Recipe Swap: Pumpkin Biscuits

I can be kind of bossy.  Just ask my husband.

So when Mother Nature didn’t really cooperate with my request for fall weather, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I wore my skinny jeans and riding boots anyway.

I made my favorite acorn squash recipe.

I bought some gi-normous honey crisp apples.

Screw you Mother Nature, I’m making it fall anyway.

So when this round of the WC Recipe Swap gave me A Seasoned Greeting, I went straight for her pumpkin tag.

But, much to my dismay, there was only one pumpkin recipe!  Girl, we need to fix that!  What’s wrong with you?! (just kidding girl, luv ya.  But we need to work on this!)

Luckily, it looked like a killer pumpkin recipe.  I just kept coming back to it, unable to let it go for another recipe.  So I bought my first can of pumpkin for the season.  It was a beautiful moment, really.

So even though my weekend was nothing short of chaos, I made time for these beauties.  But as if it was meant to be, they came together in an instant – no mixer or food processor needed, took all of about 5 minutes to throw together and drop on the pan.  I had to wait for the oven to finish preheating!

So.  No excuses.  Find a reason to make these.

Recipe note – I did want them to be a little sweeter (yes, it’s a savory biscuit, but it needed to be a *little* sweeter), so next time I’ll double the honey in these.  The recipe below reflects this change.

Don’t forget to check out the links below to see the recipes that everyone else picked for the recipe swap!

One year ago: Tailgate favorites!! Game-Day Chili and Soft Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese Dip
Two years ago: Cranberry-Almond Granola Bars and Pasta with No-cook Tomato Sauce

Pumpkin Biscuits
adapted from Country Living, as seen on A Seasoned Greeting 

2 cups of AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1 stick of unsalted butter, cold and diced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
15 oz pumpkin puree
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400.  Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add butter and toss to combine.  Add pumpkin and honey and mix to combine.  Add milk and stir until dough forms.  Drop biscuits onto prepared baking sheet, bake 20-25 minutes.



What’s Baking? Baking with Yeast Roundup!

Like I mentioned on Thursday, I hosted this month of What’s Baking and tortured the gals by challenging them to overcome their fears of working with yeast.

And overcome they did!  Can I tell you about this amazing group of ladies?

This is what I love about the blogging community.  We’re across the country, yet I feel like I’ve known some of them for years.  They are kind, supportive, and the first in line when someone needs a laugh, a hug, or a stick if there’s a jerk making meanie comments on our blogs or stealing our blog content.  Which someone did to me.  And it took them all of like 5 seconds to hop on this other person’s blog and shake their proverbial fingers at her for stealing my content.  For a group of internet strangers, they are pretty amazing women. I can’t wait to meet some of them some day at a foodie conference.

Ok, enough sappy stuff.  Let’s talk about yeast.

We had a lot of yeast rookies for this challenge and rookies they are no longer!  Congrats ladies!  It seems that English Muffins seemed to be the trend, and I certainly don’t hate it!  I’ve been dying to make my own English Muffins. A few of the ladies didn’t have very good luck with their first yeast attempts.  This happens!  There’s a reason people are scared of yeast – its finicky!

To avoid your own yeast disasters, a little yeast 101:
1. don’t kill your yeast.  Bloom your yeast in WARM water, not hot.  It should be barely warm to the touch.
2. Let a stand mixer do the work of kneading if you can.
3. let it rise in a warm area.  If you keep your house freezing like I do, turn your stove burners on low and set the bowl in the middle.  You can also stick it in a barely still-warm oven.

Without further adieu, here are the ladies of What’s Baking!

In case your missed it, I made an insanely buttery Brioche Bread:

Yudith from Blissfully Delicious made a Caraway Rye Bread that just begs for some pastrami:

Jen from Beantown Baker introduced her sister to baking with yeast, with Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread:

Cara from The Boys Made Me Do It caved in to her boys’ request for homemade bread and made Soft Garlic Knots:

Heather at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks found a no-muss, no-fuss yeast recipe that would be great for beginners with her English Muffin Bread:

Nicole from Seven Ate Nine tried a Brioche recipe (just like I did!) and took advantage of her bread machine to do all the work:

Sandra from She Cooks and Bakes conquered one of the trickiest of yeast breads and made Sourdough Bread:

Melissa from I was Born to Cook is no longer a yeast rookie!  She conquered her fear with a different version of English Muffin Bread:

Ammie from Adventures in my Kitchen may have hated me at first for this month’s theme, but she loved how her English Muffins turned out:

Stephanie and her sister at Brownies and Blondies love carbs so much, they had two submissions – Challah and Pain Polka:

Jaida at Sweet Begainnings isn’t a yeast novice, but she pushed herself to do something challenging when she made Pretzel Hot Dog Buns:

Jessica at the Jey of Cooking found this Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread to be a piece of cake (bread?):

Carrie from Carrie’s Sweet Life found a super easy recipe that doesn’t require any kneading, I can’t wait to try her Batter Bread:

Catherine from Persuing Domestic Goddess-ness took a risk and made Homemade Pitas:

Thanks ladies for taking those fears head on!  You guys are fabulous!  Next month Ammie is challenging everyone to bake with Spring Produce, good luck!

