Tag Archives: Pretzel

Blizzards, cabin fever and pretzel sandwiches

20cm of snow! Apparently it isn’t a lot of snow at all, but for a couple of Southern Hemisphere natives, and recent arrivals to the cold North American winters, 20cm might as well have been 2 meters of snow (and yes, we are still using metric units of measure here. As they say, baby steps when you are adjusting to something new). Luckily, even though we may not be as prepared as most, our local town council experiences snow on an annual basis, and was more than well enough prepared for what the worst winter in Canada since 2009 had in store. Okay maybe this part isn’t true, but it is certainly the most snow we have ever experienced, especially considering our recent snow experiences.

On the plus side, the stores managed to stay well enough stocked to support a little bit of baking to alleviate the cabin fever from being cooped up inside, which truth be told wasn’t necessary but probably just came about from our fear of venturing outside in -28C weather. But Africa breeds them tough, and even with our sun shine quota at an all time low, the LiveInBaker was still able to whip up:

Oreo Pretzel Sandwiches

Makes 24 pretzel sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces (113g) white chocolate
  • 18 Oreo cookies
  • 4 ounces (113g) low fat or full fat cream cheese, softened
  • 48 waffle pretzels

In an ideal world, we would turn the Oreo cookies into fine crumbs with the help of a blender – but since we don’t have one of those nifty gadgets, we had to manually crush the cookies until we had fine crumbs. Now any normal person would have a rolling pin at their disposal to do so, but our modestly stocked kitchen doesn’t have one of these so we used a wine bottle. Crushing the cookies manually takes some time, so keep working at it until you have fine cookie crumbs.

Mix your Oreo crumbs with the softened cream cheese and pop it into the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.

Remove your cookie cream cheese mix from the fridge and roll into 24 little balls (about 1-2 teaspoons each). Sandwich each little Oreo ball between two waffle pretzels until you have 24 sandwiches. Pop them in the fridge for an hour to firm up.

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave and dip each pretzel sandwich into the chocolate. Allow chocolate to set and store your white chocolate covered Oreo pretzel sandwiches in the fridge.

The original inspiration behind this recipe can be found here

The photos:

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Tag-team driving and Chocolate Chip Pretzel Squares

There are a number of ways young South African’s have come up with over the years to try to get home safe and sound after night out and having had one too many, pushing them just a little bit over the legal driving limit.

And no, just cause the glass you drink out of is 500mls, doesn’t mean that you can still only drink one glass of beer and still be below the limit.

I’ve heard of everything, from the thumb method, where the avid party goer, once in the car, grabs hold of the steering wheel and points both thumbs upwards towards the roof. The idea is simple, if you’re pointing both thumbs up, you’re going straight. Anywhere else and you’re in trouble.

Then there’s the sneak method, wherein the driver chooses to use back roads to avoid and sneaky police roadblocks, and sneaks stealthily (as if a Toyota Tazz can do anything stealthily) across the busier intersections.

And then, when things go really bad, and you’ve been caught by the infamous sneaky road-block, many people turn to their trusted “Fisherman’s Friend” breath mints, in the hope of fooling the breathalyzer.

The best method, obviously, is to ensure that you don’t go over the legal alcohol limit if you’re going to be driving, and while most people seem to get this correct, there are times when other plans are needed.

Hence our invention, the tag-team drive home.

The concept is simple, a quiet discussion as to who would like to drive from which event. In our case, a Craft Beer Festival held in the early afternoon for me, and a house-warming party in the late evening for the LiveInBaker. These happened to be on the same day, so there was much coffee being consumed between the events, as well as one hectic power nap.

It’s an almost fool-proof system, except for the hangover which comes early if you’re going to be the late night driver. But I’m sure that it is a lot less painful than a weekend spent in the local “Chookie” (prison).

Oh yes, there are also more tangible rewards, it means that the LiveInBaker volunteers to bake some pretty amazing treats to ensure there’s enough energy for the drive home:

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Squares

Ingredients:

For the squares:

  • 500ml flour;
  • 5ml bicarbonate of soda;
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt;
  • 170g butter, softened
  • 185ml brown sugar;
  • 100ml white sugar;
  • 2 large eggs;
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 375ml coarsely chopped pretzels;
  • 3 slabs of Albany (Dark) chocolate; chopped into chunks.

Topping:

  • 2 slabs of Albany chocolate, broken up;
  • 125ml cream;
  • 24 whole pretzel pieces.
Chocolate Pretzel Squares

This is the size I thought we should leave the square

Preheat your oven to 180C.  With waxing paper, line a 20 x 25 cm metal baking pan.
Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl.  With a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients.  Stir in the chocolate chunks and chopped pretzels. Spoon dough into the baking dish.

Chocolate Pretzel Squares

The cutting begins

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden and just set. Once done, transfer the pan to a rack and let it cool completely.

