Saturday, 8 June 2013

Superhero Snacks: Beer Dough Pretzels

I have to admit, I'm having fun coming up with hero related snacks, but probably not as much fun as  Phil and John have had coming up with some pretty awesome add ons like t-shirts (sweat shop free - woot!), a playmat, activity book, badge, and of course the amazing action figures. To check them out head on over to their Kickstarter campaign, but they only have two weeks left so if you think these two are as awesome as I do for their creation please consider a pledge!

Enough of the shameless plug...on to business!

I've made pretzels quite a few times, but I wanted something a bit different for Herr Pretzel from Pack of Heroes. Pretzels are an obvious choice, but what could make them more pretzelly (is that even a word? it is now!) than making them with beer dough using a German beer! I'll be honest, I was just going to use whatever beer I could find in the Beloved's homebrew, but spied the German bottle sitting on the shelf. Perfect! (As a side note the Beloved says the beer pictured is rubbish, even if it is gluten free). It did make a cracking good dough however, the texture was quite light when they were baked. I will probably make more of them using a different beer next time to give a different flavour.

3 1/2 - 4 cups bakers flour
1 tsp yeast
1 bottle beer
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp fine salt for the dough, plus rock salt or flakes for the top
1/4 cup bicarb soda

1. Heat the water until lukewarm. Add the oil, salt, and yeast, stir, and leave aside until mixture bubbles. Add beer.
2. Make a well in the centre of 3 1/2 cups of the flour, pour in the yeast mixture, and with a wooden spoon, bring in flour to centre and mix. 
3. Turn out onto floured surface, and oil your hands (this prevents the dough sticking to you, plus drying out your skin!)
4. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. You may need to add a bit more flour if it is too sticky - I used nearly 4 cups this time, humidity was high as per usual when I make these!
5. Put into an oiled bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled in size. This may take 1-2 hours depending on the temperature. I set mine next to our fire. (You can put the oven on for five minutes, turn off, and then leave the door ajar with the dough inside to speed things up).
6. Punch down and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide dough into 12 portions and roll into long sausages , about 40cm long. Loop into a pretzel shape. Place on a lined tray, and allow to rise again until double. 
7. Turn on oven to 190C to preheat, and set a large saucepan of water on the stove to boil. Fill the saucepan about 2/3 full.
8. When water is boiling, drop in salt and bicarb - watch out it froths!
9. Carefully drop the prerzels in one at a time to poach, about a minute and a half on each side. Remove carefully and set on greaseproof lined baking trays, a few centimetres apart. 
10. Sprinkle the top with salt crystals or flakes.
11. Place in the oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes, until dark brown, and set on a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Superhero Snacks: Rainbow Whoop-Ass Pies

Who is next? What hero would eat these somewhat girly but totally scrumptious multi hued whoop-ass pies (that's whoopie pies to the rest of us)? Rainbow Sprinkle, the totally manly action movie star unicorn (who is obviously in touch with his feminine side). I imagine Mr. Sprinkle would power up on anything brightly coloured, I would love these guys in mini form on a skewer while playing Pack of Heroes of course, but Rainbow would skewer it on his horn and eat on the run, or mid kick, or...whatever. These aren't regular whoopie pies, they're whoop -ass pies!

Although I would normally colour with fruit I basically couldn't be bothered and used the totally bad for you food colour gel. But hey, if you're loading up on white flour and sugar you may as well go the whole way!

To make these I used a basic vanilla cupcake recipe, my weapon of choice is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  These got me 12 regular sized whoopie pie sides, but if you were going mini you could get double that. I took a 1/4 cup of plain batter and coloured each lot separately in a jug, which got me two of the same colour. A word of warning here. I used gel colouring which is much more vibrant and doesn't effect the batter like a liquid would, so you may have to experiment with the batter consistency if you can't find them. Once baked I allowed to cool and sandwiched it with whipped vegan cream cheese because I can't stand buttercream. You could also fill them with choc ganache if you wanted to.

And once again guys, if you want to support this totally fun project please head over here!