Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bacon Cheeseburgers on Salted Pretzel Buns

Bacon Cheeseburgers on Salted Pretzel Buns
makes 8 bacon cheeseburgers

This is an interesting take on America’s favourite burger.  It may seem time intensive but with multi-tasking many of the tasks can take place concurrently and the Bacon Jam can be made hours or even days ahead of time. The resulting burger is well worth it.  

                                                                              Prep time: 35 minutes
                                                                              Cook time: 60 minutes
                                                                              Bake time: 25 minutes
                                                                              Total time: 2 hours


Optional Bacon Jam:

1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
1/2 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons ketchup
¼ cup good Bourbon whiskey (optional)
¼ cup very strongly brewed black coffee

Salted Beer Pretzel Rolls:

1 (12ounce) bottle of good amber beer or non-alcoholic amber beer, warm (105° F)
1 package active dry yeast (not instant rise yeast)
2 teaspoons sugar
4-½ cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons fine Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted
¼ cups baking soda
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
Coarse Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Bacon Cheeseburgers:

2 pounds ground sirloin
3 tablespoons dehydrated onion
1 small yellow onion, peeled and grated
½ pound bacon, cooked crisp but not over cooked and chopped, reserve the rendered fat
fine Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, grated
8 slices yellow American cheese


Optional Bacon Jam (if you’re planning to use bacon jam, prepare this ahead of time):

1.  Place bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook it until it browns and becomes crispy.  Transfer cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
2.  Return pan to the heat and add the onions to the pan with the rendered bacon fat.  Sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. 
3.  Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for another minute, stirring; do not allow the garlic to brown. 
4.  Add the remaining ingredients, and raise the heat to high.   Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Allow the mixture to boil for about 2 minutes. 
5.  Turn the heat under the pan to medium-low, add the bacon and simmer, stirring occasional to avoid burning, until the mixture is reduced by about 1/2 and is thickened into syrup, about 30 minutes.   Turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes. 
6.  Pour the cooled mixture into the container of a food processor, and pulse a several times until the mixture attains a spreadable, but decidedly chunky, consistency.  Pour into a sealable container for later use.

Salted Beer Pretzel Rolls preparation:

create the pretzel dough:

Pour the warm beer into a 2 cup measuring cup, stir in the yeast and sugar and allow the yeast to proof for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will form a foam head, if it doesn’t the yeast is dead and you’ll need to start over.  
Add the flour, salt, melted butter, and the proofed yeast to the bowl of your stand mixer.  Fix with the dough hook attachment and mix using the dough hook until combined well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.

form and proof the rolls:

Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.  Punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured, clean surface.   Roll the dough out into a 16-inch snake and cut the snake into 8 pieces, about 5 ounces each. 

Shape the dough into rolls by taking each piece of dough and form a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place each formed rough ball, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling it around the palm of your hand to form a finished roll.

Place each completed roll on the prepared baking sheet pinched seam side down, with at least 1” between each roll in a staggered formation. Cover with a damp towel and allow to proof in a warm place for 30 minutes until they rise & double.

Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven rack in the middle position.

boil the rolls:

Bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil, in a large saucepan or pasta pot.  Once the water boils, remove from heat and slowly add the baking soda (if you put it in too fast the water will foam up and overflow the pot). Place the pot back over the heat and lower to a simmer.

Place 2-3 rolls at a time into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds and then carefully turn the roll over and poach for another 30 seconds. Remove from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and return to the prepared sheet pan, seam side down. Repeat this process with the remaining rolls.

bake the rolls:

Brush each roll with the beaten egg using a pastry brush, be sure the egg coats all exposed sides completely, sprinkle each with a little of the coarse salt. 

Using a very sharp straight edged blace, cut an X into the top of each roll, place the sheet in the preheated oven and bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Bacon Cheeseburger preparation:

prepare and cook the cheeseburgers:

Preheat oven to 200° F.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the cheeseburger ingredients through the shredded Gouda but not the American cheese, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Divide the bacon cheeseburger mixture into 8 portions and form each portion into a ball then flatten each ball into the familiar hamburger patty shape.  

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon grease and place as many of the patties as will fit without crowding in the skillet, allow the patties to cook about 4 minutes on the first side, flip them and cook on the second side for an additional 4 minutes (dependent on thickness and desired level of doneness).  Remove the cooked burgers to a heat proof plate and place in the oven to keep warm.  Repeat the process until all the burgers are cooked.


Slice each Pretzel bun in half horizontally, place one bacon cheeseburger on the bottom half of each bun, place one slice of American cheese on top of each burger.  If you elect to use the bacon jam, spread desired amount of the jam on the bottom of the bun top and place it on the top of the burger, if not just place the bun top on the burger.   Serve accompanied by your favourite condiments, sides and cold beverage of your choice. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Quick and Easy Banana/Orange Becky

Quick and Easy Banana/Orange Becky
                                                                                                                      Prep time - 3 minutes
                                                                                                                      Cook time - 0
                                                                                                                      Total time -  3 minutes

This is a smoothie I came up with combining two of my granddaughter's favourite things bananas and orange juice.


1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas, peeled
3 cups ice


blend the smoothie:

Combine the first 4 ingredients in the container of the blender, cover and blend on high speed until the yogurt is thoroughly combined and the sugar is totally dissolved, about 15 or 20 seconds.  Remove the cover add the bananas and the ice replace the cover and process until the ice is finely crushed.


Pour into two chilled glasses, add straws and enjoy!

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