Pretzels stuffed with Prosciutto, Salami, and Swiss

I hadn’t baked anything at home in a while, and I was craving something sweet but also savory. I was also craving bread, per usual. I figured, why not stuffed pretzel rolls? No. I wanted an actual soft pretzel, stuffed with delicious prosciutto, salami and swiss cheese. Baked to cheesy perfection.

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Now I will say, these were a pain in my butt to shape. I chalked it up to maybe it being the dough, but I really think stuffed pretzels are just a pain to shape. So, if you are not familiar with a rolling pin and jelly rolling, then you might want to make pretzel rolls instead. Way easier. But look how rewarding these beauties are?

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I took a few pictures to show you exactly how I did it. Trust me, the first two turned out to be big balls of dough that wouldn’t stay together. That’s okay, you can still eat them. They’re just as delicious. But if you’re like me, you want the actual pretzel shape.

You can stuff these pretzels with whatever you desire, instead you could do ham and cheddar, just as an example. Or, you don’t have to stuff them at all!

Shaping process:

  1. Start by taking a piece of dough, and rolling it into a long log. Longer than the photo shows, I learned the hard way. Try and make it as long as it will go, even if it’s thin.
  2. Take your rolling pin, and flatten it out, then roll it out as shown, making it as thin as humanly possible.

    3. Add in your stuffing ingredients, not too much or else it won’t keep its shape, and fold it over and pinch the bottom so the stuffing ingredients are sealed in. If it won’t stay sealed, try brushing some water on the seal.
    4. Gently fold the dough over the sealed area, sealing this again.

    DSC_0046You should have something that looks like this. It should be almost double folded, like a jelly roll, so it’s tightly sealed. Seal the ends one last time, adding water if it helps. (It helped me).

Now, shape it into a U, and then fold over the ends onto each other. Press down the ends, and seal with water.

I know this is a labor intensive process, but try to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible, as the pretzels will start rising and the seals might start to open.

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I know this seems like a lot of work, but I promise they’re worth it. Every bite and you’ll be thanking yourself for these delicious pretzels.

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I would have liked them to have more filling, but it seemed impossible without them falling apart. If you’re looking for something with more filling, then I would push you to make pretzel rolls instead.

Instead of that process up there, you would grab your piece of dough, flatten it out, add your filling, and pull the sides of the dough around the filling to make a ball shape. Then, seal the ends of the dough by pinching them tightly, and use water if it helps to seal.

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Stuffed Pretzels with Prosciutto, Salami and Swiss Cheese

Prep time: approx 1 hr and 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: approx 1 hr and 35 minutes

Delicious soft pretzels stuffed with prosciutto, salami and swiss cheese. Baked to delicious, cheesy perfection, topped with salt or sesame seeds.


Ingredients
Dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water (if it hurts to the touch, it’s too hot)
1 package instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
Cooking Liquid:
8 cups water
3/4 cup baking soda

Filling ingredients:
1 1/2 cups salami (I used pre-packaged slices and chopped them up)
1 1/2 cups prosciutto (I bought it sliced from the deli and chopped it up)
1 1/2 cups of cheddar, chopped

Egg wash:
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon water


First, combine the water, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the flour and soft butter and knead for 12 minutes on medium speed. For this step, I didn’t use a stand mixer, I kneaded by hand until the dough was soft and elastic, about 10-12 minutes.
Cover and let rise for an hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and get a cookie sheet ready lined with parchment paper. In a medium-sized pot, boil your water and add the baking soda, keeping it at a low boil.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, covering the pieces with a damp towel while you work. Roll out each into a rope, flatten them with your rolling pin, and add your filling ingredients.
Please refer to the photos and steps above for the rest of the directions.

Place the pretzels, one at a time, in the boiling water for 30 seconds each.

Transfer the boiled pretzels onto your baking sheet, brush with the egg wash, and add any toppings of your choosing (sesame seeds, salt, poppy seeds, etc)

Bake all your pretzels for 15 minutes, or until dark and golden. Eat warm, and cover with plastic wrap if there are any leftovers.

I recommend re-heating, they’re the most delicious when warm!

 

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Blueberry Pie

This blueberry pie features a lemon and lime infused crust, and is super simple to make. The first time I baked a pie, I was nervous. I followed a recipe step by step, and it took a LONG time. I had to roll out the pie dough, chill for an hour, and repeat that process almost four times. This recipe does not require that long process. My way is easy, and rewarding.

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About a year ago or so, I became obsessed with baking pies. It took some practice to get the product I wanted, and it was so worth it. Now I’m a pro. I can’t quite remember how or why the craving to make pies began, but I’m glad it did.

With trail and error, I came up with a simple yet beautiful pie crust recipe. It’s extremely versatile – you can use it for sweet or savory pies.

I used to hate pie. I hated warm, cooked fruit. I would only eat the crust.. but now I love pie. I’ll eat the whole slice (or slices), fruit and all. It’s really such a beautiful thing; to eat warm, cooked fruit, baked in a buttery flaky crust.

