I never pull pranks anymore on April 1st. I now sit on the sofa with the TV remote superglued to my hand, dutifully rising for the National Anthem and cheering loudly for the ceremonial first pitch.
That’s right, it’s baseball season folks! Time for grilling, tailgating, and stadium food.
Even though it breaks an American tradition, I just can’t bring myself to order hot dogs at the ballpark. Dad and I used to down them like nobody’s business, but after glancing once at the nutrition facts for those puppies, I moved on to other not-so-greasy fare.
I then started my own tradition of ordering soft-serve ice cream in a souvenir helmet cup, and the miniature headgear for 11 different teams currently stands on my MLB shelf. But for those select few stadiums that refuse to sell ice cream helmets, I resort to another fail-proof favorite: soft salty pretzels!
modified from this recipe
These pretzels are slightly sweeter than the ballpark variety, but the coarse salt balances it out. They’re really addicting, so I highly suggest making a double batch!
2 tsp yeast
½ tsp granulated sugar
½ c + 2 tbsp warm water (about 100-110°)
1½ - 2½ c all-purpose flour
¾ tsp fine salt
¼ c granulated sugar
1 tsp vegetable oil
3 c water
4 tbsp baking soda
2-3 tbsp coarse sea salt
- To prepare the pretzel dough, stir together the yeast, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy. In a large bowl, whisk together 1½ cups of flour, salt, and remaining sugar. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture and oil. Stir until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead for 4-6 minutes or until the dough springs back when a finger is pressed into it. Shape the dough into a ball.
- Coat a clean, dry bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and roll the dough ball around until coated with the cooking spray. Lay a towel over the top, and place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 400°, and generously coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 10 balls. Roll out each dough ball on the countertop with your hands until it’s about 1½ - 2 feet in length. Twist into a pretzel shape.
- To prepare the pretzel topping, microwave the water for 3 minutes on HIGH. Add the baking soda to a shallow bowl, and pour the hot water on top. Dip each pretzel in the water bath, and place on the prepared sheet. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. Bake at 400° for 9-11 minutes or until light brown. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. (Or eat them while they’re still warm!)
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