One year ago: Mango Margaritas and Strawberry Lemonade
Two years ago: Taco Pasta Bake

Amazing Buttery Brioche

Guess who’s hosting What’s Baking this month?!

And guess who decided to torture the girls this month?

*insert evil laugh*

One of the biggest kitchen fears, for both novice and seasoned home cooks, is yeast.

I don’t know what it is about yeast, but it seems to scare the bejesus out of everyone.

Well, for the What’s Baking Gals, it was time to conquer those fears and see that yeast isn’t so scary.

I’ve been saying that for months.  I even have a tag for all of my favorite yeast breads.  Every time I post one, I tell y’all to be brave and take the plunge.

Raise your hand if you still haven’t.

Yep, that’s what I thought.  Well, enough of that.

Today, I post my next yeast recipe.

Monday?  I show you over a dozen amazing women who conquered their yeast fears and took the plunge into some insanely amazing breads, pretzels, english muffins, you name it!  These gals took this challenge seriously and really pushed themselves!  I can’t wait for you to see. And try for yourself.

Until then….

I leave you with a slice of the most buttery bread you could possibly imagine.

This bread has butter, butter, and more butter.

So much butter that I ate 2 slices.  Then decided that there was no way this bread could stay in my house.

So I wrapped up the whole loaf.

And wrapped up the loaf that had been sliced into and sent them to work with my husband.

I find out later that day that he shared the whole loaf.  It was devoured.  He hid the partial loaf at his desk.

So if any of his coworkers are reading this?  Check his drawers.  There’s more.

For the rest of you?  Make this bread.  Then make plans for it – like Monte Cristos or french toast or bread pudding.  Or have people over so they can help you eat it.  You can’t say I didn’t warn you.  I’m not responsible for any weight gain that results from eating an entire loaf by yourself.

One year ago: Buttermilk Chive Biscuits and Salted Caramel Blondies
Two years ago: Margarita Cupcakes and Authentic Red Beans and Rice

Brioche Loaves
courtesy of Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours

2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water (warm to the touch, not hot)
1/3 cup warm whole milk (warm to the touch, not hot)
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature

for the glaze:
1 large egg
1 tbsp water

*Note: recipe must chill overnight.

Put the yeast, water, and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using a wooden spoon, stir until yeast is dissolved.  Let sit a few minutes until bubbly and frothy. Ad the flour and salt, and fit the mixer with the dough hook.  Turn the mixer on and off in a few short pulses just to dampen the flour.  Gradually increase the speed to medium-low speed and mix for 1-2 minutes, until flour is just moistened. The dough will be dry and shaggy.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes, until dough forms a ball.  Reduce speed to low and add the butter in 2 tbsp-sized chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next.  You’ll have a dough that is very soft.  Increase speed to medium high and continue to beat until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl that’s been coated with cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40-60 minutes.

Deflate the dough by lifting up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap into the bowl.  Recover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.  Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours.  Leave covered dough in the fridge to chill overnight.

The next day, butter and flour 2 loaf pans.

Pull the dough from the fridge and divide into 2 equal pieces.  Divide each half into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long.  Arrange crosswise in the bottom of each pan.  Cover pans lightly with wax paper and leave loaves at room temperature until the dough fills the pans, 1-2 hours.

Center a rack in the over and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make the glaze, beat the egg with water.  Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze. Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30-35 minutes.  Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes.  Then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Cool for at least 1 hour.


Cranberry Orange Muffins

I love making muffins when we have house guests.

First off, people love baked goods.

And it’s a great way to ensure a good breakfast each morning without having to get up early and make it.

And this recipe makes a bajillion muffins.  So there’s plenty for the whole weekend.

But even if you don’t want a bajillion muffins, then you can easily cut the recipe back.

But I recommend baking all bajillion.  They keep well in an airtight container.  Breakfast for the whole week!

