COOKING WITH KIDS: PRETZEL BITES WITH JOYFULLY SMITTEN

Please welcome Kristina of Joyfully Smitten. Kristina is a mom and wife who is regularly serving up recipes, DIYs and heart. She loves encouraging moms to live life with a full heart and messy hands. You can also find her on twitter, instagram, pinterest and snapchat using @joyfullysmitten.

Let's follow along with Kristina as she and her little ones show us how to make the most delicious pretzel bites.

I love including my kids in the kitchen with me. I'm in the kitchen at least three times a day and having them alongside me does take a bit more patience but I love how much they enjoy being there and learning alongside me. I started both of my children out young in the kitchen whether they were in my ring sling or wrap or were sitting on the floor playing in empty bowls with unused utensils. My daughter, now three, loves being in the kitchen helping and learning new tricks of the trade. Today we are going to share with you our pretzel bites recipe. These are a little bit of work but your kids can help all throughout the recipe which makes it so much more fun. When you have your little ones in the kitchen you can let them scoop, pour, mix, roll and more!

To make some parts easier, I premeasure things out. For this recipe that means I'm premeasuring out the instant yeast 2.25 teaspoons and very warm water of about 1 cup and 1 tsp sugar. Then mix and set aside until it's nice and fluffy on the top. While the yeast is rising it is a great time to start the other parts of the recipe. You're going to need:
  1. 2 1/2 cups Flour
  2. 1 teaspoon Salt
Encourage your little ones to be a part of the process! They might make a bit of a mess at first but remember patience is key and they will get better.  While we are working on the bigger parts of the recipe, my littlest who is nine months likes to play with kitchen utensils. It helps him get familiar with the kitchen learning and exploring.
Mix the dough well in your KitchenAid or by hand until it's soft and smooth. Whichever way you make it (mixer or not) it's a great way to get your kids involved by touching the dough. Once it's nice and smooth you are going to let it rise until it's doubled in size - about 30 minutes.

While you are waiting on the dough to rise, it's a great time to get your soak ready. For this part you're going to use hot water. You'll combine 1 cup really hot water and 2 tablespoons baking soda, stirring until the soda is dissolved. I let my little one spread out the baking soda and I pour in the water, stirring and let her watch. During this time I also use the time to talk about the water being hot and how to stay safe. Then we set aside until it cools to a lukewarm temperature.

Once your dough is ready you are going to dump it onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few rounds. Then divide up the dough and roll out into long strands of dough. You'll make about six 12" pieces. This is a great time to preheat your oven to 400*, as well.

Then you will use a butter knife (or a plastic butter knife like we have pictured) to cut into smaller pieces. They should be about an inch or so, but remember if you are including your little ones, they will likely vary in size and that's totally okay!

Once you have all of your dough into small pieces, dip them until covered on all sides into the baking soda bath for about 1 minute. Then proceed to lay them out onto baking sheets to bake. Once ready, bake them for about 10-12 minutes. They should be lightly golden brown.

During this time, prepare your butter by warming it up until it's a warm temperature but not really hot. Then decide what toppings you are going to put on your pretzels. Cinnamon and Sugar is a favorite of ours and we've done some other more savory flavors like Garlic Parmesan and we've done Sea Salt too! Make a variety if you want by separating them out. We've found that A loves a variety of flavors even though Cinnamon and Sugar is her favorite.

Once your pretzel bites are done in the oven, let them cool a bit and then dip them in butter. You can either roll them in your spices, or a fun (and cleaner way!) is to put them in a large gallon ziplock bag filled with the mixture already. Once you have about a dozen pretzel bites in the bag, zip it up good and let your kiddo shake it all about! They will think it's so much fun! Have a tupperware or container ready to put them in, too!

Enjoy!! These are good for about 2 days in an airtight container and are best served warm!

Pretzel Bites with Joyfully Smitten Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet OR 2.25 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 cup hot water
  • butter for coating
  • spices for topping - cinnamon and sugar, garlic powder, salt, etc.
Instructions:
  1. Combine your 1 cup hot water with your 2.25 tsp yeast and 1 tsp white sugar. Mix well and set aside until it's nice and fluffy on the top. 
  2. In your Kitchen Aid (or bowl) combine your 2.5 cups flour and your 1 teaspoon salt.
  3. Once your yeast is ready combine it with your flour mixture and mix well for about 5 minutes until the dough is very soft and smooth.
  4. Once the dough is mixed well, let the dough rise for about 30 minutes in a bowl covered with a warm wet towel until it's doubled.
  5. While your dough is rising make a nice baking soda bath using 2 tablespoons baking soda and hot water until the baking soda is dissolved. Set aside to cool until lukewarm.
  6. Once the dough is double its size, dump it out onto a floured surface, knead well and divide into 6 sections.
  7. Roll your six sections into long 10-12" ropes and then cut into 1" pieces
  8. Soak your dough bites in the baking soda bath for about 1 minute and move to your baking pan.
  9. Bake your bites in a 400* oven for about 10-12 minutes. They should be lightly browned.
  10. While baking prepare your butter and your seasonings. 
  11. When done baking, coat your pretzel bites in butter either by dipping them in butter or using a silicone brush to coat them. Proceed to covering them in the ingredients of your choice - cinnamon and sugar, garlic powder, salt, etc.
  12. Enjoy! Keep in a sealed container for up to two days. Best served warm.

Remember to have fun with the process and enjoy your time in the kitchen with your little ones.  The kitchen is a great place to learn new skills and coordination!

All photos courtesy of Kristina Streeter.


WHAT IS YOUR LITTLE ONE'S FAVORITE PART OF COOKING?

P.S. If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy COOKING WITH KIDS: BANANA OAT MUFFINS.