Pretzel dogs and Spinach and Gouda Pretzels

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My pretzel-making career has only been semi-successful up until this point. I blame it on the yeast. The damn yeast. It’s hard to get your water at the precise temperature so that the yeast will activate and not die from the water being too hot (guilty!). I guess it isn’t really hard if you just use a thermometer….which I finally decided to use this time.

My yeast started foaming perfectly in the water and I did a little dance inside, but I didn’t want to celebrate just yet; my dough still had to rise.

After adding the rest of my required ingredients and setting my Kitchen Aid kneading hook a’rockin, I covered the dough and put it in the back of my gas oven to rise for an hour.

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And you know what? It did! My dough rose! I think I almost peed my pants I was so excited. This time, I really did a little dance.

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While the dough was rising (!!), I sauteed about 2 cups of spinach with garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil and cut thick (about 1/2 inch) slices of Gouda cheese that measure about 3 inches long. I also prepped the hot dogs by cutting 4 dogs in half so you have 8 mini dogs.

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When the dough was done, I cut it into 16 sections and began to hand roll them out into ropes, then wrap them around the hot dogs and Gouda/spinach combo. Wrapped up tight (for the most part).

IMG_3651I boiled water with baking soda to and dropped the dough in. This keeps everything together and it’s basically what separates the pretzels from regular ole’ boring dough. Then, I popped them in the oven for about 12 minutes. They were golden brown and fluffy.

IMG_3652Words of advice: Even though I sprayed the wax paper with olive oil, the dogs still stuck to it. My Silpat on the other hand, worked wonders. 🙂 Luckily, the ones that stuck were the meat ones, and the boy really didn’t care about a a lot tiny bit of paper stuck to the bottom.

IMG_3653We had these on Super Bowl Sunday, but with baseball season approaching, they would make a great treat! I used Joy’s recipe and for the meat-free pretzels, just swapped in the spinach and Gouda cheese.

What are your plans this weekend? We’re supposed to get blizzard-like conditions here on the East Coast, so I’m tempted to stay under the covers. Although, I do have plans for a sushi and movie date, a 5-mile run (might be spent at the gym), and exploring the Guggenheim Museum, so please Mother Nature, be nice. 🙂

Have an lovely weekend!

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