It’s pub night! Well, pub night at home which can be just as fun as heading down to your local watering hole.
Conjuring up that feeling with a little adult time after the little one heads to bed is a way in which parents can reconnect on a personal level without the price tag of a babysitter. It is hard enough these days to find a night just for two let alone the babysitting gods aligning to find one available that same time.
As both myself and my Hubby did not grown up in the city we live in, it is sometimes hard to find the reliable teen willing to bring some much needed change of scenery from the routine of daily life.
I must also say that the price of such services has gone up immensely since I was the one bringing my craft and activity kit over to some kids hungry for attention from anyone new. I would have been blown away if I made as much as kids do today.
Some of the nights I have thrown together for my Hubby when all is quiet in the house include fondue, antipasto platter and your basic pub fair to nibble on. Forgoing the formal dinner for a time of togetherness and taking a moment to talk without interruption is priceless.
The latest night included some ale in fancy glasses. These glasses horrify my Hubby as they are paper thin and he thinks he will break them (I secretly try to bring them out just to see the reaction on his face every time). It has been a long while since he has actually broken one and it wasn’t even mine. My sister eventually got over it I think. I seem to think they need to appear periodically just to throw in a small joke and a jab to liven things up a bit. Friday Night!
This go round I decided to make some pretzel rings, partly because I have a bread fetish and I would choose that over even cake! Bread is my kryptonite and I am not afraid to say it. You can give me a fresh crusty loaf and I will be your friend forever, or at least until the loaf is gone. The symbolism of breaking bread together has latest this long for a reason.
Plain pretzels are good, but ones packed full of whole grain mustard, smoked paprika and topped with fresh herbs and Parmesan are a hell of a lot better. So that is just what I made and I must really say that I would eat them everyday if I could.
Dipped in a roasted bell pepper ailoi courtesy of items in jars already in my fridge, it was like the stars aligned for a night of cheers, pretzels and conversation not including ‘Put that down’, ‘Don’t touch that’ and ‘If I have to tell you again’. AKA: mini-date night at home.
So prep some dough in the afternoon and, as the little ones drift off to sleep, slide some pretzels in the oven just in time for that moment you can put your feet up.
Pub Style Soft Pretzel Rings
Bring the best of pub style food home with these soft pretzel rings.
- 4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 bottle amber ale
- 5 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, smashed
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- In a small saucepan warm the bottle of amber ale. In a small bowl combine the yeast, 1 tsp of sugar and 1 1/4 cup of warmed ale. Let stand for about 10 minutes until creamy.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, 1/2 sugar. salt and smoked paprika. Make a well in the middle and add in the whole grain Dijon mustard, roasted garlic, vegetable oil and yeast/ale mixture. Mix until combined and form the dough into a ball. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes until smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled a medium sized bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until double in size.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl dissolve the baking soda with the hot water and set aside. On a lightly floured surface place the risen dough an cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope light section about 1 1/2 feet long. Match up the loose ends together to have the rope parts side by side. Twist the halved rope together and connect the loose ends to form a ring. Repeat for the remaining pieces of dough.
- Once all the pretzel rings have been formed, dip them in the soda water solution and place them on the prepared baking sheets. In a small bowl combine the fresh thyme, grated Parmesan and black pepper, then sprinkle on top of the pretzel rings.
- Bake until browned for approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.