By Kevin Williams
It's a rite of autumn for our family. The last full weekend of September means one thing for us: the Pretzel Festival in Germantown, Ohio. I love this festival because it's so the perfect size for a family with young kids. It's not a sprawling festival spread out over blocks. And it's not so jam packed like some fall festivals where you feel like you're spending more time waiting in line for apple fritters then you are eating them. And, besides, who doesn't like pretzels. This festival has pretzels with cream cheese, with cheese, with ranch, sweet pretzels, small pretzels, huge pretzels. Add to that some music and friendly people all under a crystal blue autumn sky, and it just has all the trappings of a great outing. Here are some scenes.
I took one photo down because, well, it might have identified her even if the face wasn't visible.I spotted a German Baptist woman with her children at the playground near the festival. She, you could tell by the dress, is most likely a member of the German Baptist Brethren, New Conference. A split in the Brethren church about 10 years ago created an "Old Conference" and a "New Conference." The New Conference has adopted technology with increasing zest and their dress is often really not even Plain anymore. The women still wear head-coverings, but the bright, festive patterns on dresses differ greatly from the solid colors of more traditional Brethren. So that was my "Plain element" of the festival.
This is a recipe from Holmes County, Ohio, an Amish cook near Berlin:
¾ teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup sugar
⅔ cup brown sugar
Scant ½ cup (2 ounces) flour
1 (12 ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 ½ sticks ( ¾ cups) butter
1 /2 cup walnuts (OPTIONAL)
1 par-baked pie shell
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the vanilla. Whisk in the sugar and brown sugar until incorporated, then whisk in the flour. Fold in half of the chocolate chips until evenly incorporated. (add walnuts here if you want to add nuts)
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining chocolate chips until melted and combined.
3. Fold the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the large bowl with the rest of the filling. Pour the filling into the par-baked pie shell. Place the pie in the oven and bake just until the pie sets (it will jiggle just slightly when tapped), 30 to 45 minutes.
4. Remove and cool completely before serving.
And, since this is the pretzel festival post, if you want a recipe for great Amish homemade pretzels, click here!