While cooling, you can get started on the topping or ganache.

Place chocolate in a glass Pyrex dish.  Heat the cream on the stove top until scalding (or bubbles from around the edge). Pour the heated cream over the chocolate, and cover with a lid. Leave it as is for 5 minutes, before stirring until well melted and combined.  Let it stand for another 10 minutes to thicken.

Chocolate Pretzel Squares

Busy choosing my piece

Pour over the top of your giant pretzel square and use a pallet knife to even out the ganache. Press the pretzels, evenly spaced, into the ganache. Leave it to set completely.

Once set, remove from the pan, and cut into 24 even squares, so that there is a whole pretzel in the middle of each square.

Take one and eat it for yourself, and once done, serve to everyone else.

Chocolate Pretzel Squares

This recipe was inspired by The Ginger Snap Girl, her blog is awesome so go check it out.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

It’s Freedom Day, so feel free to indulge

Freedom Day 2012 saw South Africa having its 18th birthday since our first free and fair elections. So for the first time, the country is allowed to legally buy itself a beer (no more sneaking a few sips from its parents’ drinks), and finally can ditch that ridiculous learners licence and take the car out for a spin completely unsupervised (with much wheel spinning and racing other youths from traffic light to traffic light). It might even volunteer to be the designated driver now, just once in a while.

It’s also time for the country to start making some serious decisions, like what it’s really going to do with the rest of its life, and whether its going to make the big move to a university near the coast, or stick in land where things are a little faster and a little tougher. And if it’s going to buy those text books it needs, or if it’s rather going to save the money for something more important, like a crate of beer for the weekend?

The country might even think of entering into its first serious relationship, no longer messing around with silly child-like crushes.

It’s parents might sit it down, and explain that it’s about time that it finds a place of its own to stay, and to remind it that it is probably not okay to have breakfast for supper, even though that milk and cereal is just about the only meal it knows how to make without seriously stuffing it up.

The country, like most teenagers when they finally turn 18, probably thinks it’s really the man, but it won’t take long to find out its back at the bottom of the ladder, and that there are a lot bigger countries out there able and willing to put it in its place with a quick snot-klap.

But that’s all not its problem at the moment. Right now it really just needs to worry about how bad its first proper birthday hangover is going to be!

So to celebrate its birthday, and to celebrate the end of the countries high school year, we made:

Chocolate, Pretzel and Peanut Butter Squares

Ingredients:

  • 170g butter, at room temperature;
  • 250ml light brown sugar;
  • 125ml sugar;
  • 2 large eggs;
  • 2 tsp. vanilla;
  • 500ml cake flour;
  • 1 tsp. bicarbanate of soda;
  • ½ tsp. salt;
  • 100g milk chocolate (in slabs);
  • 170g of dark chocolate (in slabs);
  • 375ml mini pretzels, coarsely broken;
  • 60ml crunchy peanut butter;
  • 45g dark chocolate, either disks or a slab broken for melting.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray & cook, and line a square 23cm baking tin with wax paper.

Hot out of the oven.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, bicarbanate of soda and salt and stir until almost combined. Add the dark and milk chocolate (both roughly broken up) and 250ml of the pretzel pieces and stir until blended.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. In a small double boiler, melt the peanut butter and remaining dark chocolate, stirring until smooth. Sprinkle the bars with the remaining crushed pretzel pieces and drizzle with the peanut butter-chocolate mixture.

The LiveInBaker uses a big knife, mostly to keep me from sneaking bits.

Allow to cool until set, then cut into squares. Make sure it is properly set and cool, otherwise the cutting part can get a bit messy (but that is all part of the fun I guess).

If you are making these to share, ensure you keep a few for yourself, as you are definitely going to want as many as you can get your hands on.

If you are on some sort of diet, you are going to need to wait for your day off, as these are seriously decadent, and seriously delicious.

These two were left at home, for our midnight snack!

Happy Birthday South Africa! Here’s looking forward to you entering your twenties!

To see the recipe that inspired this, look here.

If you liked this, why don’t you follow on twitter:

or “like” our Facebook page.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A little peanut-butter motivation goes a long way!

I’ve discovered in life that there are 3 ways of motivating people.

1. Rewarding them;

2. Putting the fear of death into them;

3. Feeding them.

Now obviously only two of those options are realistic in todays modern society, I’m sure a lot of people are thinking back to the “good old” days where rewarding other people was the best way to obtain the desired outcome.

I had the need the other day, to inject some motivation into a group of people, and barring simply bringing a big stick (refer to method 2 above), I decided that the more politically correct method would be to shower them with delicious eats instead.

So it was back to the kitchen for the LIB, with a simple brief: a small snack, something that can be eaten with one hand, using pretzels, and something that we haven’t really seen before.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,