Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls

Ahhh…cinnamon rolls. One of my most favorite breakfasts.  But, I don’t make them too often mostly because of the time they take to prepare. You know, all the waiting for the rising, makes cinnamon rolls more of a brunch fare. We usually have a light breakfast, while waiting for the cinnamon rolls. But, when I do make them, the time we wait is always worth it.  These rolls are the big, Cinnabon-at-the-mall-style cinnamon rolls.  I  always have a hard time passing them up, but they are so expensive usually I leave with just the Mochalatta chill.  I mean, one can only have so much willpower. Besides, I need the caffeine. So I tell myself anyways.

So, I started these rolls at 7:30am and we sat down to eat them at 10:30am.  This explains why the photo is of a half pan of rolls. NO ONE was going to wait any longer for photos. My husband, Justin, and I loved them.  But, my kids wouldn’t eat them.  They only eat the ones in the blue can, but with my homemade frosting only.  Even they have standards.  I’ll admit, I like those too. I’m no food snob. They are great in a pinch and something I know everyone will eat when I don’t feel like fighting the please-eat-something fight.  Ugh, oh well, more for me.  I ate one for breakfast everyday that week and they were delicious, just 1 minute in the microwave.   These cinnamon rolls bake up tall, with a crisp exterior and tender interior.  The cream cheese frosting is just plain amazing.  It is really thick and cheesecake-like. In fact, my daughter Sammie, after not eating her cinnamon roll, took the frosting bowl and was about to eat it like oatmeal before I grabbed it from her.  This is the same kid who only eats the frosting off her doughnut. Who does that?

Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12 large rolls

1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until ~105 degrees F.   I used the microwave

Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer.   Add the yeast and a pinch of sugar.   Stir into the milk.   Let stand until foamy, ~5 minutes.

Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour.  Mix well.  Knead with the dough hook on medium for ~4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl.  Cover with a damp towel.  Let rise in a warm place ~1 hour or until dough has nearly doubled in size.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Mix well with a spoon, spatula or even your hands.

Lightly flour your work surface (I used a pastry mat) and rolling-pin.  Roll the dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle,  ~1/4 inch thick.

Brush the dough with 1/3 cup melted butter.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the butter.

Roll the dough up starting with the longer side.  Cut into 12 rolls.   I cut the log in half, then each half in half.  Then you have 4 even pieces to cut into 3.  This way you get even sized rolls.

Spray a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with Pam. Arrange the 12 rolls in the dish.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

While the rolls rise, pre-heat the oven to 350F. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

While the rolls bake, make the frosting.  Beat together the cream cheese, soft butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Spread the frosting on the rolls while they are still warm.

Source:  Cate’s World Kitchen; originally from All-Recipes

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Sprinkles Cookies

Sprinkle cookies

Hello!  I’m sorry to have been gone so long.  I’ve really missed you and my blog….and I just had to share these sprinkles cookies from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.  I was scanning through Pinterest and the cuteness of these cookies caught my eye.  You know I’m always a sucker for sprinkles. Reading through the recipe, I was intrigued by the buttery sweet dough emulsion it called for.  Have you ever heard of this?  No?  Me neither.  Kristan said you could find it at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, but I could not.  And, while she said the ingredient was optional, it was not going to be for me.  I get my mind set on something and that’s it, it’s happening.  So, I just ordered it on Amazon and thank goodness with Prime I only had to wait 2 days.  Was it worth it?  Yes!  I loved the flavor it gave the cookies.  It’s the flavor of bakery cookies, you know the one you just can’t put your finger on and can’t seem to replicate? This is it.

At first, I thought these cookies were too sweet and I was disappointed. But, I swear, overnight some magical transformation took place and they were just perfect.  The cookie is buttery and soft.  The glaze hardens, adding sweetness and serving as glue for all those crunchy sprinkles.  My kids and husband went crazy for these, eating a fistful at a time.  I got about 50 adorable cookies, but that was not nearly enough. These cookies barely made it a day in this sugar-cookie-loving house.  Note to self: double recipe next time, okay?

Sprinkles Cookies

Yield: ~ 3 dozen ( I got 50)

Cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp buttery sweet dough emulsion  optional

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Glaze:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract  – clear if you want white glaze

3 oz jar rainbow nonpareils

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of your Kitchenaid, beat butter and sugar, on medium, until light and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttery sweet dough emulsion, if using. Beat until combined.

On low, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until a smooth dough forms.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum.  I took the dough out of the bowl, shaped it into a thick rectangle and wrapped it in Saran Wrap.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness on lightly floured counter or pastry mat. I found this dough to be crazy sticky- be liberal with the flour.  

Cut using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. I used a 2 1/4 inch scalloped cutter.  Place on baking sheet ~1 inch apart. They don’t spread so you can fit a lot of cookies on a sheet.

Bake for 6 minutes. Watch carefully. There should be little to no color.  Remove and let cool completely on wire rack.

For the glaze:

In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, water and vanilla extract until smooth.  You may need to add water to get the glaze consistency you want.

Dip the cookies in the glaze face down, letting the excess drip off.

Place the dipped cookies on a wire rack set over wax paper and sprinkle liberally. Let set for about an hour before serving.

