My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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Knock-Off Recipe Test: Trader Joe’s Ranchero Egg White Salad

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Laurel Laurie Staten Nguyen Newhall, CA

My Foray Into Food Storage

A little over a year ago, I was working with a nutritionist who recommended Trader Joe’s Egg White Salads as a good way to add some protein to my diet without adding too many calories.  I was a bit hesitant, but I stopped by my local Trader Joe’s and bought some.  Both varieties were DELICIOUS!  Only two problems… it was $2.99 for 2 little servings, and Trader Joe’s is a little out of my way.  So, while I would like to eat this just about every day, it’s not going to happen.

Then it came to me!  I could find a “copy cat” recipe and make my own.  Only problem?  I only found ONE recipe online for my favorite Spicy Ranchero version.  ONE!  Usually when I want to make something, I can find at least a dozen recipes online.  Then I can pick and choose at my leisure which…

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Knock-Off Recipe Test: Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

Yesterday, my husband and I went to Disneyland for a DLD (Disneyland Date).  I saw a Wetzel’s pretzel stand and really wanted a pretzel, but I cannot eat the entire thing (at least I shouldn’t).  My husband said that he only likes Auntie Anne’s pretzels, so we went along our merry way.  Of course, the thought of pretzels stayed there in the back of my mind, so I decided to try a knock-off recipe for Auntie Anne’s Pretzels as the first post in my new “Knock-off Recipe Test” series.

 

I found several on the Internet and settled on one found on Food.com.  You can see it here.  It took a couple of hours, but, most of the time, as with many bread recipes, was just waiting for the dough to rise.  Here are some pics of my pretzel making adventure.

 

I started with the yeast.  First I put 1 1/2 cups of warm water in my handy, dandy Pyrex glass measuring cup.  Then, I added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  Next, I added the yeast, and let it sit.

I started with the yeast. First I put 1 1/2 cups of warm water in my handy, dandy Pyrex glass measuring cup. Then, I added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Next, I added the yeast, and let it sit.

 

I puttered around for about 10 minutes.  When I came back, my yeast looked like this.  I added the dry ingredients to my mixer (all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt).

I puttered around for about 10 minutes. When I came back, my yeast looked like this. I added the dry ingredients to my mixer (all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt).

 

 

I poured the yeast/brown sugar mixture on top and turned on my mixer.

I poured the yeast/brown sugar mixture on top and turned on my mixer.

 

After about one minute, it looked like this.  I was thinking I might need to add some water, but I decided to wait a little longer.

After about one minute, it looked like this. I was thinking I might need to add some water, but I decided to wait a little longer.

 

It's good I didn't add extra water, see?  The dough came together very well.

It’s good I didn’t add extra water, see? The dough came together very well.  Now, onto kneading.  I let my Kitchen-aid do it for me.

 

I love letting my Kitchen-aid do the kneading for me.

And it looks beautiful!  The dough is smooth and springs back when I touch it.  Perfect!

 

I removed the dough hook, removed the bowl from the mixer, and covered it with plastic wrap.  Then I let it sit.  The recipe said to let it sit for at least a half hour.  I let mine sit for a little over an hour.  It was probably 70 minutes.

I removed the dough hook, removed the bowl from the mixer, and covered it with plastic wrap. Then I let it sit. The recipe said to let it sit for at least a half hour. I let mine sit for a little over an hour. It was probably 70 minutes.

 

And here's the dough.  It rose nicely, didn't it?

And here’s the dough. It rose nicely, didn’t it?

 

 

I prepared the baking soda water bath as directed and set it aside.

I prepared the baking soda water bath as directed and set it aside.

 

I dumped the dough onto a floured surface.

I dumped the dough onto a floured surface.

 

It came out of the bowl really easily.  See how clean it is?

It came out of the bowl really easily. See how clean it is?

 

I used my pizza cutter to cut off a couple of pieces of dough.  Then I rolled them out.

I used my pizza cutter to cut off a couple of pieces of dough. Then I rolled them out.

 

I had a hard time rolling it on the counter, so I rolled it between my hands most of the time.  A few times, I swung the dough like a jump rope to help it stretch a little more.

I had a hard time rolling it on the counter, so I rolled it between my hands most of the time. A few times, I swung the dough like a jump rope to help it stretch a little more.

 

I cut half of the dough into pretzel sticks. (Shh!  They're for my nursery class at church tomorrow.  Don't tell them!)

I cut half of the dough into pretzel sticks. (Shh! They’re for my nursery class at church tomorrow. Don’t tell them!)

 

 

I dipped them into the baking soda water bath and put them on a greased cookie sheet.

I dipped them into the baking soda water bath and put them on a greased cookie sheet.

 

 

I tried to make a few in the traditional pretzel shape.  They are definitely not as pretty as Auntie Anne's pretzels.  I think I need a bit more practice, but they're passable for a first time.

I tried to make a few in the traditional pretzel shape. They are definitely not as pretty as Auntie Anne’s pretzels. I think I need a bit more practice, but they’re passable for a first time.

 

These also went into a baking soda water bath and onto a greased cookie sheet.

These also went into a baking soda water bath and onto a greased cookie sheet.

 

 

I let them rise for about 20 minutes until they were a bit puffy, then I put them in a 450 degree F oven for about 8 minutes.  The instructions say 10, but my oven runs a little hot.

I let them rise for about 20 minutes until they were a bit puffy, then I put them in a 450 degree F oven for about 8 minutes. The instructions say 10, but my oven runs a little hot.

 

 

And here they are: hot and fresh!  I brushed them with melted butter and served them.  My hubby added cinnamon sugar to his.

And here they are: hot and fresh! I brushed them with melted butter and served them. My hubby added cinnamon sugar to his.

 

Were they EXACTLY like Auntie Anne’s?  No.  But they were pretty good.  They tasted more like Auntie Anne’s after they set out for about 10 minutes.  Fresh out of the oven, it was easier to tell that they were not exactly the same.  I’d give this recipe an A-, because it was very good, and it was pretty close to the original.  Plus these were a lot cheaper than if I bought them at the mall.  I’m sure I’d pay at least $3/pretzel or for 6 pretzel sticks.  I ended up with 7 pretzels and 22 pretzel sticks, so I would have spent at least $30 to buy this at Auntie Anne’s.  I spent less than a dollar on the entire recipe, saving myself over $29 dollars.  Not too bad for a lazy Saturday, huh?

 

Yummy Knock-off Auntie Anne's Pretzels.

Yummy Knock-off Auntie Anne’s Pretzels.

 

We will definitely make them again, but, as I often do, I’ll tweak the recipe just a tad bit.  If I stumble on something amazing, I promise that I’ll share it here first.

 

Have you ever tested a Knock-off recipe?  How did it work out for you?

I am planning to do more in this “Knock-off” series.  Is there anything you’d like me to try out?