Groot Pretzel Pots, Because Arbor Day.

Difficulty3
Admittedly, I think I could have made this a lot easier on myself. May reconsider this skill level later.

I am Groot! I am Groot. I am Groot. I am GROOT. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot? I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I. Am. Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot? I am Groot! I am Groot. IamGrootIamGroot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am! GROOT. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot. I. Am Groot? I am Groot!

I seriously considered writing this entire post as Groot but finally overruled the decision on the grounds that you can’t paste the text into Google Translate and expect to see a recipe. But wouldn’t that be so freaking cool? Admittedly, I was rather later jumping on the Guardians of the Galaxy fandom bus. I also had extremely low expectations going into watching the movie because apparently I’m a cynic. What can I say? I. Was. Blown. Away. Particularly due to the comic relief from Drax and Groot. You can’t not love Groot. Yes, that was a double negative.

Admittedly, this week has been the week of “You are not allowed to have a minute’s peace!”, and consequentially I got started on this project unacceptably late. And I only consider this to be a partial success, of sorts. I think a little better planning with the soft pretzels is in order. While I intend on remaking the pretzels in the next few days I’ll at least give a general overview on this variation.Soft Pretzel Groot in Dirt Pudding Pots for Arbor Day. Are you ready for this? Let’s go.

Gamers, grab your mats:

Dirt Pudding

  • 1 package of Oreos, original variety
  • 1 8oz. container Cool Whip (heavy emphasis on the ‘h’)
  • 1 large package instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups milk – check the chocolate pudding box first as this may vary

Soft Pretzels

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one 1/4 oz. package)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • coarse sea salt, to taste

NOTE: For this recipe I used the basic soft pretzel recipe from Beth at Budget Bytes. Her full recipe can be found here: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/10/parmesan-garlic-pretzel-bites/

We’ll start with the dough. Add your sugar and yeast to one cup of warm water. Set this aside for about 5 minutes or until the surface of the water is frothy.

No need to stir or touch.
No need to stir or touch.

Stir 2 cups of flour and 1/2 tsp. salt together in a large bowl. Add yeast/sugar/water mixture.

Considering I was raised in a pizzeria, I love this yeasty smell.
Considering I was raised in a pizzeria, I love this yeasty smell.

Stir contents of bowl together until you get a sticky lump of dough. It will not look pretty or perfect. This is okay. Turn out onto a floured work surface.

I feel like horror movies are based off of this.
I feel like horror movies are based off of this.

Knead for about 8 minutes, adding about 1/2-1 cup of flour as needed. My dough was on the higher end of this scale. The end result should be smooth, pliable, and will spring back at your touch. This took me a couple tries to get the dough firm enough. Would you believe me if I said I’ve never made dough before? Travesty!

About halfway through kneading. Seriously, if you're ever depressed, make bread. There's something really therapeutic about it.
About halfway through kneading. Seriously, if you’re ever depressed, make bread. There’s something really therapeutic about it.

Round this off into a ball and plop into a greased bowl (that’s what the butter was for). Cover loosely and allow to sit for about an hour, or until the ball has doubled in size. A clean dish towel worked just fine for me.

This was the
This was the “Whee, I can do this!” moment. I should know better than to have these moments.

It’s pudding time. Have you ever had dirt pudding as a kid? It’s super easy. Pudding, whipped topping, Oreos. Done. I bought six 4″ terracotta pots for the occasion. If you haven’t done so already, wash these out really well and line the bottom with cupcake liners to prevent the pudding falling out through the hole in the bottom.

Make the instant pudding according to package instructions. In this case, whisk pudding mix and milk together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Try not to eat it just yet. You have the willpower!
Try not to eat it just yet. You have the willpower!

I actually had a kitchen helper for this post! Say hi to Crystal, she was the designated Cookie Master.

Hi, Crystal! So nice to have a helping hand in the kitchen for large scale recipes.
Hi, Crystal! So nice to have a helping hand in the kitchen for large scale recipes.

Crush all of your Oreos in a large Ziploc bag. A rolling pin works best for this. These will need to be crushed up enough so you don’t see any of the creme.

Of course I don't have large bags! Substituted 5 sandwich baggies. Bloody hell.
Of course I don’t have large bags! Substituted 5 sandwich baggies. Bloody hell.

Time to make a mess. Dump Cool Whip and half of the crushed Oreos into the pudding. Whisk together until well combined.

This is the most delightful looking mess. Faceplant?
This is the most delightful looking mess. Faceplant?

Spoon dirt pudding into lined pots about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Must leave room for the Groot! You’ll probably have some extra. You’re welcome.

I fear I am slowly becoming a sucker for
I fear I am slowly becoming a sucker for “cute”.

Cover pudding pots and set in the fridge to chill. Probably it’s time to work with the dough again. Once your dough is double in size, punch down and turn out of the bowl.

POOF! Yeast magic!
POOF! Yeast magic!

Cut the dough into 16 equal sized wedges. In the pizzeria we would refer to this as ‘double pie cut’. This is the part where I screwed up so the directions that follow are what I should have done. Oi. Admittedly, this will give you several extra pretzels to do with whatever you will. Play with it; have fun!

For each piece of dough, roll out into an 18″ rope, about 1/2″ thick. Cut this rope into thirds. Twist two of the ropes together like below. Keep in mind, mine were way too damn big.

Twisted pretzels in training. Twistzels?
Twisted pretzels in training. Twistzels?

Lay the third rope down perpendicular to the twisted rope and set the twisted rope on top to make a cross shape. Fold the ‘arms’ over the body for stability. Feel free to arrange the arms into dancing gestures. Cover two trays with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place Groots onto trays.

Why did I not realize these were too big...
Why did I not realize these were too big…

Allow the dough-Groots to rise for about 30 minutes. While these are rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees F and set a large pot of water to boil. When the water boils add in 1/4 cup of baking soda. Do this carefully and gradually as this will cause the water to bubble up quite a lot for a moment. Once the Groots have risen they will need to be boiled.

Boil each Groot individually in the baking soda water for 90 seconds, turning once about halfway through. This is apparently what makes a pretzel, a pretzel. The more you know, right? You can use something like a large slotted spoon or spatula for this. Touching boiling water is bad.

Allow each Groot to drain on a cooling rack or similar for a couple of minutes then return them to the baking sheet.  Scramble up a raw egg with about one tablespoon of water to make egg wash and brush this mixture over the Groots liberally. Season to taste with coarse sea salt.

Seriously, these need to be at least half this size.
Seriously, these need to be at least half this size.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Cool. Add your happiest dancing Groot face to each pretzel with black decorating icing. Insert cooled pretzels into pudding pots. Use the other half of your crushed Oreos to cover pudding and build ‘dirt’ up around Groot.  You’re done!

I AM GROOT!
I AM GROOT!

Utterly precious. Believe it or not, these are great as spoons for the pudding, like a perfect balance of sweet and salty. I know I’m looking forward to making more pretzels in the future. They’re extremely inexpensive, fun, and a bit out of the ordinary. Weren’t expecting to celebrate Arbor Day geek style, were you?

We are Groot.

Cheers,

Leisel

Coming Up Next: Zoidberg Meatloaf. Why not Zoidberg? Yes, we are going there.

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