Soft Pretzels

Snacks are my weakness. Soft pretzels are one of my favorite snacks. And when I make them from scratch it’s way more delicious and satisfying.

The most important step to this recipe is the boiling in the baking soda water. This step is20190203_135929 what makes a soft pretzel, well, a soft pretzel. I could pretend I understand the science behind it, but I’ll just assure you that it’s the most important step.

Making pretzels does take a little extra time since you have to let the dough rise, boil the dough, then bake it. It’s so worth the time!

To make this dough, and many others, I end up using a lot of yeast. If you bake a lot, or plan to make these pretzels every week like you probably should, it’s much more cost effective to buy the glass jar of yeast and store in the freezer to keep. For measurement’s sake, 2 1/4 teaspoon is equal to one package of yeast. Yeast can be tricky, so make sure your water is warm enough to dissolve the sugar, but not too hot that it kills the yeast.

Another key to this recipe is the maple syrup and water mixed together. This mixture is the replacement for the usual egg wash. It will help make the pretzel golden brown and give them that traditional pretzel look.

You can also make pretzel nuggets instead of twisting each piece into a pretzel shape. Once you create the logs, you can just slice into small pieces and then continue to follow the recipe as written. I love to serve my pretzels with a mixture of spicy brown mustard and agave nectar or maple syrup. Basically, the vegan honey mustard! 

Soft Pretzels, makes 10 

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup & 1 tbsp water mixed in a small bowl
  • pretzel salt

You’ll also need a large pot filled with water and 2/3 cup baking soda.

  1. Combine the warm water, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, then add yeast. Allow 5 minutes to get foamy. Add the flour and vegan butter, and using the dough hook attachment, mix on a low speed until well combined. Turn it up to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, and clean out the bowl and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel, and sit in a warm place to rise for about an hour. The dough should double in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring the large pot of water, about 10 cups, to boil and then add the baking soda.20190203_135553
  3. Cut the risen dough into 10 equal pieces. Each piece will be stretched out into a long log, about 15 inches long. Lay the log on a flat surface, and make a U shape with the log, holding the two ends. Pull them up, twisting them once, then press onto the bottom of the U to make the shape of a pretzel. Place them on the parchment lined sheet pan.
  4. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds each side. Remove them from the water and return to the sheet pan. Brush the top of each pretzel with the maple syrup and water mixture and then sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown, about 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack once finished. Optional, but totally worth it, you can also brush with melted butter after baked.

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Spinach Dip

Parties are my favorite excuse to get in the kitchen. Sometimes, I invite people over just because I want to try out a new recipe or to have the excuse to buy some fancy vegan cheese. My house is kind of place where people come hungry because they know I’m making something- even if I say it’s a low-key simple event. I’ll always at least make a dip.

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This dip recipe is easy and (aside from the soaking of the cashews) comes together in minutes. Cashews are a great vegan alternative to creamy and cheesy ingredients. I have found about a million uses for cashews over the last year, and they are perfect in this dip.

I also love to make my own tortilla chips for a homemade dip like this; it really adds the final touch to a great appetizer. Of course, you can buy chips, but when it’s seriously this easy to make them, it’s worth the extra minute. Chop up some corn tortillas into triangles, toss in a little oil and your favorite seasonings, then bake in a 375ºF oven for about 12 minutes, flipping once. Done. Wasn’t that easy?! 

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I made this dip on Superbowl Sunday to enjoy while we didn’t watch the game. Ha! We pigged out on game day snacks while catching up on our Netflix and Hulu shows. While I love to eat this dip fresh, the best idea I had was to use the leftovers as a base to a homemade pizza the next day. SO GOOD. I recommend showing slight self control and saving some, or just make a double batch.

 

 

 

Spinach Dip

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight (alternatively, you can boil the cashews for 15 minutes)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • juice of half of a large lemon
  • 2 bunches of fresh spinach, about 6 cups, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayo
  • salt and pepper
  • vegan parmesan, optional
  1. Put first 5 ingredients into a high powdered blender. Blitz together until smooth, this may take a couple minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Wilt spinach in a large pot or deep pan over medium heat for two minutes. Add mayo and cashew mixture to spinach. Stir and keep over heat until bubbly and hot, about 6 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, or more lemon juice if needed.
  3. Top with vegan parm if desired. You can stop here and it’s ready to eat! Or, you can put everything into an oven safe dish and bake at 375ºF for 12-15 minutes to brown the top. Serve with homemade tortilla chips (quick recipe above), pretzels, or carrots.

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