# super bowl, super food

Oh, Super Bowl Sunday, how I love you. It’s a big day in our house for my football-lovin’ husband, but it’s an even bigger event to this athletic-apathetic wife. To me it signifies….THE END OF FOOTBALL SEASON! No more games being on all weekend, Thursday nights and Monday nights. The bliss! The possibilities! The eye contact with my husband!

Okay, I don’t hate it that much. I’ve gotten a lot better at understanding and being able to follow a game, but I just can’t watch hours of it like Joe can and will. I don’t ever remember sports being on at my house, with the exception of baseball, until my brother went to college. It’s just not in my blood.

The Super Bowl is a big exception. The combination of decadent snacks, awesome commercials, great pre- and half-time shows is enough to get me on board. Before I get into our football fare, I have to tip my virtual hat at the advertisers this year. I thought the commercials were great. I loved the self-deprecating Tim Tebow, Dorito’s time machine and the 80s taking back Radio Shack. The dog lover in me enjoyed the Doberhuahua and, of course, I got teary-eyed for the Budweiser puppy. But, the highlight for us had to be the familiar “bleep-bloops” signaling the return of 24. Ahhhhhhhh! I love it.

I definitely don’t consider myself a food-blogger, but food/cooking is a big love of mine and I should probably blog about it more. A real food blogger would look out for their readers and post super bowl recipes way in advance so everyone could plan their menus accordingly. That’s way too much work and I don’t really need plates of treats staring me down on a Tuesday night—so today you get two amazing recipes for next year’s game. Go ahead, bookmark this page. You’ll be back.

Every year, Joe and I plan on making a new, special recipe based on the teams who make it to the game. For example, when the Packers went we made beer cheese fondue…Wisconsin = Beer & Cheese. You get the idea. When we realized that Denver and Seattle were this year’s reps, the menu came to us pretty fast. Seattle? Easy. Starbucks. So we needed a coffee component. Then there was Denver. And what just happened in Denver? They legalized pot. So….brownies! The end result: Mocha Brownies. Genius, huh?

Mocha Brownies 4

{DEAR MOM AND DAD, WE DID NOT MAKE POT BROWNIES FOR THE SUPER BOWL. LOVE, YOUR VERY RESPONSIBLE MIDDLE CHILD.}

I haven’t had much any luck in making good edible brownies at high-altitude, until our friend Chris shared a little secret: Add more flour to the batter. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus. These were beautifully dense and fudgy and when they cooled the center caved in a bit creating the perfect spot for a thick, mochalicious frosting to dwell. It almost tasted like a mousse. Delicious and decadent. They could have tasted like cardboard, I was just thrilled that they cooked properly and no brownies were in the trash.

Mocha Brownies 3

The best part was that you let the brownies chill in the fridge to set up, so it almost tastes like a thick cheesecake. I love just about any brownie, but this was pretty over the top. And very easy, which is always a bonus.

Mocha Brownies 2

The original recipe came from the Pioneer Woman who lays on the frosting thick. We cut the amount in half and it was STILL super thick, so do whatever works best for you and your cardiologist.

Mocha Brownies 5

Our other Super Bowl treat made its second appearance in what we assume will be an annual tradition: Pretzel Bites. We made these for the first time last year and couldn’t believe how easy and AWESOME they were.

Pretzel Bites 7

The dough takes like 10 minutes, max, to put together. Let it rise and then get your play-doh on by rolling sections into snakes. I used a pizza cutter to make the bites, but don’t do what I did here and make them too big. I forgot that they explode during their water-baking soda bath.

Pretzel Bites 1

You end up with a cutting board full of what looks like gnocchi, which wouldn’t be a bad thing any other day.

Pretzel Bites 2

Once they have their bath and sit in the oven for 10 minutes, you then face the daunting chore of ignoring them as they sit on the counter while you make whatever dipping sauce you want. Our choice? Beer Cheese Dip.

Pretzel Bites 4

Pretzel Bites 3

But you could do Honey Mustard, Spicy Queso or be a good Oklahoman and use a ranch-based dip. You could also sprinkle the bites with cinnamon and sugar instead of salt and dip in melted Nutella. Or, OR! Do a sheet of salty and a sheet of sweet bites. Gaahh! Are you following me here? These need to be a part of your life, stat.

Pretzel Bites 5

We made the smart, yet depressing choice of cutting this recipe in half. Something about it containing 12-16 servings turned me off. 6-8 sounds so much better, doesn’t it? So, in addition to all the math I did converting the recipe for two people, I also had to do a little high-altitude adjustments. For yeast breads you have to cut the yeast by a quarter. It made my head hurt. I may have had to call in reinforcements to ensure accurate baking. Thanks, Joe. Thanks, music degrees. Sorry, math teachers of the past.

Pretzel Bites 6

Enough of the food porn and math confessions, here are the recipes:

Mocha Brownies 1

Mocha Brownies

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Brownies:

Four 1-ounce squares of unsweetened chocolate
½ pound (2 sticks) of butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Mocha Frosting: (Double this to go full-out on the frosting)

¼ pound (1 stick) of butter, at room temperature
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
¼ to ½ cups brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.

To make brownie batter, melt chocolate squares in microwave in 30-second increments, being careful not to let it burn. Set it aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs. With the mixer on low speed, drizzle in the cooled, melted chocolate. Add the vanilla and mix. Add the flour to the bowl and mix just until combined; do not overmix.

Pour the batter in the baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the center is no longer soft. Set brownies aside to cool completely before icing.

To make the frosting, in a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla. Mix until slightly combined (I used a hand mixer). Then add ¼ cup of the coffee. Whip until the frosting is the desired consistency, using more coffee if the frosting is too thick. It should be light and fluffy.

Ice the cooled brownies and refrigerate until firm. …then devour.

Pretzel Bites

Easy Pretzel Bites

From Annie’s Eats (who credits Smells Like Home and Alton Brown)

**You should definitely check out Annie’s original recipe, because she offers up variations like the cinnamon sugar one I mentioned and a garlic herb one that has my name written all over it.**

Oh, and this is the ‘feeds 12-16’ version. Do your own math.

Basic pretzel dough:

1 ½ cups warm water (110-115° F)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour (about 4 ½ cups)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl

To finish:

10 cups water
2/3 cup baking sodas
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
Pretzel (or kosher) salt

To make the basic pretzel dough, combine the water, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to dissolve the yeast. Add in the flour and melted butter and mix just until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. (Mine took about 3 minutes.) Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly greased with vegetable oil, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, about 50-55 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil in a large saucepan or stockpot. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate it. Divide it up into approximately 6 equal portions. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a long rope about 1-inch in diameter. Use a pizza cutter to cut the row into small segments, no longer than 1-inch each. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the pretzel bites into the boiling water in batches so that they aren’t overcrowded. Boil each batch for about 30 seconds, stirring once or twice to submerge all surfaces in the water. Remove from the water with a slotted skimmer and spread out on the prepared baking sheets. Once all the pretzels have been boiled, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown, about 9-11 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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5 thoughts on “# super bowl, super food

  1. Pingback: # bacon-bourbon brownies | hashtag marci

  2. Pingback: reader love | Annie's Eats

  3. Pingback: # a super (bowl) sunday | hashtag marci

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  5. Pingback: Friday Five: Thanksgiving Prep | hashtag marci

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