheets.

I boiled a pan of water and added baking soda. I've never made a boil-the-dough-first recipe before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was super easy and in 30 seconds our pretzels had puffed up and were floating in the boiling water.

I drained them off and set them back on Hannah's counter where she painted an egg wash onto each pretzel. I sprinkled on the salt (since it is her FAVORITE and I can't keep her from sneaking it, sprinkling it into her hand or licking the top of the salt shaker*).

9 minutes in the oven and we had these awesome homemade soft pretzels! Hannah's first reaction was, "Mom! They turned BROWN!! Just like REAL pretzels!!"

I wish I had some pictures of the kids eating the pretzels but they sucked them down so fast I couldn't get a shot. Once again, Alton Brown comes through with a recipe. Thanks!

*Do not be alarmed. I sanitize my salt and pepper shakers on a regular basis because of Hannah. It is safe to eat and flavor your food at my house.


  1. These look yummy! I too have a little bit of a hard time letting go of my tendency to control and want things tidy and letting my kids into my kitchen. They're only almost 3 and 16 months, but I still wish I was better about letting them help me cook!! I need to do this more for sure.

  2. Those look incredibly yummy! Glad that you are keeping at trying with them in the kitchen. It's some of the best time we have with Abby! :)

  3. Oh my, Hannah looks so grown up in these photos! Love that you are persevering despite the challenge you feel at cooking together. That is a one special mama in my book :)

  4. I *Need* to have a GO!!!!!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  5. These look delicious and she did a great job forming them. Visiting from Red Ted Art. Vicky from Mess For Less

  6. Looks so delicious. Found you via Sugar & Spice linky party.Would like to invite you to join with Midweek Fiesta

  7. So fun! What a great way to spend an afternoon! We are featuring this at Sassy Babies. Feel free to stop by! Thanks!

  8. so fun, it is hard to let them do things them selves. But they Love it.

  9. These look great! Sounds like a good time in the kitchen. :)

    I'd love for you to link up and share: http://tutusandteaparties.blogspot.com/2011/12/pinteresting-link-party-week-twenty.html

  10. Super impressed!! These look great. Thanks for linking to Things I've Done Thursday!


  11. What a great idea! I think I will be doing this in the future. New follower!

  12. I make Smitten Kitchen's soft pretzel recipe (and have done it with the older kid!) and they're SO good. So good in fact that I can't make them unless I have a good excuse.

  13. You know... pretzels are one things I have never tried to make.... I may have to now. Those look yummy! I totally have a hard time letting anyone in my kitchen. I am tooooo OCD in that department!

  14. Aw, that is so cute. She did such a great job on those!! My daughter loves to cook with me. And she absolutely loves big soft pretzels. I'll have to add this to our weekend cooking list.
    Anyway, I'm a new follower from It's A Keeper. Nice to meet you!

    ~Christina @ theblogentourage.com

  15. Just came by your website from a blog called Somewhat Simple through a post called SYS Blog Link Party with Plum Paper. Am glad I came. I am following you now on Twitter, too, and can't wait to make these soft pretzels with my son. {o:

  16. Thanks for linking up at DIY Thrifty Thursday.....You've been featured! Stop by and grab an "I was featured button"! Hope to see you again this week!
    Michelle @Thrifty 101


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