Every once in a while I have to remind myself and all those around me that, although my calendar is bulging and my odometer is spinning, I am a stay-at-home parent who values staying at home. Some of our best times as a family are our free mornings. Those days when we paint, dress up, dance, bake, build, paste at will. I've learned to look forward to them and cherish them.
During the summer, when school was not cramping our playtime, those days were easier to come by. And for me, nothing says "Free Morning" better than making our own soft pretzels. This super-simple recipe is from the magazine Highlights High 5.
On this August occasion, we invited our charming 4 -yr-old neighbors.
First you gather up all the ingredients.
Next, mix a package of yeast (or 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast) and a tablespoon of sugar into 3/4 cup warm milk. Let it stand until it's foamy (10 minutes or so). If you are lucky, the kids will do something quiet while they wait.
Then mix the yeast mixture with 2 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.
Knead until smooth.
Then, split the dough so everyone has some. Shape away! Most of these girls opted for their initials.
One overachiever spelled her whole name.
Place shapes on a cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle your choice of salt, garlic powder, herbs, or cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Somehow I always forget to get pictures of the finished pretzels. Maybe that's because the warm, herby aroma, combined with the olive oil that we bring out for dipping, completely captures my attention. And who can think about photography when they are busy ingesting the proof of our lovely, free morning?!