I once made a HUGE chicken pot pie with this crust recipe, and added cheddar cheese into the crust. It was the most delicious chicken pot pie I’ve ever eaten.

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the inside of my pies runny and juicy. I like them sort of thick, with a little juice from the cooked fruit. When they’re super runny the slices tend to fall apart –  that’s a big no no for me.

I tend to roll out my crust on the thicker side, especially on the bottom crust. That’s just me, I love pie crust. It’s one of my favorite things.

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This was my first ever attempt at a lattice pie crust – and I definitely nailed it. Want to know my secret? I youtubed it. When you find a decent video, you really can’t fail. Just study the method for a bit, and have the video handy as you make your lattice crust.

The thing I love about this crust recipe is that it’s really easy to work with. I’ve made so many different designs with it: lattice, braids, leaves, flowers, etc.

The one thing you’ll need is a food processor –  I suppose you could do it by hand, though I never have. Maybe I’ll try it that way soon and test it out for you guys.

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I remember making this pie on a whim – my mom was having her sisters and my cousins over for dinner. I can’t quite remember the occasion, but my aunt Kathy was there all the way from Tennessee and I knew I had to make a beautiful pie for dessert. They absolutely adored it.

I even got a few comments along the lines of, “This is the best pie I’ve ever had.”

So, I think it was a success!

Another amazing thing about this pie crust is that you can add so many different flavors in it. In this case, I zested lime and lemon in the dry ingredients before adding the butter. I’ve added cinnamon, lavender, honey,  cheddar cheese, and so many more. It’s really up to you and what flavors you want to make.

This a basic pie recipe, and you can add whatever fruit you’d like, fresh or frozen. Just omit the blueberries and add your favorite fruit instead!

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I was in such a rush to get to dinner, that this is the only photo I have of the finished product.. what a beauty, right!? It was devoured very quickly, and I remember having two slices. Yum. Here’s the recipe. Make it, you need to eat this now.

Blueberry Pie

Prep time: about 25-30 minutes
Cook time: 45-60 minutes
Total time: approx 1 hour 30 minutes

This blueberry pie features a lemon and lime infused buttery & flaky crust. The crust recipe makes enough dough for a top and bottom crust.


 

Ingredients

For the crust:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon zested
1 lime zested
3 sticks cold butter, cubed
6-7 teaspoons ice water (or more)

1 egg, mixed with a few drops of water for the egg wash
Raw sugar for sprinkling

For the filling:
4-5 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries (or more if you’re making a big pie like I did – in that case, add a bit more flour and cornstarch)
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon zested
2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
3 tablespoons of corn starch


 

Firstly, make your pie crust. In the bowl of your food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt. Zest in your lemon and lime, and then pulse your machine a few times to mix it together.

Take your cold, cubed butter out of the fridge. Add it into your flour mixture, and pulse until the mixture resembles medium-sized crumbs, do not over mix.

Take your ice water, and add two teaspoons at a time, pulsing a few times in between. This could take however long, depending on your food processor. You want the crust to come together completely, so it sort of forms a dough ball. Don’t let the dough get too wet or sticky, only add the water until it comes together.

Do not over work it so it becomes sticky and soft. The dough should easily form into a ball, be smooth and easy to work with, and it should not be super sticky and wet.

Take the dough out of your processor, and place on a lightly floured surface. Pat down and form into a disc shape, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes, until the dough is noticeably cold.

While the dough is chilling, make your filling.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients together in the order they are listed. If you are using frozen fruit, place the bowl in the freezer while you roll out your pie dough.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, and place a cookie sheet on the middle rack. Get your 8 or 9 in pie pan ready – I believe mine was 10-12 inches, I used a big glass pyrex pan. When I use the big pan, I usually make 2 batches of dough because I like my crust nice and thick.

Take your pie dough from the fridge, and flour your work surface. Place unwrapped dough on your surface, and using your rolling pin, lightly hit the dough to flatten it out a bit. Cut into equal halves, for your bottom and top crust.

Roll out your bottom crust, (I like mine thick), into a circle about 2 inches larger than the pan you are using. Transfer the crust into your pie pan, making sure the crust is equal on all sides.

Add in your filling, and roll out the other piece of dough the same exact way. Place on top of your filling.

Now, if you’ve never made a pie before, you might want to YouTube how to finish the crust. What I do for regular pie crust: trim the edges of the crust with a knife, leaving the top a bit longer than the bottom. Now, fold the top crust edges under the bottom crust, and crimp the edges. You can use a fork, or use your fingers to crimp the edges.
Cut three or four small lines in the middle of your pie.

If you want to do a lattice crust, I would recommend googling how to do it.

Brush the crust with your egg wash, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place in your oven on the hot cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 450, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for the remaining time.

This can vary. Mine usually take up to an hour, once you can hear the fruit juices bubbling, and it’s nicely browned, it usually means it’s ready. I like using the glass pyrex pans, so I can check the bottom and make sure it’s browned as well.

Let the pie cool completely before cutting a slice – I know it’s tempting, but seriously, wait. If you don’t, the pie won’t set correctly!

