I had lots of ideas float around in my head on what to illustrate: gnarly tree trunks, braided hair, a forest path, leafy vines etc. In the end I went with a favorite snack - warm, soft pretzels (with plenty of mustard, thank you)
Pretzels have quite a history actually, dating back to the Early Middle Ages. There are numerous accounts on the origin of pretzels, as well as the origin of the name; most agree that they have Christian backgrounds and were invented by German monks. Read more about pretzels here....
Anyhow, I'm totally going to make these sometime soon after getting a craving for them doing this illo :> Here's the recipe I'll be using, it looks a bit complicated but it's quite simple to prepare:
----------------------------------Philadelphia-Style Soft Pretzels
4 cups (600 g) all purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
1 package active dry yeast
1.5 teaspoons salt
kosher salt for sprinkling
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup (180 ml) milk
3/4 cup (180 ml)water
oil for greasing bowl
2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1 cup water
1 cup (115 g) melted butter
In a food processor pulse together the flour, yeast and salt to mix, then add the honey and milk. Slowly add the water until a soft ball forms, pulsing for about one minute. Continue to mix the dough for 3 more minutes, then turn onto a floured surface and knead by hand until dough is smooth and elastic (about 2 more minutes).
Form into a ball and set in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (approx.an hour). Keep dough bowl covered while you work, break off a walnut sized piece, and roll into a long rope 16-18 inches long. Use illustration as a guide to form a pretzel shape and set on baking parchment lined cookie sheet or a lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
When all the pretzels are shaped, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C), and brush each pretzel lightly on top with baking soda mixture.
Bake until golden, about 12-15 minutes.As soon as the pretzels come out of the oven brush them with melted butter, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Best when served warm and dipped in your favorite mustard.
Enjoy some pretzels and have a great week!