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.

16 comments:

  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.

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  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! :)

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  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 :)

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

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy

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

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

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

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

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  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

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

    Melanie
    www.bearrabbitbear.com

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

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  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.

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  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!

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  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

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  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:

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  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
    www.thrifty101.blogspot.com

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