Enjoy!! Refrigerate when completely cooled and not devouring – I recommend eating it warm.

 

 

 

Breakfast Tarts (Vegan)

I used to call these poptarts, but they deserve much better than that. They’re now just breakfast tarts, and it suits them well. While it is sort of a spin off of a poptart, these beauties are fluffier, tastier, and healthier.

Making these for the first time, I was looking for a healthier version of a poptart – the ingredients in regular poptarts scared me, and they still do. There’s nothing to fear with these breakfast tarts, though. They’re completely vegan, and you know exactly what ingredients you are putting in your body when you eat them!

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I love how versatile these tarts are! Fill them with anything you’d like, although I usually stick to jam.

I’ve used strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, apricot, raspberry, peach, marionberry and more. The next time I make these, I want to try filling them with peanut butter or hazelnut spread.

Get creative with these, as there are endless flavor possibilites.

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These photos are very old, from about two years ago. I am now moved out of this beautiful apartment, and miss how big the kitchen was. I miss all the space for baking activites!

Friends and family used to rave over these tarts, they’re that delicious. I used to make them at a coffee shop I used to work at, and they would be bought and devoured within the hour.

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Vegan Breakfast Tarts

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 12-15 minutes
Total time: approx 40 minutes

This recipe makes 12 breakfast tarts.


 

Ingredients

2 cups of all purpose or whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons of vegan butter, or margarine

3/4 almond milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

Your favorite jam (blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, etc)

Glaze

4-6 cups powdered sugar

4-5 tablespoons of almond milk

food coloring of your choice (optional)


 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

 

Using your fingers cut the vegan butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Chill for 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

After the chilling, add in the almond milk, apple cider vinegar, and sugar. Stir until it forms a dough, but do not overwork it. If there are still dry bits of dough, add a few more drops of almond milk.

Pur the dough on a clean work surface, lightly dusted with flour. Knead the dough a few times, but do not overwork the dough.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle, leaving the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 24 even rectangle pieces.

Add about a tablespoon or more of jam on half (12) of the rectangle pieces, then top with the other 12. Crimp the edges closed with a fork.

Gently place each tart on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Place into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes

To make the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Add more powdered sugar or milk to reach a smooth but thick consistency. Top with glaze once the tarts are completely cooled.

*these tarts will last about 2 days in a sealed container, maybe more if stored in the fridge.

Pistachio Cake

When people think of pistachio cake, they think of green food coloring, and pistachio pudding. If that’s what you prefer, then this is not the cake for you. This cake also isn’t the cheapest to make, considering pistachios are expensive (at least where I live), but I promise it’s worth the money and the effort.

This cake is unlike any other cakes I’ve ever tasted – it’s delightfully nutty, a bit salty, and sweet all at once. Plus, the frosting is even made with real pistachios! The flavors come together beautifully, creating a salty and sweet combination with a somewhat dense yet delicate crumb.

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I’ve made this cake twice now, for different clients who fell in love with the cake. The photo above is a three layer pistachio cake I made for a man named Ed, for his birthday. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a photo of the crumb, but you can guess it took all my willpower not to cut a slice from that beauty!

Since the cake has chopped pistachios inside, it gives a slight salty crunch with every bite. I could go on forever about how delicious it is, but why don’t you just give it a try?

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Another two layer cake I made for a friends mother, for mother’s day!

Since mother’s day is just around the corner, why not make your mother or loved one this special cake?

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Pistachio Cake

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Total time: approx 1 hour

This recipe will make one 2 layer pistachio cake.


 

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup chopped, unshelled pistachios

Frosting

6 oz bag of unshelled pistachios, chopped very fine
1 pound of soft, unsalted butter (4 sticks)
about 1 lb bag of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-4 teaspoons of milk



Preheat oven to 350, and spray two 9 inch pans with nonstick spray.

Chop your pistachios until they’re a little smaller than the size of peas.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat until smooth.

With the mixer speed on low, add a third of the flour mixture, mixing until combined. Then, add a 1/2 cup of the sour cream. Add another third of the flour mixture, until combined. Add the last 1/2 cup of sour cream, mixing till combined. Then, add the last of the flour mixture, mixing until combined.

Lastly, add in your chopped pistachios, making sure all the ingredients are mixed in to create a smooth batter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

For the frosting

With a knife or in your food processor, chop the pistachios very fine. The texture should be almost crumb like, but big enough so the frosting can still spread smoothly. Look at the photos for reference.

With your stand mixer and your paddle attachment, add your soft butter, half the bag of powdered sugar, vanilla, and pistachios.

Beat together until they’re almost combined, then add in the rest of the bag of powdered sugar, and as many teaspoons of milk to make it your desired consistency.

Beat together on high-speed for about 3-4 minutes, so it’s whipped, smooth and light.

Frost the cake once it’s completely cooled!

Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes (vegan)

These chocolate cupcakes have been in my family for years and years – my family calls it “dad’s favorite crazy chocolate cake,” don’t ask me why! All I know is, it’s my dads favorite chocolate cake recipe. My Nani (his mother) used to make it for him all the time when he was a kid. Now I make it for him on his birthdays, and whenever I get the chance.