One year ago: Ramen Noodle Cole Slaw and Poppy Lime Fruit
Two years ago: No-booty Blueberry Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins
courtesy of The Pastry Queen Cookbook, as seen on Homemade by Holman
Yields 20 muffins

3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
raw sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 20 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, orange juice, sour cream, eggs, and butter, and whisk until well combined.

In another mixing bowl, add sugar and orange zest.  Use your fingers to rub orange zest into sugar.  Add in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.  Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.  Fold in cranberries.

Scoop into prepared pans, filling each cup about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle about 1 tsp of raw sugar on top of each cup of batter.  Bake 20-25 minutes, or until tops are just brown and tester comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.



Brown Butter Irish Soda Bread


This isn’t exactly the most traditional Irish soda bread.  The real classic stuff has currants in it, is a little sweeter, and still oh-so-delicious.

But when I saw this soda bread recipe, I knew I had to try it.  And since the March theme for What’s Baking is “baking for St. Patrick’s Day,” I knew I had a good excuse to make it.  🙂


Soda bread has a very different texture that traditional yeasted bread – it’s a little denser, a little chewier.  Goes fabulously with soups, stews, roasts, chili – good hearty food that you’re likely to find in Ireland.  Smeared with a little salted butter and I could almost close my eyes and pretend like I was back in the green country itself.

For the rest of the What’s Baking roundup, check out Blissfully Delicious at the end of the month!  and just wait for April – yours truly is going to make things particuarly challenging for everyone!!

One year ago: ice cream cone cake pops
Two years ago: my basic burger recipe and classic oven fries

Brown Butter Soda Bread
courtesy of Epicurious, as seen on The Curvy Carrot

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 3/4 buttermilk
1 egg white, beaten

Peaheat oven to 375, place rack in middle of oven.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Melt butt erin a small sauce pan over medium heat, ans swirl it around until it turns golden brown (2-3 minutes after melted).  Remove from heat.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, salt and black pepper in a large bowl, mix well with a whisk.  Pour in buttermilk and browned butter and stir until moistened.  Don’t over mix.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead gently until mixed together.  Divide dough in half, shape each into a ball and flatten slightly.  Brush tops with egg white and sprinkle addition black pepper and fresh rosemary on top.  Using a sharp knife, cut a deep X into the top of each round.

Bake until deep golden brown, about 45 minutes (or until tester comes out clean).  Cook on racks another 30 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temp.



Baked Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts

After months of seeing some of my favorite blogs inundated with doughnut recipes, I finally have a doughnut pan of my own!  I totally need a second one to make this process easier, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.


I woke up Sunday morning and decided it was time to christen the doughnut pan.

I have dozens of recipes saved.

But it was Sunday morning, and I was not going to the grocery store.

So I searched through everything I had saved until I found a recipe that involved only ingredients I already had.

Ta-Da!  First doughnut recipe.

And whoa, were they good.  Soft, chewy, sweet and just heavenly.  And relatively healthy according to Nicole over at Prevention RD!  That’s what I call a win-win.  And it gave me an excuse to eat another one.

One year ago: Everything pretzels
Two years ago: Mini chocolate lava cakes and Beef Tetrazzini (my favorite recipe!)

Baked Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts
as seen on Prevention RD, originally from And Her Little Dog Too

12 oz unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 425.  Spray doughnut pan(s) with cooking spray.

Combine applesauce, egg, oil, and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix well.  Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 tsp of cinnamon and mix well.  Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ones, careful not to over mix.  Stir in vanilla.

Place aprox 3 tbsp of batter in each doughnut mold.  Bake 7-8 minutes, or until they start to brown.

Remove from pan while still warm. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and remaining tsp of cinnamon.  While doughnuts are still warm, spray each top with cooking spray and dunk in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Yields 22 doughnuts (I overfilled my molds and only got 12).



Soft Dinner Rolls with Rosemary and Black Pepper

As if I didn’t have enough trouble thinking of something to make for last month’s What’s Baking Challenge, Jessica from The Jey of Cooking issued an even tougher challenge this month – Savory Treats.


I have to bake something that isn’t sweet?!  I struggled all month to think of something.   I want to challenge myself, that’s why I do these baking groups.  But wow, this one was tricky.  Especially this time of the year, everything that comes out of my oven is sweet – cookies, pies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes…..  I knew I could do something easy like a baked pasta, but I wanted to stick to the spirit of the challenge – a baked good that wasn’t sweet, not just something that’s literally been baked.

I came across these rolls the week before Thanksgiving and I knew I wanted to try them.  The whole fam LOVED these herbed dinner rolls last year, but these looked like a more traditional dinner roll, but still so flavorful.  I do love me some black pepper.  Then it dawned on me – wait, this totally meets criteria for a savory baked treat!  Score.  I love when two birds can be killed with one stone like that. Not that I’ve ever killed one bird with one stone, but you get the idea.

