St. Patrick’s Day – what does it mean to you? Are you beyond the green beer? Cupcakes smothered in green frosting and candy sprinkles not your thing? Well, I think I may have something tasty for you lads and lassies. What goes better with beer, not that 3.2 stuff with green dye served in plastic cups, but real Irish beer like Guinness? Pretzels, of course, and not just on St. Paddy’s! These are some special pretzels with cup o’ Guinness in the dough and some hot sprinkles that will get your lips a tinglin’! Not for the faint of palate or heat intolerant (Ghost peppers have a higher Scoville rating than Habaneros), these chewy, soft pretzel twists are dusted with Ghost Pepper Salt, a special blend from Savory Spice Shop.
I’ve never made pretzels, which explains why I was unfamiliar with the method of boiling the dough pretzels prior to baking them. I made one boo-boo in the directions and added the baking soda to the flour because that’s what I was used to doing in a baking situation – so take note: the baking soda is added to the water in which you boil the dough, not to the flour! I thought this very strange and wondered what exactly is the purpose of this. Google sources say that boiling the pretzels in water helps create the chewy texture we associate with soft pretzels. Adding baking soda to the water gives the surface of the pretzels a shiny appearance, helps with browning and intensifies the flavor. Fortunately, the egg wash gave my funny looking pretzels an appealing sheen, so no harm was done.
It was fun playing around with the dough, rolling it out with my hands and, then, dangling the “ropes” in the air to make them longer – it would have been more fun with friends, sort of an everyone make your own crazy pretzel party. With no cutting involved, it’s also a perfect “kids in the kitchen” recipe – they would definitely enjoy making their own pretzels, whether they’re shaped like doughnuts, bagels, twists, or squiggly snakes. If you’re concerned about the alcohol content – I also double-checked online and confirmed that even in baking, alcohol evaporates and is safe for preachers, pregnant women, children, and tee-totalers. The main thing to remember is, whatever pretzels are meant for children, you will want to sprinkle them with sesame or poppy seeds, turbinado sugar, or wait and decorate them with green pixie dust in lieu of the Ghost Pepper Salt ♥♥
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Ghost Pepper Salted Guinness Pretzels
Active time: 45 minutes | Baking time: 15-18 minutes | Yield: 12 pretzels
Recipe courtesy of Mike Johnston, Savory Spice Shop founder
1 packet active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. sea salt*
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup Guinness or stout beer
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda*
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. Savory Spice Ghost Pepper Salt
1 Tbsp. melted butter
Pour a 1/2 cup of cold water into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand for 3-5 minutes until the yeast foams before stirring in the brown sugar, salt, olive oil, and vanilla. Then pour in the beer and let the yeast react.
Begin adding the flour 1 cup at a time into the yeast mixture and, using the hook attachment (set on the second setting) slowly blend in the flour until the dough forms a smooth ball and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a dish towel and set in a warm area of the room. Allow to rise until double in size – about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease two baking sheets and set aside.
Pour the remaining 4 cups water and baking soda into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile divide dough into 12 equal sized balls.Roll each ball into a 1/2 inch thick long rope (about 8 inches long). Curve each into a “U” shape and cross over the ends into a classic pretzel shape. Next, working one by one, boil each pretzel for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place 4 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.
Lightly brush each pretzel with the beaten egg and sprinkle with Ghost Chile Salt. Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush with butter and any other toppings of your choice.
Serving Suggestion: Best when served warm.
To buy this unique Ghost Pepper Salt, visit Savory Spice Shop. Whether you’re a gourmand or just dabble in cooking, they offer a wide range of high-quality herbs, spices, and seasonings at a fair price in customer-friendly quantities. I love this store because you can buy little packets that allow you to try all kinds of new spices, rubs, etc.
In Orange County there are two Savory Spice Shop locations:
928 Avocado Ave Newport Beach, CA 92660, (949) 717-7776 OR
OC Mart Mix at SoCo Collection in Costa Mesa: 3303 Hyland Ave Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Or look online for a location near you!