As a kid and into my young adult years, I never realized it was a vegan cake recipe. I didn’t put two and two together until my 20th birthday. I made it for myself and my boyfriend since we share a birthday, and like my dad, it’s my favorite chocolate cake recipe as well.

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I remember the night of our birthday like it was yesterday. I was filled with excitement because we had invited a bunch of our friends to go bowling and celebrate with us. I wanted to bring something that everyone could eat, so I made this cake recipe. It was very last-minute, but since this cake is so easy and quick to make, I thankfully made it to my own party on time!

This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, and since it’s vegan, you can share it with almost everyone! Just whip up a vegan frosting, and you’re good to go.

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I made these cupcakes a long time ago, so I can’t quite remember the occasion. There may have been nothing going on that day. Back home, when I had a big kitchen and a decent oven, I baked for fun almost every day. I was also craving to learn anything I could, being a self-taught baker. We lived right near downtown, and my boyfriend worked at a soup shop called Destination Soups. If I didn’t have clients, I would usually bring my goodies there for all the employees to enjoy.

At my new apartment in Portland, I have a very small and old oven. Sometimes it’s hard for me to bake certain things because they don’t come out the way I’d like them to. Usually they taste fine, but they don’t look as appealing. I try my best!

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Vegan frosting can be a bit finicky at times. I’ve only ever used earth balance vegan buttery sticks – if you use other vegan butter sticks, use them! It really just comes down to the taste and texture, and what your preference. I usually make vegan frosting the same way I make regular butter cream, I just use vegan butter sticks and almond milk instead. You will have to play around with the flavors, adding more vanilla and lavender to your desired taste.

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There are two ways you can incorporate the lavender flavor into the frosting – you could also do both ways. One way is just using a lavender essential oil for flavor. Another way would be to buy lavender buds, steep them in almost boiling almond milk, let it cool and steep for an hour or two, and then add it to the frosting.

Lavender is tricky because you don’t want to over-do it, or else it will mimic a soapy flavor and you do not want that. You can buy culinary lavender buds through amazon, that’s what I did. You can order lavender essential oil, or go to your local health food store and find it there, just make sure it’s safe for consumption.

I really recommend giving this recipe a try, and if you want, you can use a different frosting flavor. It’s all about preference, some people hate lavender! You can also make this recipe into an 8×8 square cake.

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Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes (vegan)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Total: approx 35 minutes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Author: The Pearly Baker

Vegan chocolate cupcakes with a lavender frosting. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to make more cupcakes, or a layer cake.



Ingredients

Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder (whichever kind you prefer)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of white vinegar

Frosting:
2 vegan buttery sticks, soft
3-4 teaspoons of almond milk (or lavender milk)
2-3 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
vanilla
a pinch of salt
about half a bag of powdered sugar
purple food coloring


This recipe is super simple, all you’ll need is one bowl. Preheat your oven to 350, and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.

First, add all your dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until everything is mixed together.

Add the water, and stir until it’s almost combined. Add the oil and vinegar and stir until smooth.

Scoop the cupcake batter in the pan, a little more than halfway full. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the lavender “butter’cream frosting, in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment:

Add your vegan butter, vanilla, salt, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combined.

Slowly add in the rest of the bag of powdered sugar, along with the lavender or regular almond milk, until it reaches your desired consistency. Add in a few drops of purple food coloring, (this is also where you would add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil if using). Once everything is added, you may need to add more milk if it’s too dry. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar. Run your mixer on high speed for a minute or two to really combine the ingredients, and to fluff up the frosting.

Lavender milk:

If you decide to make the lavender milk, you’ll only need a little bit, depending on how many cupcakes you’re making.

Take one cup of almond milk, and bring it to a simmer in a sauce pan. Add about 3/4 cup of culinary lavender buds and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat off, and let the buds steep in the milk for an hour or two.

Once it’s done steeping, with a strainer, pour the milk into a Pyrex glass, making sure no lavender buds get through. At this point, the milk should be cool enough to use in your frosting! Add it in the way you would add the regular almond milk.

Maple Pecan Cookies

These are the best cookies I have ever tasted. Seriously, I found the cookie. I have searched long and hard for the perfect cookie recipe. It only took me two years! I didn’t have chocolate chips so I had to improvise – pecans worked beautifully.

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They’re perfect in every way. Here’s the deal: you don’t have to use pecans. Use anything your heart desires. If you want to make white chocolate cranberry cookies, then do it. If you want to add some walnuts and dried fruit, be my guest. I encourage you to experiment with these cookies. You can use this recipe as your base, and make it your favorite cookie.

I’m the kind of girl who likes to find a perfect base recipe. It could be any kind of baked good: cookies, scones, breads, cakes, bars, what have you. I like being able to use the same recipe multiple times, and making it different each time by adding new and unique flavors.

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The secret ingredient in these cookies is the maple syrup. The maple gives the cookie a subtle but sweet flavor, and it brings out all the other flavors beautifully.

