No turtles were hurt during this process. Well, no live turtles, anyway.
On Wednesday I mentioned a certain turtle-y challenge. On Friday, TGIF took on a whole new meaning.
You see, I showed my friend these adorable turtle pretzels on Kirbie’s Cravings (via Tastespotting, as per usual) and it was all over after that. We had to make them.
Now, yeast is on the ingredient list – but don’t let that deter you. I was a little anxious during the entire prep process because I don’t have a whole lot of experience with yeast – at least, not any recent experience. Unless eating my mom’s yeast rolls at Christmas counts?
Ahem. Alright, take off your rings, don your aprons, and tie back your hair. Let’s do this thing.
I followed the recipe exactly (except for one thing, but I’ll get to that later), so I won’t repost it here. Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words!
It calls for 4 1/2 cups of flour, so if you’re low, you might hop to the store. We did!
To begin, mix 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 teaspoons salt in 1 1/2 cups of warm water. I didn’t have a thermometer, so I just figured out the water tempt he old-fashioned way – stuck my hand under the faucet and waited until it felt like bath water.
Sprinkle a packet (2 1/4 tsp) of active dry yeast on top and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Tick tock, tick tock…
While you waiting, melt 2 oz of butter in the microwave. Please use butter – we want these turtles gross-margarine-chemical-free and not resembling the turtles from the Gulf.
When the 5 minutes are up, add in the butter and flour. You can try to mix it with a spoon, but after about 5 seconds I saw that it was time to go Ms. Frizzle on this dough – get messy!
Knead, baby, knead!
I had to add a little water when it got on the tough side. I really had no idea what I was doing, because the original recipe only has directions for a stand mixer, so I just guessed. After about 5 minutes, I figured it was good enough. Place it in an oiled bowl and let it rise for about 55 minutes.
While you’re waiting, I highly recommend following our lead and making grown-up animal mac & cheese. No, that is not an oxymoron.
More turtle love!
The very cute mini cheese grater I bought in California as a joke ended up coming in handy. Worked pretty well, too!
We used a combo of parmeggiano (the good kind – no Kraft here, thankyouverymuch) and this Amish Colby Jack cheese. No idea how much we put in. All I did was cook the pasta (salt your water!!) until slightly undercooked, drain it, and then return it to the still-hot pot on low heat. Add in the cheese – reserve some of the parm for topping – a little milk (we had skim), and some garlic salt and pepper. The garlic salt makes this go from “good” to “we are making this again. soon.” Don’t forget it! We also threw in some frozen broccoli. Hence the “grown up” mac and cheese.
I served mine over some arugula with extra parm on top. Seriously, make this. It was so good. Next time, we’re adding tomatoes and red onion. Maybe some spinach.
Hungry hungry hippo!!
Ok, so your dough is probably about done rising now. I have no real spatial abilities, so I trusted my roommate when she said it looked about double in size.
I cut the dough into 16 “equal” pieces – they weren’t very equal, but we were fine with having a few babies. So, roll each piece out long. It will help if you do this on a floured surface! Then spiral them in to look like snails, like so:
You’ll want a cup of water on hand to make the layers stick. Just don’t drink it.
Now, pinch a head, feet, arms and tail out of the dough.
For obvious reasons, she was in charge of the turtle-forming after that.
Right about here you should get your oven preheating to 450 F and start some water boiling. If you remember to read things, you will put 2/3 cup of baking soda in the water. I did not, and there is a bowl of baking soda in a drawer under our counter feeling quite unhappy and useless. Oops.
Basically, you’re gonna blanch the turtles before baking. When your water is boiling, drop them in for 30 seconds and use a slotted spatula/flat spoon to get them out. I had to do one at a time because our pot is small and I’m not good at multi-tasking, but if either or neither of those is true for you, I’m sure you could do multiple at a time.
Swim towards the light, little guy!
This maybe because I forgot the baking soda, but they expand like WHOA in there! I ended up baking six at a time because that’s all that would fit on my Silpat (aka, the fancy French reusable silicone nonstick baking sheet. You see why it’s just called ‘Silpat.’).
Beat an egg as your roommate continues transforming snails to turtles, and brush some over the pre-baked turtles. (They should dry relatively quickly after their, um, bath.) A brush would be great, but we didn’t have one so I just used my fingers. You’re gonna bake ‘em anyway, germs schmerms.
The directions said to bake them for 6 – 7 minutes. We had to keep them in there for at least double that time - I’m thinking the lack of baking soda in the blanching water had something to do with that.
A little too blonde after 6 minutes.
But definitely tasty!
Once they’ve cooled, you can use a toothpick, fork tine, etc to poke little holes for eyes. We had some cupcakes sprinkles hanging around…
Red eyes = tired turtle?
This one was looking right!
Tell me this is not the cutest turtle you ever did see!
I did the first batch plain, but in the second and third I tried some toppings. Because it’s me and I have to play with my food.
Coarse sea salt
Brown sugar & cinnamon
The brown sugar definitely won our hearts over – but all of them were absolutely delicious! And really pretty easy – in fact, if you have a fear of working with yeast, this would be a great intro recipe. Trust me, I have no idea what I was doing and they are better than edible! We are definitely making these again – I did NOT measure out 2/3 cup of baking soda to just let it sit in a bowl under our counter. Nope.
Moral: Make these, because they will make you smile.
And don’t forget to spring forward!