Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, ALEX JANE, and her favorite recipe for EASY HOMEMADE SOFT PRETZELS!!
TINSEL FIXES EVERYTHING
Holiday Gay Romance
BY ALEX JANE
They say you never get over your first love.
After a meteoric rise to baseball stardom, Chase Meadow’s dream is cut short and he’s back home for good, helping his brothers run the family bar while he finds his feet. Plenty of things have changed since he left for college. Although one thing he recognizes right away is Joel Levine.
From setting eyes on the skinny, stammering teen their first day of high school, until reluctantly parting five years later, the two of them had been inseparable. And now, Joel is definitely someone not easily forgotten.
But as Chase settles back into hometown life, he finds that under the superficial differences—the leather jacket and tattoos—Joel is still the same person he fell for when they were fifteen. While they’re both older and wiser, Chase never stopped loving Joel. And as Christmas rolls closer, Chase starts to think that maybe Joel never stopped loving him either.
They say you never get over your first love.
Some people don’t have to.
25K Release Date – 7th December 2018
As Chase dropped a handful of coins into the slot and punched a couple of numbers, he heard the doors open and felt a blast of cold air on his neck. He was too busy choosing the next track, listening to the 45 slot into place and start playing to pay any attention to the newcomers settling in. That was until Justin moaned next to him.
“Jesus. You think I could pass for eighteen yet? ‘Cause I’m dying to find out if that’s false advertising or not.”
Chase scowled at Justin and muttered, “Don’t let you mother hear your say that or she’ll have you under house arrest until you’re legal.” Except, when he glanced over his shoulder, he saw right away what all the fuss was about. The guy was sex on legs and, even after all this time, he’d know Joel Levine anywhere.
Joel was already walking away, heading for the door with his leather jacket clutched in one fist. The tight jeans that hugged his thighs were worn in places, and the chain that hung from his waist to his back pocket swung against his leg as he moved. The tight black t-shirt that stretched over his shoulders—that showed off the tattoos that covered his arms all the way to his knuckles—had something crude written on the back that Chase knew for a fact to be true. At least, it was the last time he’d seen the guy—five years and a broken heart ago.
For a second, Chase thought, hoped, that Joel was leaving but an older guy he’d come in with—Eric, if he wasn’t mistaken—grabbed him roughly by the neck and pulled him back about the same time Tyler’s voice came from behind the bar.
“Justin, kitchen,” adding, when the boy started to open his mouth to protest, “Don’t test me today. Kitchen.” It was the no-nonsense voice that got his nephew moving although he did roll his eyes at Chase before he went. Chase didn’t get yelled at but he headed for the bar obediently when Tyler crooked his finger at him.
“I need to get a crate from the cellar. You okay to serve?”
Chase clenched his jaw and glared at his brother. “You’re shitting me?” he hissed out in a harsh whisper. “Don’t do this. Please.” He glanced over to the table full of bikers who were making themselves comfortable. Joel stood with his head down, nodding slightly while he listened to whatever Eric was saying. It looked a little like a dressing down but he couldn’t make it out over the music.
“All I’m asking you to do is serve some beer. You can do that, right?” Tyler’s voice was steady and somewhat amused. Chase almost didn’t catch the teasing tone in his panic.
“You complete bastard. You planned this. I don’t believe you. You—”
Tyler smirked and cuffed him on the arm. “Gonna have to face him sometime. Just think of it as ripping off the band-aid.”
Chase would have cussed him again but he saw movement out of the corner of his eye and knew exactly who he was going to see when he turned around.
After spending far too long creating stories in her head, Alex finally plucked up the courage to write them down and realized it was quite fun seeing them on the page after all.
Free from aspirations of literary greatness, Alex simply hopes to entertain by spinning a good yarn of love and life, wrapped up with a happy ending. Although, if her characters have to go through Hell to get there, she’s a-okay with that.
With only a dysfunctional taste in music and a one-eyed dog to otherwise fill her days, Alex writes and walks on the South Coast of England—even when her heart and spellcheck are in New York.
Links to Alex’s website, blog, books, etc.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Alex is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 399 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
Note from Alex: When I was writing this story, there’s a scene where Chase ends up at a Christmas market. It’s kinda magical with music and a carousel and loads of those little huts selling Christmas ornaments and food and all that stuff…and it got me thinking about giant pretzels. Which I had never tried. So, I decided to make some!
I based my recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction – Easy Homemade Soft Pretzel’s – https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/easy-homemade-soft-pretzels/ although I only made half the amount and fudged some of the ingredients.
After turning the oven on to hot (my oven is terrible but I was aiming for the suggested 204˚C/400˚F), I put 1 and 1/8 teaspoon of yeast in 3/4 cup of warm water and let it sit in a big bowl to wake up while I got the rest of the stuff together.
The rest of the stuff being 1/2 tablespoon of salted butter (I didn’t have unsalted) which I melted and cooled a bit, 1/2 tablespoon of light brown sugar (she didn’t specify shade, so I figured it would be okay) and a scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt (to compensate for the salted butter).
I mixed that into the yeast and water and then added 2 cups of plain flour (I figured that was the same as all purpose flour) one half cup at a time.
By the time I got to the last cup of flour only about half incorporated, so I just tipped the whole lot out and kneaded it for three mins, and the rest got gobbled up anyway. Then I left it to rest under a towel and started the bicarb water….which was just 1/4 cup of Bicarbonate of Soda(which the internet assured me was the same as baking soda) in some water. It was probably more than four cups but it seemed to work okay.
Then came the shaping of the dough!
I cut mine into eight pieces (so not quite a giant pretzel for my first time around), then rolled each one into a 40cm/16” rope. Well, I tried. The first one was horrible as I’d floured the surface and the dough was quite dry, it really didn’t want to do it. But after dampening my hands (just a little) it worked out fine. Then do the twisty thing (arms up, cross hands, cross again, bring down) and you have a pretzel!
By the time I had them done and an oven tray with a sheet of baking parchment ready, the water was boiling. I used a timer to dunk each pretzel each for 20/30 seconds, drained and arranged. Top tip – place the pretzel in the water, don’t lower it on your slotted spoon. The thing will get stuck to the spoon and there will be much flailing around trying to get it off without missing your 20 second window.
I only had salt for a grinder…but no grinder, so I crushed some crystals in a bowl with the end of my rolling pin (I tried a spoon…it wasn’t working) and sprinkled that on, then popped them in the oven for 15 mins ( I checked at 12 mins but they definitely weren’t ready)
They came out gorgeous, doing that cracking thing which I just think looks lovely, and they tasted amazing! Well… once I brushed most of the salt off as that was a bit too much for me.
Sally suggests having a nacho cheese dip which I thought sounded…no…but once I’d eaten one pretzel, I was very much in favor of giving that a try!
Definitely tastier warm from the oven, I will be making these again. And if you have small people who like cooking, I bet it would be a great thing for them to try. Easy, fun, minimum of mess and delicious! Check out the original recipe for a slightly more competent way of going about things.
Thanks, Alex, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!