There are a few steps with these cookies that you’ll need to follow to a T. I know when you read the words “chill your dough for 30 minutes”, you’ll want to leave the page immediately. Don’t do it. Stay. You will never get a chance to make and eat these delicious cookies if you leave now. I promise every single second spent making them will be worth it.

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Aside from chilling your dough, there is another step you’ll need to follow. In a lot of cookie recipes they call for the butter to be soft, and to be beat into the sugars until creamy. With this recipe, you’ll melt the butter and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then, you’ll stir in your sugars, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, and your dry ingredients. It should look something like this:

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Then, you will stir in whatever else you would like. This is where I added the chopped pecans.

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You will then cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer to chill for about 30 minutes. You can also made this dough ahead, and freeze for up to 2 months.

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If you’re going to freeze the dough for a long period of time, I would recommend rolling the dough into balls, then putting them in a ziploc bag. That way, when you want to bake them you won’t have to deal with rolling completely frozen dough into balls. You can put them on your cookie sheet, and bake beautiful fresh cookies right away!

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Maple Pecan Cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 12-14 minutes
Total time: approx 1 hour 4 minutes

Author: The Pearly Baker
This recipe makes about 14 normal sized cookies
Adapted from: sugarspunrun



Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter, melted and cooled for about 10 minutes
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans (or add whatever your heart desires)


 

In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and the sugars. Add the egg, and stir until combined. Stir in the vanilla and maple syrup.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add it to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined. There shouldn’t be any dry bits of flour in your bowl.

Now, add your pecans and stir until they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.
At this stage, if you are making the dough ahead for another day, let the dough chill for the 30 minutes. Then, roll the dough into balls, place into a ziploc bag, and place back in the freezer until you want to bake them. When you are ready to bake, let them thaw for at least 5 minutes before putting them in the oven.

If you are planning on baking them the same day, while they’re chilling, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare your cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Once they are done chilling, using either an ice cream scoop or a spoon, scoop about 1-2 tablespoons of cookie dough. Roll them into balls, and place on your cookie sheet.

Bake for about 12-14 minutes, depending on your oven. You don’t want them to be too dark, they may look a tad undercooked, but take them out anyway. Only the sides should be golden brown.

Allow cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheet. Store in a closed container or a ziploc bag, they should last for about 2-3 days.

Coconut Lemon Bars

These are a favorite between my friends and family, and hopefully they will be for you too! Just so you can see how amazingly easy and delicious these are, I’m going to give you a step-by-step photo demonstration on how to make these. They are worth it, trust me.

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You’ll never want to try a different lemon bar again. I’ve tried many lemon bars in my twenty-one years of living, and I will tell you, nothing beats these. The coconut adds a great flavor and texture to these beauties. The freshly squeezed lemon juice also makes a huge difference, and it’s worth the extra work! They have the perfect ratio of crust, filling, and icing. Look how gorgeous they are.

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I remember the night I made these. It was New Year’s Eve, and the year was about to turn 2015. I recall being very excited; my boyfriend and I were going to our friend Laura’s house to celebrate the evening with friends. There was going to be lots food and music. I decided I was going to bring dessert, and that’s how these came about. I also made cream cheese brownies, which were pretty dull compared to these.

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We arrived, desserts and my dulcimer in hand. I remember smelling something sweet, savory and delicious coming from her kitchen; my friend Meyer had made delicious swedish meatballs. I think I ate about thirteen of them that night. We played music, talked, laughed, and enjoyed all of the delicious food.

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At one point, when I walked back into the kitchen, I noticed there were only two coconut lemon bars left, and about 10 brownies. My friend came up to me and said, in her exact words, “These are one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Can I please order some from you in the near future?”

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They were gone by the end of the night, and I was happy. I felt very proud of myself, and I will never forget that night. That’s where it all began. People seriously raved about these for a long time. I made them constantly for friends and family, and also for paying clients. I even made them for a local coffee shop. I love that something so tasty can hold so many wonderful memories for me. I hope these will do the same for you.

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Now, let’s begin the step by step process on how to make these beauties. If you would like to just view the simple instructions, skip this and scroll down. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for the bars themselves, this is not including the glaze on top:

DSC_2404Simple enough. Flour, sugar, and butter to create the shortbread crust. Then, flour, sugar, salt, eggs, lemon juice, baking powder and coconut for the coconut lemon layer.

 

Add all of your dry ingredients into your bowl: flour and sugar. Cut your cold butter into small squares like shown above, and add to your dry ingredients, mixing with your hands.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture with both of your hands. This should take about 4-5 minutes, tops. The end result should be a crumbly mixture, like above. You want the butter pieces to be about the size of a pea, if there are some bigger pieces that is fine.

Add the mixture to a 9 x 13 in pan, lined with parchment paper. Using your hands, press the mixture firmly into the pan, as shown above. Now, put the pan into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, at 350 degrees.

While the crust is baking, make your filling. Freshly squeeze your lemons into a Pyrex, or something similar. You are going to want at least 1/4 cup of lemon juice.

