Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels are one of the best snacks to have around for football season, as they pair well with beer and are more substantial than many other game-day snacks. Plus, they are naturally dairy-free, pair great with beyond brats, and can be easily customized with seasonings and toppings (“everything” bagel seasoning, shredded cheese, caraway seeds, etc.). These are surprisingly easy to make and take considerably less time than many other yeasted doughs.

Soft Pretzels

Yields 8 pretzels

Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (about 30 minutes active, 1 hour inactive)

Ingredients:

1/2 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

2 1/2 cups AP flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can sub this with bread flour or AP flour)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 Tablespoon salt

1.5 Tablespoons baking soda

4 cups water

2 Tablespoons butter or vegan butter, melted (for brushing tops of pretzels)

coarse sea salt, for tops of pretzels

Directions:

Combine sugar, warm water, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let sit until bubbling.

Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine, then knead well until smooth and elastic (by hand this will take 10 minutes, by mixer on medium speed around 7-8 minutes).

Place in bowl and cover. Let rise until puffy, about an hour.

Once risen, divide dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a pretzel.

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Prepare water bath by heating the 4 cups water and baking soda in a large pot (preferably a wide and shallow pot, such as a Dutch oven). Once the water is lightly boiling, drop pretzels in 2-3 at a time. The pretzels should stay in water bath for about 1 minute (30 seconds each side).

Remove pretzels from water bath and place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until desired depth of color.

Enjoy! These go well with mustard (of course), cheese sauce, and herbed butter. Pair with beyond brats and braised cabbage for a hearty German meal.

Pumpkin Bread

I know we are bombarded with an abundance of “pumpkin spice” this time of year, yet many pumpkin treats seem to neglect the star ingredient! My absolute favorite way to enjoy pumpkin is via pumpkin bread and this recipe contains a healthy portion of pumpkin to ensure maximum pumpkin flavor 🙂

I also add some maple syrup to help bring out the flavor of the spices and pumpkin. Oh! And it’s vegan, so it is a great option to bring to Thanksgiving or other potlucks for a vegan option. The icing is optional, but makes it more decadent (although I may actually prefer it without as a hearty snack cake with some tea).

Pumpkin Bread

2 cups A.P. Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 pinches cloves

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup almond milk

1 can pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger (for when you want some extra spice and zing)

Icing

Almond milk (a few Tablespoons, depending on preferred viscosity)

Confectioner’s sugar (1/2 – 3/4 cup)

Vanilla extract (about 1 teaspoon)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350º F.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together sugar, maple syrup, canola oil, almond milk, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 parts, whisking to combine. Use a spatula to scrape sides of bowl between additions.

Spray loaf pan (lining with parchment should also work). Fill with batter, smooth, and bake for about 55 minutes. You can test using a toothpick or cake tester and if it comes out clean, it’s done!

Hopefully you enjoy!

To see exactly how to make it, I’ve included a video:

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Since apple season is in full force, I decided to make my cinnamon roll recipe with an apple butter filling (to fully embrace autumnal vibes).

It turned out even better than anticipated (I immediately consumed two rolls), so I thought I’d share.

I used the same base recipe for cinnamon rolls found here but used a different filling.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Filling:

1/2 cup apple butter (the kind without added sweeteners or sugar)

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

I made the dough as usual, but spread this instead of the usual filling and it turned out well! These do seem to be a bit more gentle than typical cinnamon rolls when placing them into the dish for their proof, so treat them gently.

If you want to see the process of how to make these Apple Cinnamon Rolls, watch the video to see the steps in action.

Cinnamon Rolls

These cinnamon rolls are easy, delicious, and vegan. The nutmeg in the dough can easily be replaced with cardamom for a more Scandinavian flavor, as well. They can be iced or plain and are delicious either way.

Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: around 10 rolls

Prep Time: around 2 hours

Bake Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup AP flour

1/8 cup granulated sugar

Pinch salt

1 teaspoons grated nutmeg

1.75 ounces vegan butter

3/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon yeast

For the Filling:

1.75 ounces vegan butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Wash:

1/4 cup almond milk

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In medium saucepan heat butter and milk on medium heat, until butter is melted and mixture is warm to the touch. Remove from heat.

In small bowl, combine yeast and a few Tablespoons of the milk mixture. Stir and let sit until bubbling.

Once yeast is activated and bubbling, add to the flour mixture. Then add the remaining milk mixture and stir to combine.

Once it is too difficult to use the spoon or spatula, switch to using your hands to bring the dough together.

Turn out onto a clean surface and knead until smooth. You can test the dough by slicing with a sharp knife and, if it is full of air bubbles, it is ready and you can stop kneading.

Place the dough into a large bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for one hour.

Towards the end of the rise time, begin making the filling by creaming together the butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

Once dough has risen, roll out into 11″ by 17″ rectangle. Spread filling evenly over rectangle.

Using the long end, begin rolling the dough to form a log.

Slice into equal pieces using a sharp knife or plain floss. Depending on how the dough roll is and the size of the pieces, this will yield 10-12 buns. Place the buns into a parchment-lined baking dish.

Cover with a clean towel and let rise again, for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 425º F. Brush rolls with wash mixture (almond milk and maple syrup).

Bake rolls at 425º F for about 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden all over the outside.

These rolls are super simple to make and taste so, so good. They are great for holiday brunches and cinnamon rolls are just the best.

*Optional Icing: whisk confectioner’s sugar, almond milk, and vanilla until desired consistency. Top cinnamon rolls for even more sugary goodness!

Lemon-Garlic Rice with Cannellini Beans

This is a really simple dinner that is great for Spring. The broccoli can easily be substituted with asparagus, as that also goes really well with the bright lemon and garlic flavor.

