Thursday, February 17, 2011

Choco-pretzel seduction

I've got visions of pretzels and chocolate dancing in my head.

I'm not talking demure little pliés. That City Bakery pretzel croissant sashays through my mind, unraveling buttery layers and flinging sesame seeds and salt crystals, and then shimmying into steaming hot chocolate in one of those giant martini glasses. Oysh. I think I'm in love.

Ever since last weekend I've been fantasizing about pretzel and chocolate combinations. So this week I've bookmarked a variety of recipes with elements I'd steal. It's another approach to recipe-gathering: Rather than try to find ideas for what to cook, you can start with your own nugget (an ingredient, a flavor, a theme) and use the recipes to help with the execution. Not all these look so hot on their own, but together they could launch a few bombshells.

This week in my culinary closet :

Appetizer: Chocolate Grilled Sandwich on a Pretzel Roll
- Basic method: Grilled Dark Chocolate Sandwich
- Creamy "hot chocolate" style filling: Chocolate Spread
- Pretzel rolls: Soft Pretzel Rolls, Pretzel Rolls, Signature Pretzel Bread

Main: Oven-Fried, Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Fingers with a Cocoa-Chile Rub (inspired in part by Angelo's unusual coffee, chipotle, and dill rub on Top Chef)
- Basic method: Oven Fried Chicken, Breadcrumb Baked Chicken, Spicy Oven Fried Chicken -- marinate chicken in spice blend. Dip in egg and oil, and then dredge in pretzel crumbs. Bake.
- Spice blend: Cocoa Rub (skip the salt, since the pretzels will bring that)

Dessert: Chocolate Stout Ice Cream with Pretzels

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