Mix together the filling ingredients: the lemon juice, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. You’ll notice some fizzing in the picture above, that is the baking powder reacting with the lemon juice. (The pink in the mixture is Himalayan salt, we don’t use white salt anymore).

Add in your coconut, and stir!

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When the crust is finished, it should look something like this, and yes – it is normal for it to be cracked.

You are going to add the lemon mixture as soon as the crust is out of the oven. Spread it around evenly, making sure to get every corner! Put back in the oven, and bake for another 20 minutes or so.

This is how it should look when it comes out of the oven, but all ovens are different. If yours happens to come out not so appealing, not to worry, we’ll be slathering on a delicious lemon glaze anyways!

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There they are, cooling on the windowsill… (I can’t open my windows all the way, or my cats will jump out. Or attempt to.)

Here’s how to make the glaze:

Use more freshly squeezed lemon juice, about another 1/4 cup, and also add a few drops of water.

 

Add about 3/4 cup of powdered sugar (less or more depending on your desired consistency). I added a bit more to mine after this photo, I like my glaze thick!

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This should make about 1 cup of lemon glaze.

Once the lemon bars have completely cooled, it’s time to add your lemon glaze! Pour it over, and spread around evenly. If you want a thicker topping, make more! Do what your heart desires. Put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour so the glaze sets before you cut them into squares.

Take out of the pan, and cut into squares. Serve, and enjoy!

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Coconut Lemon Bars

Prep time: approx 10 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes
Total time: about 50 minutes

Delicious bars with a shortbread buttery crust, layered with a coconut lemon filling, and topped with a lemon glaze. The perfect spring or summer treat, but can be enjoyed any season.

Author: The Pearly Baker



Ingredients

For the shortbread crust
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

For the lemon filling
2 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (don’t substitute bottled lemon juice)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened or sweetened shredded coconut

For the lemon glaze
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 teaspoons of water
3/4 cups, or more of confectioners sugar


 

Start off by preheating your oven to 350 degrees, and lining a 9 x 13in baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized bowl, add your flour, sugar and cubed butter together. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles course crumbs, as shown in the photos above.

Press firmly into your baking pan, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the crust is baking, start making your lemon filling.
Add all of your lemon filling ingredients together, minus the coconut. Mix until combined, and then stir in the coconut.

Once your crust is finished baking, take it out of the oven.
Immediately pour the lemon filling on top, and spread evenly over the crust. Put back into the oven for another 20 minutes, or until the middle of the filling is cooked, and not wiggly.

Now, make your icing. Combine all of the icing ingredients below in a Pyrex cup or a bowl. Add more or less confectioners sugar to reach your desired consistency.

Once the coconut lemon bars have cooled, pour it over and evenly distribute it.

Place in your fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour before cutting them into bars.

Cut, serve and enjoy!

*these bars will last about 4 days if put into a sealed container. they will last even longer if put in the fridge.

*if you want thicker bars, use a smaller 8×8 baking pan or something similar. i prefer mine to be thinner.

 

Blackberry Scones

Scones may be one of my favorite things to bake. They’re easy, delicious, and super versatile. There are so many flavor combinations you can experiment with, so I’ll just give you a basic one and you can go from there.

 

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I’ve had a lot of trouble with scones in the past – trying to find that one perfect recipe. Now, I’m not saying this recipe is perfect. I’m sure there are better scones out there; but this is the best one I’ve made so far. They’re full of buttery layers, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and absolutely addictive. I always end up eating at least two of them in one sitting.

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This is proof of how delicious they are. My cats don’t normally care for human food, but Delilah wanted to try one.

I make scones at work all the time, and I always try to switch up the flavors. Here are some flavors you might consider trying: lemon and crystallized ginger, lemon poppy seed, orange and almond, cranberry orange, dried cherry and almond, lemon blueberry, vanilla cardamom, maple vanilla, apricot and hazelnut, orange and apricot… etc.

I could list so many flavor combinations, and those are just the sweet versions! Have you ever tried a savory scone? My favorite savory scone flavor thus far would have to be spinach, feta and tomato. Sounds strange, right? It’s absolutely amazing. Here are some savory flavors you could try: bacon and cheddar, rosemary and cheddar, rosemary and caramalized onion, and there are so many more.

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I’m going to share some very important facts and tips about making and eating scones.
1) Your butter does NOT need to be super cold. I don’t know why people say this, because it truly doesn’t.
2) Do NOT over work your dough. This will result in tough, dense scones. Only knead it until it just comes together.
3) You want to fold the dough two or three times before rolling it out, this creates buttery layers. This step is sort of similar to the making of croissants.
4) If you’re baking sweet scones, always brush some cream on top and sprinkle with raw sugar before putting them into the oven.
5) If you want scones in the near future and don’t want to go through this whole process again, FREEZE them. Scones freeze beautifully.

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I’m going to tell you a secret. I baked these scones a month after I made them. This is what I mean when I say scones freeze beautifully. They’re just as delicious a month later – this is your proof! Slather on some more butter, and you’re good to go. These also go great with your favorite flavor of jam or jelly. In my opinion, they’re best when they’re warm.

