Shrimp are not necessary a Valentine’s Day staple, but in our home this is a dish that reminds us of our first Valentine’s Day together.
We wanted a fun place close by that served seafood so we decided on Bahama Breeze last V-day. We ordered the signature coconut shrimp appetizer while we were waiting on our table. Jumbo shrimp perfectly butterflied with a sweet crunch dipped into a sauce that always makes my mouth water.
If you have not been to a Bahama Breeze before – try and picture a Caribbean themed restaurant filled with wicker chairs and tropical drinks. Usually there is some sort of live band playing island music. The atmosphere is so light and fun it really is just a bonus that the food is pure heaven.
So the other night we were debating on what to eat at the grocery store when I spotted jumbo shrimp on sale. I dipped them in a sweet and salty coconut panko mix that is a spot on copy cat texture. I was shocked when I researched the citrus sauce and saw Bahama Breeze has the recipe posted on their website! It truly is the perfect companion to these shrimp.
Who can say no to the buttery pretzel scent that is always lingering in the mall? Soft and fluffy drenched in butter. They have such a great consistency that is so difficult to replicate. Often times you find copycat recipes online that promise to deliver the same taste, but with wholesome ingredients. I always feel like I’ve been let down. Sure they come out nice, but it just isn’t the same as what I was craving.
This recipe IS the mall pretzel dupe! I would almost be as bold as to say they are better than the mall pretzels. I gave some to my dad and brother over the weekend. They were powerful enough to turn my dad (a non pretzel believer). He said the buttery dough had a sweetness that had him reaching for seconds and thirds!
Imagine all that soft pretzel goodness with a side of cheddar beer dip. I used a Sam Adams hoppy red brew. The bitter beer with the deep cheddar flavor was the perfect pair with my pretzel.
2 cups of 2% milk warmed (not too hot to kill the yeast)
2 packets of active yeast
½ tsp salt
1 stick of melted butter separated (slightly cooled)
1 egg plus 1 tsp water (egg wash)
2 tsp baking soda
6 cups of boiling water
FOR THE CHEDDAR BEER DIP:
2 oz of shredded sharp cheddar
½ cup of beer (I used Hoppy Red, pumpkin beer would also be super yummy)
red pepper, paprika and garlic powder to taste
1 tbsp flour
4 tbsp butter
FOR THE PRETZELS:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I used a bread machine, but you can use a mixer with bread paddle. Combine the flour, yeast, salt, ½ stick of butter, sugar and milk in the bread machine. ( If using a standing mixer then mix the milk, sugar and yeast first to active then add other ingredients) My bread machine will knead and rise the dough for 2 hours. You can also let the dough rise in a warm area, covered. The dough will double in size. Once the dough has risen, cut into 8 equal sections on a floured surface.
Start to boil your water and baking soda. Roll each section into a long rope about 1½ inches thick. I turn my dough into a U shape then tie into a standard pretzel. I made jumbo pretzels, but you can make smaller portions. Just remember whatever size you have once you finish rolling will double in the baking soda bath.
Dip each pretzel into the boiling water and splash a little on the top of the pretzel. Do not let them boil for more then 30 seconds each. The longer the dough boils the chewier the dough will be. Place on a prepared pan and brush with egg wash.
Bake for 10 minutes then brush each pretzel with melted butter then sprinkle with salt. Bake for remaining 10 minutes. ( The time will vary depending on the size of the pretzel. You are looking for golden brown) Let cool then enjoy!
FOR THE CHEDDAR BEER DIP
Melt butter in a sauce pan and add flour. Whisk continuously until the combination begins to brown. Add in the beer. The sauce will thicken very quickly. Just keep stirring. You can add more beer or even milk to thin out if needed. Add in the cheese and seasonings. Whisk until all the cheese is melted. Serve immediately!