If I have them on hand, I may also throw a few diced tomatoes in the pot with the rice to deepen the flavor. Additionally, you can really use any herbs you like. I tend to just throw in my Tuscan seasoning because I always have it on hand, however fresh thyme or even rosemary would be a welcome addition.

Lemon-Garlic Rice with Cannellini Beans

Serves: 2

Time: about 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup long-grain brown rice (if using short-grain, cook time will be shorter)

1 cup water

Zest of 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon (save the other half and serve the wedges as garnish)

1 teaspoon Tuscan seasoning (I use Penzey’s)

Large pinch salt

2 cups broccoli, chopped (asparagus also works)

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 onion, diced

Directions:

Place rice, water, lemon zest, garlic, lemon juice, and Tuscan seasoning (as well as any additional herbs) in a medium or large saucepan with lid. Bring to a boil, then once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes with lid on.

While the rice begins to cook, prepare the broccoli by chopping it. Dice the 1/2 onion.

In a small saucepan or sauté pan, cook the onions on high heat until caramelized. To help achieve this, I use water to help the onions not stick (this also helps to sort of deglaze the pan).

Once the rice has been simmering for 15 minutes, add the broccoli along with a splash of extra water and a large pinch of salt. Return the lid and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked and broccoli is tender.

During this time, drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Add to cooked rice and broccoli until the beans are warmed through.

Serve with caramelized onions and lemon wedges. I also have extra salt on the table for my husband, as well. Fresh parsley or thyme would -also be excellent garnishes!

I find this is definitely a simple and healthy meal that is also an easy way to throw in spring vegetables. You can add more veggies and herbs, so it can be pretty different, but the base is nice and fresh. Can’t really go wrong with rice and beans!

Hot Cross Buns (vegan)

I don’t celebrate Easter much, but I do enjoy a little something to welcome in Spring. A weekend morning with some hot cross buns is a great way to do that, in my opinion. These are quite simple to make and don’t take nearly as much time as one would expect from an enriched, yeasted dough.

The dried fruit can be whatever you like (I use half raisins and half chopped apricots, but currants are more traditional).

Hot Cross Buns (makes a dozen servings)

Prep Time: 1 1/2-2 hours

Bake Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup lukewarm water

3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (lukewarm or room temperature)

1/3 cup canola oil (plus a splash extra to coat the bowl)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons orange zest (about the zest of one large orange)

1/4 cup sugar

3 3/4 cups AP Flour

3/4 cup dried fruit of choice

Wash:

2 tablespoons almond milk

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Icing:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons almond milk

Directions:

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and lukewarm water. Let sit for a few minutes until bubbling.

While the yeast is activating, in a separate bowl stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, sugar, and dried fruit.

Once the yeast is quite bubbly and active, add the flour/spice mixture, almond milk, and canola oil. Stir until just combined with a spatula. Begin to “knead” the dough by using the dough hook of the stand mixer on low or medium-low speed.

After about 4-5 minutes, it should be thoroughly combined and somewhat elastic. Use a splash of canola oil to coat the sides of the mixing bowl. Turn the coat to allow the dough to become coated.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Once risen, punch down the dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide evenly into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round bun, then place into parchment- lined baking dish (10″ x 14″ or 11″ x 13″ both work well).

Cover again with dish towel and let rise for around 30 minutes (dough should mostly spring back when touched). While dough is rising, preheat oven to 375º F.

Make dough wash by mixing together almond milk and maple syrup. Brush onto rolls.

Bake buns for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown. This could vary considerably depending on the oven used, so I would recommend checking earlier to ensure they are baking well. The buns will touch while rising and baking, but that is completely normal.

Once the buns are golden-brown and cooked through, remove from oven. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and place on cooling rack, counter, or large cutting board to continue cooling.

Whisk together almond milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla to make icing.

Once the buns are cooled, top with icing using a piping bag or drizzling with a spoon.

Enjoy! These store well in a covered container for 1-2 days, though they will begin to dry out after that. They are best served the same day or the next day.

Udon Noodles with Miso

This is such an easy and quick dinner. I often make this when my husband is working late and I’m eating solo because it is a really easy dinner to make for one. It is also really simple for more people as well, but this recipe is for just one serving!

Because udon noodles cook in just a few minutes, it is ready really quickly.

Udon Noodles with Miso

Prep & Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

85 grams Inaniwa-style Udon noodles (other types are good, but I like the texture and quick cooking time of Inaniwa Udon)

Large handful red cabbage, shredded

1 carrot, peeled into long strips (I just use my peeler on the entire carrot to get lots of thin strips)

1/3 cup shelled edamame (I use frozen and heat it in the microwave or on stovetop)

1 Tablespoon Miso paste

1-2 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Dash sesame oil

Sprinkle of red chili flakes

Green onion, finely chopped

Directions:

Fill medium or large, lidded saucepan with water and bring to a boil.

While the water is heating, prepare the veggies by shredding the carrots and cabbage. Heat/steam the edamame and set aside.

Mix together the miso paste, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, chili flakes, and 1 Tablespoon of the water. If it is still too thick, add another Tablespoon of water.

Place the sauce in a small saucepan on medium-high heat until it begins to boil, then reduce to a simmer.

By now the water should be boiling and you can cook your noodles. With Inaniwa Udon this should only take around 3 minutes, but check your package instructions to be sure. Toss the cabbage and carrots in with the noodles for the last 1-2 minutes of cooking to soften them.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain, then toss with sauce.

Serve topped with green onions.

Hopefully this recipe makes sense. It’s hard to describe the cooking of the veggies, so feel free to ask if any questions arise!