Blackberry Scones

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Makes: Approximately 12-14 scones

Author: The Pearly Baker


Ingredients

4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/8 teaspoons of salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, can be soft or cold
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
2-3 cups (or more or less to your liking) of fresh or frozen blackberries

Extra buttermilk or cream for brushing the tops
Raw sugar for sprinkling


 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get your cookie sheet ready with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of your food processor), mix all your dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon or by pulsing the processor a few times.

Cut your butter into small squares, and add it to the dry ingredients. Add the butter to the flour mixture and either cut the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers, or pulse the food processor until the mixture resembles course crumbs. 

If you’re using a food processor, put the crumb mixture in your large bowl. Create a well in the middle of the mixture, and add half the buttermilk in the well. Cover the well with the crumb mixture, and add the rest of the milk. 

Stir the mixture with your wooden spoon or a spatula until it just comes together. There will still be unmixed flour. Flour your counter top, and form the dough into a shaggy ball and place on counter. Knead the dough until it just comes together, adding the left over flour as you go.

Once it comes together, pat it out so it is somewhat flattened. Fold the dough in half, and pat down again. Repeat this one more time. This step is what forms your delicious buttery layers!

At this point, you’ll roll out the dough. Roll it out so it is at least an inch and a half thick. You can either use a biscuit cutter or cut them into triangles like I did, or you can cut them however you would like.

Place them on your cookie sheet, brush them with cream or buttermilk, and then sprinkle with raw sugar.

Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, it could be more or less depending on your oven.

Let the scones cool a bit, slather on some butter, and enjoy!

*to freeze scones, place is a ziploc bag and place in freezer for up to 3 months.

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry cake… have you ever tried it before? If you haven’t, here’s your chance. I promise you will NOT regret trying this recipe. It’s absolutely amazing. It’s the perfect time to bake this wonderful cake, spring has just sprung. You can pick a frosting of your choosing; vanilla buttercream, whipped cream, strawberry frosting. Whatever your decision, you and your tummy will be happy.

I know what you’re wondering…does this cake use real strawberries? YES. Yes it does. I would never make any fruit cake that didn’t use real fresh fruit. There are real strawberries in this, all you need is some sort of blender or food processor to puree them.

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Look at that beauty- two layers of strawberry cake topped with a vanilla frosting. Can a cake be more beautiful than this?

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I’ve made this cake on multiple occasions. The first time I was with my friends, Karli and Amanda. We were all just hanging around my apartment, when I found an untouched carton of strawberries. I looked at the strawberries, and then to them I asked, “Should I make a strawberry cake?” A smile instantly appeared on their faces, and I knew that was a yes.

I will admit, I was nervous because I hadn’t frosted many cakes. Although, the photo below will show you I made out pretty well. I was very happy with the final product, and so were they. I think we had two slices each. One of my favorite things is baking for friends and family. I love to see them enjoy my baked goods.

Since moving to Portland, one of the things I really miss are my friends. When we’re together, we eat. Whether it’s raiding each others fridges, or spending too much on take out, we’re always eating. I know I’m not the only one who feels that food and family hold the fondest memories.

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Karli loves strawberry cake. She’s obsessed. I also made one on her 21st birthday, but it was different. It was a naked cake, with home made whipped cream slathered in every layer, as well as on top. Then, it was topped with fresh strawberries. What? Of course I’ll show you a photo!

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Here’s the magical cake that made mouths water and made people sing.  Literally.  We, as in all of Karli’s family and friends, sang happy birthday and dug right into this cake.  Although no one seemed to want to initiate the first cut, it went in a blink of an eye.  I got so many compliments!  It was a nice looking cake, I’ll admit…but I honestly can’t remember if I even got a slice of it.

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Not only can you make this cake so many different ways, you can turn them into cupcakes! While I have no pictures for you, you can do it. I’ve done it numerous times. Just fill your cupcake liners a little more than halfway, bake for 5-10 minutes less, and you’ll have gorgeous strawberry cupcakes. Bring them to your Easter brunch, or for any occasion, really. If you, your friends and family love strawberries, why are you holding out? Bake this damn cake!

Strawberry Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Total time: aprox. 45 minutes
Makes: two 9in cakes or aprox. 18 cupcakes

Fresh strawberry cake topped with vanilla buttercream. Easy to make, you can also make about 18 normal sized cupcakes using this recipe. If you want to make a three or four layer cake, I would recommend doubling the recipe.

Author: The Pearly Baker
Adapted from: thekitchenmccabe


Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup pureed strawberries
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 eggs, beaten
optional: red or pink food coloring

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

3 sticks of unsalted, softened butter
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1lb bag of powdered sugar
4-5 teaspoons of milk

Whipped Cream Frosting

3 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of granulated sugar


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.
Or, if you’re making cupcakes, line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

Make your strawberry puree: either using a food processor or a blender, blend together enough hulled strawberries to fill 1 1/2 cups. If you need to, add a few drops of water if your blender is having trouble pureeing them.