If you STILL haven’t tried working with yeast, do it.  These rolls are so worth it – soft and chewy, so perfect with any dinner.  And one small pan made a TON of rolls!  Bite the bullet, buy some yeast, and make these rolls.  Do it.  Oh, and be sure to check out what everyone else baked later this week over at The Jey of Cooking!

One year ago: Chicken with Roasted Pears and Wild Rice

and be sure to come back tomorrow, there may or may not be free stuff being given away around here….

Soft Dinner Rolls with Rosemary and Black Pepper
as seen on Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from the Pastry Queen

1 package dry active yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, or olive, I used olive)
1 large egg
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
3 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted butter

Add warm water to the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle yeast over the top.  Let sit 10 minutes, until the mixture of bubbly and frothy.

Add oil, egg, and sugar, black pepper, and rosemary to the bowl.  Add the flour and mix on medium-low speed with your dough hook until the dough holds together, about 2 minutes.  The dough should clean the sides of the bowl.  If not, add additional flour by the tbsp.

Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.

Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.  Add the salt and mix the dough on low speed for 1 minute.

Transfer the dough to a bowl that has been lightly greased with oil (I sprayed a mixing bowl with cooking spray).  Cover with the damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours.

Grease the bottoms and sides of a 9-inch baking pan.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough in half and pinch off 7-8 pieces of dough the size of a golf ball.  Repeat with other half of dough.

Roll into rounds and place in the pan about 1/2 inch apart (they should fill the pan after final rise).

If freezing, wrap the pan tightly in foil and place in the freezer.  Remove from freezer and let thaw on the counter – plan on 2 – 2 1/2 hours for thawing and rising.

Cover with a damp towel and let them rise another 20 minutes plus oven preheating time.  The rolls should expand to fill the entire pan.  If you can see more than a couple of spots on the bottom of the pan, let them rise a little longer.

Preheat oven to 350.

Brush the rolls with half of the melted butter and bake 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and brush with remaining butter.  Serve immediately or at room temperature.


What’s baking at your house this weekend?

What I’ve been up to….

Oh, my poor faithful PLFF readers.  I’ve kind of been neglecting you.  How about some eye candy to remind you of how much I love you?

You see, this is what I’ve been up to.

Countless hours spent in my commercial kitchen.

Baking up a storm and getting up at 6am to head to holiday craft shows to promote the new business.

And I can say I’ve achieved several things, aside from several business leads and catering jobs.

I’ve made over 6 dozen decorated sugar cookies.

Over 20 dozen gooey butter cookies.

A few more dozen chocolate chip and COW (Cranberry Oatmeal White Chocolate) cookies.

35 white chocolate covered Oreo snowmen

20 chocolate lollipops

30 loaves of Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread

over 75 Pumpkin Butterscotch Cupcakes (which we’re LOVING with cinnamon cream cheese frosting)

30 packages of chocolate bark

and over 150 packages of my homemade spice blends.

And even though it’s meant several 14+ hour days (still working my *real* job, you know), countless trips to the grocery store, aching feet, knees and ankles, I’m loving every minute of it.  Even though I’m more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, I’m also happier than I’ve ever been in my life.  What can I say, I love watching people love my food.

So loyal PLFF readers, I’m here to ask for forgiveness.  I haven’t forgotten about you.  In fact, once I catch up on blogging, you’ll be getting more treats than anyone.

And to sweeten the deal, I’m going to drop a huge teaser – next week is my blogiversary.  Ok, it was last week.  But I’m behind.  So we’re celebrating next week.  And there will be a seriously SWEET giveaway.

I promise, it will be worth the wait!

Classic Corn Bread

How do you eat your chili?  It seems like one of the best ways to tell where in the country someone is from is to ask “how do you eat your chili?”  Over spaghetti like the Cinci folks?  With tortilla chips or over tamales like southwesterners?  With beer bread like midwesterners?  With cornbread like southerners?  Over rice like some other random people?  It seems like the ways to eat chili are ENDLESS.

My family must have been our own little melting pot, because we ate chili in tons of different ways, I think depending on the mood my mom was in.  We’ve been known to eat chili smothered over tamales (a concept completely foreign to my husband until last winter).  We frequently ate chili over some spaghetti and topped with cheese, ala chili mac.  And with the discovery of our family’s newly favorite beer bread, now we frequently serve beer bread with our chili.

