I tried two new recipes today, both from Food.com (formerly recipezaar).
The first was Pretzel Rolls. Wegmans makes the most delectable pretzel rolls ever. Of all time. Not being near a Weggies any more, of course, I determined that I must learn to make my own. If you want to try, you can find an easy to print version of the recipe here.
Surprisingly for a yeasted bread, the recipe starts by cutting butter into your flour. After that, you mix in the remaining ingredients and knead until you get a beautiful, smooth dough.
The dough rises for an hour, then gets patted out flat, cut into sections and rolled into balls. The recipe said eight sections, but that made pretty generously sized rolls. Next time I'll probably make ten instead. The balls of dough go into the fridge for at least two hours and up to twenty-four.
Carefully adding baking soda to boiling water, you are then ready to boil the rolls briefly in batches. Based on my finished product, I should have boiled mine a little longer because they didn't quite get that shiny, crisp top that the best pretzels have. So don't skimp on boiling time!
Then, your rolls go onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet and into the oven for half an hour. These are not really burned, it's just a bad picture. Lol. They're actually a perfectly golden brown color.
Results? The inside was yummy and a good texture, but a little additional boiling was needed to get the correct chewiness on top. So I'll be keeping the recipe and trying again!
In the breaks while my pretzel dough was rising and chilling, respectively, I decided to tackle Pierogies. This motivation came primarily from two factors. First, I already know how to make ravioli and theoretically pierogies should be little more than mashed potato filled ravioli and therefore an easy extension of an existing skill. Second, not having a microwave makes reheating leftover mashed potatoes a fairly messy and not particularly impressive endeavor. It makes much more sense to throw those leftovers inside pasta and stash it in the freezer for those nights when a quick, simple meal is most welcome.
The recipe I used can be found here, you're interested. Please note that the recipe as given does not include garlic salt and cheese, both of which I believe to be essential components of pierogie filling. So if you make your own, be sure to add generous amounts of each!
The dough involved 2 oz of cream cheese, which I thought was slightly odd, but it seemed to work out well in the end. Make sure you go a little dry when initially adding water to your dough, or you'll have to add plenty of extra flour later when you roll it out.
After your dough has rested, roll it out. You can absolutely do this by hand if you want. Or, if you have an amazing pasta machine that you like to play with as I do, you can use that instead. Either way, have extra flour on hand - you will probably need it.
Ideally, you want 5 inch circles of dough. The biggest of my beloved biscuit cutters was only about 3, so mine were on the small side. It worked out fine, so use whatever you've got and don't worry about it.
Feel free to add anything you want to your potatoes before wrapping them up in dough. I added Parmesan cheese and garlic, but the options are pretty much endless. If you're trying to sneak veggies into your kids, throw a little spinach in there - they'll never know!
Put a little of your potato mixture in the center of the circle, fold it over and seal the edges.
If they don't want to stick, dab a little water along the insides and after you've pressed them shut crimp the outside with the tines of a fork. Never fails.
At this point you can refrigerate or freeze the pierogies until you want them. To cook, drop them in boiling water, spiked with a little olive oil. The recipe says three minutes, but if you used whole wheat flour like I did give them an extra two.
And, since everyone knows that the whole point of eating pierogies is the butter, sauté some onions in an indecent amount of butter and throw a generous portion atop your hot pierogies. Add a pinch of salt (it is one of the primary food groups, after all) and you've got a fast, fantastic dinner!
I will definitely be keeping this recipe and endeavor to regularly keep a bag of these goodies in the freezer.