Using either a mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together.

Add in your vegetable oil, pureed strawberries, vanilla and lemon juice and stir until just combined.

Now, add in your beaten eggs. At this stage, you can add your food coloring. I added a few drops, to get a more vibrant color. You can do whatever you’d like.

After adding your eggs and food coloring, mix, but do NOT over mix!

Fill your cake or cupcakes pans with batter. If you’re making a cake, divide the batter in half and fill each pan. If you’re making cupcakes, fill the liners a little more than halfway.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Depending on your oven, it could take longer. To make sure your cake or cupcakes are done: make sure the batter isn’t wiggly in the middle. Also, using a toothpick or a knife, insert it in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, they’re done!

Let the cakes cool completely before frosting them.

For the vanilla buttercream frosting, in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment:

Add your butter, vanilla, salt, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combined.

Slowly add in the rest of the bag of powdered sugar, along with the milk, until it reaches your desired consistency. Once everything is added, you may need to add more milk if it’s too dry. Run your mixer on high speed for a minute or two to really combine the ingredients, and to fluff up the frosting.

*If you wanted to make this a strawberry frosting, puree more strawberries and add it to the frosting. You may want to omit the milk so it isn’t too runny. Adding more powdered sugar will thicken it up.

For the whipped cream frosting, in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment:
whip together the heavy whipping cream and sugar to very stiff peaks.

*If you’re using the whipped cream frosting, you need to chill the cake as soon as you’re done frosting. Keep it chilled until you serve it!

 

 

First post! Bagels, bagels, bagels..

Welcome! This is my first post and boy, am I super excited to start this food blogging journey. I don’t have any followers at this point, and this is okay. I want to do this because I love writing, I love baking, and I love photography. What a perfect way to share and express myself! I hope whomever may read this will enjoy what I post, and will consider trying this easy and delicious bagel recipe. First things first, check ’em out:

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Now don’t get these pretties confused with New York style bagels- they aren’t. Not even close. But boy, they are so delicious and easy! They do however require a few hours of your time and if you want to perfect them, a bit of practice. This was my first try and this was a while ago, so the shaping is a little off, but you’ll get the hang of it like I did. They are so worth it, I promise. Bagels are incredible. They are one of my favorite things on planet earth. If you don’t love bagels, then I’m not sure we should be friends. Seriously. They are also a work of art- something you need to practice to perfect. These are simple bagels, but a real New York bagel takes time and patience. I promise to fill you in, as soon as possible.

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These are essentially just plain bagels, but you can add whatever toppings you’d like. I used sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Get creative: onion bagels, everything bagels, add some salt on top. Whatever your heart desires!

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WATER BAGELS:

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: aprox 2 hours (including rising and resting times)
Delicious, easy bagels to make at home. Toast them up and slather on some cream cheese or jam and you’re good to go. Or you could just eat them as soon as they come out of the oven, I certainly did. You’ll never want to buy bagels from the store again.
*
These bagels ARE vegan. Just omit the egg wash at the end. 
Author: The Pearly Baker
This recipe makes about 12 normal sized bagels, and can be easily doubled

Ingredients:
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (or just one packet)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading (no substitutions)
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 egg (for egg wash)
Water for boiling
1 tsp baking soda for boiling

optional: poppy & sesame seeds

You can make these by hand, although using a stand mixer is easier.
Start off by adding your yeast, sugar, salt and flour into the bowl of your stand mixer.
With your mixer on low speed and the dough hook attached, slowly add in the water.
The mixer will form a shaggy dough, let the mixer work it’s magic for about 5 minutes on medium speed.
The dough will become smooth and some what elastic, but a tad stiff. At this point, if it’s too tough on your mixer, take it out and knead it by hand for 5-10 minutes.

Put the dough in a greased bowl, and let rise until it has almost doubled in size; this will take about an hour.
Punch your dough down, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
While the dough is resting, begin boiling your water.

Use a decent sized pot, or a dutch oven and fill it about halfway and let it come to a rapid bowl, then just turn it down slightly.

Add your teaspoon of baking soda. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Now, divide the dough into 8 equal parts.

1) Roll the dough into a ball. If it doesn’t roll up easily, mist some water onto the counter top and this should help. Once all the pieces are rolled into balls, cover with a damp towel and let them rest for 15 minutes, they may puff slightly.

2) Poke a hole through the middle of the dough, and using your two index fingers, slowly form a hole in the bagel my twirling the bagel around your fingers. Not to fear, they will look better with practice.

Place the bagels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and let rest for another 10 minutes, covered.

Now you’re ready to boil!
Add 2-3 bagels to the boiling water, depending on your pot size. Do not overcrowd them.
Boil them for about 45-50 seconds on both sides.

Once they are boiled, brush them with your egg wash and add the toppings if you desire.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until they’re a perfect golden brown.

*you can easily freeze these bagels for up to one month, freeze them as soon as they cool down.
also, these bagels will last for 2-3 days, as long as you bag them up when they’ve cooled down.