But when I recently decided that I was grabbing fall by the horns, my chili craving came with a craving for cornbread.  Now I never grew up eating cornbread.  At all.  But I’ve come to appreciate cornbread, especially with chili.  When we go camping, we straight up bake cornbread ON TOP of the chili in the dutch oven.  It’s crazy good.  But I had no idea how to make cornbread that wasn’t baked on top of chili.  So I went on the hunt for a good cornbread recipe.

I landed in my ever-faithful Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  If I ever can’t find a recipe for something, the BH&G cookbook always has it.  And I trust it.  And this cornbread didn’t disappoint.  Although I tend to like my cornbread a *little* sweeter than this recipe resulted.   Next time I think I’ll increase the sugar.  I’ve reflected those changes below.

So however you eat your chili, give this cornbread a whirl.  Those southerners might be on to something. 🙂

Classic Corn Bread
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook: Celebrating the Promise

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  IN a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Add the 1 tbsp of butter to a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9-inch square or round baking dish.  Place in oven about 3 minutes or until butter melts.  Remove skillet/pan from oven, swirl to coat bottom and sides of pan.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oil.  Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened.  Pour into hot skillet/pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cut into wedges.  Serve warm.


Soft Pretzel Bites and Beer Cheese Dip

Football season is upon us!  The Big 12 (10? 9?  How many of us are there left?) starts conference play this weekend, and that means a pretty heavy game against Oklahoma (and IN Norman!) for poor Mizzou.  The season hasn’t exactly started like most of us would have hoped, but we’re still optimistic nonetheless.  Ok, maybe not this weekend.  This weekend I’m just kind of hoping we don’t *completely* choke.  I’ll consider anything other than a swift azz-whooping to be a victory.

Anywho, I participated in a tailgate-themed recipes swap with several other bloggers, and was pretty excited about this pretzels and cheese recipe.  I mean really, who goes to a stadium of any kind and doesn’t get a big giant pretzel with cheese?  I do have to say that this is much more of a tailgate-at-home kind of recipe, it’s not very friendly to take with you to the stadium.  But honestly, being 800+ miles away from my Tigers, most of our tailgating is done at home anyway.  And these little beauties were so worth the effort – soft and pillowy, yet still chewy like we want pretzels to be, salty, and the cheese was just perfect.  I wasn’t sure about the horseradish in it (we aren’t huge horseradish fans), but it adds the perfect bite to the cheese sauce.  I halved the recipe, and it made plenty for 2-3 people, especially if you have other snacks.  I listed the full recipe below, but only use the full recipe if you’re feeding a crowd!

Want to see some of my other favorite tailgating and Superbowl foods?  Check out my Perfect for Tailgating tag! You’ll find my favorite chili lime wings, black bean salsa, caramelized onion dip, buffalo chicken pizza and more!

And while my hopes aren’t too high for my poor Tigers this Saturday, I guess I have to remember that things could be worse.  I could have to walk through life as a kansas fan.  *shudder*  Oh, and the non-capitalization of kansas is intentional.  Because kansas is neither a proper place or a proper noun.  GO TIGERS!!!!

One year ago: Quick and Easy Sorta Stroganoff

Soft Pretzel Bites and Beer Cheese Dip
as seen on Jenna’s Cooking Journey, originally from and Sunny Side up in San Diego

for the pretzels:
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)
4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp white sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1.2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water

For the cheese dip:
6 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup good quality beer
1 tbsp horseradish
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese

for the pretzels:
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp white sugar in warm water.  Set aside until mixture becomes foamy and bubbly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, combine flour sugars, and salt and mix on low speed until combined.  Add yeast mixture and butter to the bowl.  Knead dough on medium low for 8 minutes or until dough is smooth.  If dough is too dry, add water 1 tbsp at a time until moistened.

Spray a medium mixing bowl with cooking spray.  Remove dough from mixer and shape into a ball.  Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with kitchen towel.  Set in warm place to rise for 1 hour.  (Your house chilly?  Set the bowl on the back of your stove and turn the front burners on low.)

Towards the end of rising, preheat oven to 450.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of hot water (not boiling, just hot) and baking soda.

Punch down the dough and knead with hands for one minute.  Tear off handful of dough and roll into a snake.  Cut into even 1 inch pieces.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Dip pieces in baking soda water and place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt.

Bake 7-8 minutes, or until browned.

For the cheese sauce:
In a microwave safe bowl, microwave cream cheese for 30-45 seconds or until very soft.  Add beer, horseradish, and garlic powder.  Microwave again for 30-45 seconds.  Add cheese, stirring until smooth, microwaving again if necessary.