…The pretzels, the ham, and the swiss!
Reformationstag is tomorrow! Our church had her annual Reformation Day celebration and dance last night. It was tons of fun! I was pretty bummed that Peter and I wouldn’t be able to host a grand Oktoberfest dinner this year as I’d been hoping to, so I decided that the next best thing would be to make these little treats to bring to the dance:
After much deliberation – and accepting that my German is far too limited for me to come up with some cute alliteration in German – I decided they should be called Wittenberg Piggies. They are delicious little beer brats wrapped in pretzel dough and served with a slew of different mustards on the side. Seriously, you’d have to be a Socinian to not enjoy these.
Ingredients for dough:
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
Ingredients for pretzel bath:
- 2 quarts water
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 2 packs Hillshire Farms Miller® High Life™ Beer Brats, each brat cut into about 5 pieces
- 1 egg white with 1 tbsp cool water, whisked together until frothy
- coarse salt
This is a bit of a time-consuming recipe, unless you have lots of little hands to help you out. I found it helpful to cut up the brats and brown them on a frying pan on medium-high heat the night before. Then I just stuck them in a container in the fridge. I did not find that the sausages being chilled affected how the dough rose when I prepared them.
The dough, of course, should be made the day you are going to enjoy the piggies: add all dough ingredients into the pan of a bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Program the bread machine for the dough cycle and press “start.” When the machine has completed the cycle, the dough should be smooth and elastic.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray them with cooking spray. Set aside.
Turn the risen dough onto a clean counter top. Do not flour the counter top, but keep a little floured area to the side, to dab the dough in. If you don’t use any flour at all, the dough will just stick to the counter rather than roll nicely. But if you flour the counter you’re rolling the dough on, the dough will get too dry and won’t roll nicely either.
Use a bench knife or spatula to cut off a small section of dough. Keep the unused portion of dough covered with a clean towel so it won’t dry out.
Begin to roll the small section of dough into a narrow snake (its diameter should be about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch). Beginning with one end of one brat piece, wrap the dough snake around the brat, snip off the end of the dough when finished, and place the brat seam-side down on one of the cookie sheets. Continue doing this until all the little brats are wrapped. Without worrying about perfection, try to wrap them as well as you can, because the dough can detach from the brats when put in the baking soda bath, if not wrapped well. When all brats are wrapped, let them rise uncovered for about a half hour.
While waiting for the dough to rise, preheat the oven to 400° and bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the baking soda to the boiling water. Carefully lower up to 8 piggies into the boiling water – don’t drop them from too high. Allow the piggies to simmer for about 45 seconds, by which time you will notice the dough puffing. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the piggies one at a time, give them a little shake to remove excess water, and place them back on the cookie sheets.
When all piggies have been bathed, arrange them on their cookie sheets so that the dough – rather than the brats – are facing upwards. Brush the tops of the piggies with the egg/water, and lightly sprinkle them with the coarse salt.
Bake the piggies for about 16 minutes each, or until the tops are a nice glossy golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a pretty platter. Serve with lots of mustard varieties on the side, and enjoy!
…as of 11:09pm last night! What’s with that?
It’s pretty hot in our part of the Ozark Plateau right now, and there aren’t very many changing leaves yet. But I’m still really exciting about making more soup, eating more squash, shifting my color pallet from blues to yellows and oranges, and some day – some day wearing my turtle necks and scarves.
All of the projects I’ve undertaken seem to be autumn-inspired. We recently got a brand-new printer on Craigslist and needed a little table to put it on. So we went yard-saling and Goodwilling, and the best we could do was this thing:
One leg wobbles a bit, the legs are that ugly forest green that seemed to be so popular in the mid-nineties, and it still cost me $10! I feel like I could have found this kinda thing easy for $2 in Maryland. But it was still much cheaper than a nicer looking (but still cheaply made) table from Wal Mart or somewhere like that. So I bought a can of black spray paint for $1 (I was gonna do gray, but was afraid it would look too much like blue) and two yards of a butternut squash-colored cotton fabric for around $2.50.
I’m much happier with it now. I was thinking of putting some yo-yos or something on it, but I think I prefer how simple this is.
And now for cookies:
My mom used to make these awesome pumpkin cookies (she called them Golden Nugget cookies), and I have to make them every Autumn. They’re really simple and really fluffy, so I can eat about half a batch of them before I feel like I’m gonna go into a coma.
Mom’s Pumpkin Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups mashed or canned pumpkin
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- 1 cup raisins (optional)
Cream together butter and brown sugar in a mixer or by hand in a large bowl. Add eggs, beat thoroughly. Mix in pumpkin.
In a separate medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir together. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. If using raisins, add to batter and stir until evenly distributed. Drop by the spoon-full onto a greased baking sheet and bake until bottom of cookie starts to crisp and brown – 15 to 20 minutes.