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Twisted Breadsticks

Twisted Breadsticks
Adapted from Food Network and The Other Side of Fifty
Makes about 14 to 16 breadsticks

1 ¾ cup warm water
1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
4 ½ to 5 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 clove garlic, finely minced
¼ cup parmesan cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 egg, lightly beaten
Coarse salt, for sprinkling

1. In a measuring cup, measure out warm water (should be warm to the touch, but not hot). Sprinkle yeast over top and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix salt and flour on low to blend. Pour in yeast mixture and mix to combine. Add olive oil and sugar, mixing to combine. With mixer still on low, add remaining flour, one cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes. (Or continue to knead with your electric mixer using the dough hook.) Place dough into a bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray and turn to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.
4. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray; set aside.
5. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together butter and garlic until butter is melted. Stir frequently to keep garlic from burning. Once melted, set aside and let cool slightly.
6. When dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Roll dough into a large 12x18-inch rectangle, about ¼-inch thick. With a pastry brush, brush the bottom (longer) half of the dough liberally with garlic butter (Don’t use all the butter. You’ll need some to brush the tops of your baked breadsticks.) Sprinkle as much parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning as desired over the garlic butter. Fold top half of dough over seasonings, pressing the edges to seal.
7. In a small bowl, mix lightly beaten egg with 1 to 2 teaspoons of water or milk to make an egg wash. Using a clean pastry brush, brush egg wash onto dough. Cut dough into 14 to 16 1 ½-inch strips, twist into spirals and place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Cover baking sheets with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes or until dough is slightly puffed up.
8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until breadsticks are golden brown. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Brush with remaining garlic butter and sprinkle coarse salt (or garlic salt) and more Italian seasoning. Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

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