Source:  Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Sprinkles cookies

Cook’s Country Ultimate Cinnamon Buns

I love anything by America’s Test Kitchen, especially Cook’s Country Magazine, so I have every issue.  Why do I love them so?   Well, first off, the recipes always work and the nerdy pharmacist in me enjoys reading the science behind the recipe.  Unlike Cook’s Illustrated (which I also love), it has colored pictures and recipes for everyday food that fits my family’s tastes (well, at least sometimes).  Every once in awhile, I pull them out and flip though them and last week I came across this recipe for Ultimate Cinnamon Buns.  They looked amazing, just like the crazy expensive Cinnabon cinnamon rolls.  I usually don’t make something so involved, not because I don’t like to.  Unfortunately I just don’t have the time or I choose to sleep instead. 😀  But, the recipe said I could prep them the night before and bake them in the morning.  So, I decided to make them on Saturday night after the kids went to bed for Sunday morning breakfast. But, when I went to make them at 9pm, I forgot you have to wait 2 hours for the dough to rise. So, I didn’t finish making the rolls until after midnight!  Not my brightest idea…I just hoped they were worth it.

In the morning my daughter asked me what was for breakfast and I was so excited to tell her homemade cinnamon rolls.  Sammie says “Can’t I just have my regular breakfast?”  Your regular breakfast is cereal, so no.  Geez!  This is another reason I don’t usually make something more labor intensive. 😀  But she ate it and my son did too, mostly because they loved the frosting, eating off the top off the rolls and leaving the bottoms.  Oh, well, I’ll take it.  My husband inhaled it and I thought it was delicious, very reminiscent of a Cinnabon roll. The bun is really tender due to the cornstarch and packed full of gooey cinnamon flavor due to double the amount of filling compared to most recipes.  So, while this may not be a recipe for everyday due to the time and let’s face it, calories, it would be a delicious special treat for a holiday breakfast.

Dough
3/4 cup warm whole milk (about 110 F)  Check temperature with a thermometer
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) rapid rise or instant yeast
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

Filling
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Glaze
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Put rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200F.  When the oven reaches 200 F, turn it off.  Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess to hang over edges.  Grease or spray the foil with cooking spray

Combine the warm milk and yeast in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup and whisk until the yeast dissolves.  Whisk in the eggs.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt.  Mix briefly to combine.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the warm milk mixture in a steady stream and continue mixing until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.  Increase the speed to medium and add the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated.  Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.  (If the dough is still wet and sticky after mixing 10 minutes, add flour, 1 T at a time (up to 1/4 cup), until the dough releases from the bowl.)  Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead to form a smooth ball.  Transfer the dough to a large greased/sprayed bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the warm oven.  Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

To make the filling: Whisk the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into an 18-inch square and spread it evenly with the softened butter.  Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and press gently.  Starting with the edge nearest you. roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch lightly to seal.  Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces (or 12 if you want smaller rolls) and transfer the pieces, cut side up, to the prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Make ahead:   After transferring the cut rolls to the greased pan, the buns can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.  When you are ready to bake the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking as below.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake the rolls (minus the wrap) for 35-40 minutes, or until they are deep golden brown, the filling is melted, and they are cooked through. While the buns bake, make the glaze by whisking the soft cream cheese, milk, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl and set aside.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and top the rolls with 1/2 cup of the glaze.  Let cool for 30 minutes then top with remaining glaze and serve. No way we could wait this long, so we ate them after about 15 minutes.  I think they are best warm anyways…

Source:  Cook’s Country Dec/Jan 2009

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I have been tagged by Choc Chip Uru to play a game of getting to know your fellow blogger friends.  Go Bake Yourself has to be the cutest name and her blog is just as cute.  Thank you my fellow baker friend for the opportunity and your support!

The Rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.  12 is kind of a lot, so you can do 6.
5. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

12 Things You Didn’t Know About Me:

1.  I have a pug named Walter Payton.  Named by my die hard Bears fan husband.

2.  When I was in college, I worked with a serial killer. So scary!

3.  I love horror movies.  I am always looking for the scariest movie ever, but I have yet to find one that really scares me. So, the search continues. 😀

4.  I married my high school sweetheart.  Awww…

5.  If I wasn’t a pharmacist, I would have either been a pastry chef or a forensic psychologist.

6.  I love true crime shows!

7.  I am Top Chef obsessed. I have probably seen every episode at least 5 times. Embarrased smile

8.   I don’t like nuts in any dessert

9.   My husband is crazy about sports.  I hate them, though I wish I liked them.

10.  My first concert was New Kids on the Block.

11.  I think I am one of the only people in the world that doesn’t like Nutella.

12.  My goal right now is to find a new job that I love….well, at least like.  I’ll take like.

Choc Chip Uru’s Questions:

1. Why do you blog?  I love to bake and I just really wanted to share some of the amazing recipes I have come across with others so they can enjoy them too.  Also, I have a huge cookbook collection that really needs to be put to use! 😀
2. Are you a social butterfly or do you like solitary weekends?  Solitary weekends with my family.
3. What is your dream job?  Pastry chef
4. If you could have any kitchen superpower, what would it be?  To wiggle my nose and have a dinner on the table that everyone would eat.  I love to bake, cooking not so much.
5. What is your most prized cooking possession?  My Kitchen Aid.  When it was broken for a week, I really missed it!
6. ‘When in doubt turn left’ – do you believe this?  No.  I check my GPS or pull over and get directions. 😀   I get anxious when I am lost, so I avoid it.
7. If you were stranded on a tropical dessert and had the choice 3 dishes to eat for the rest of your life, what would they be?  pizza, my mom’s homemade chicken pot pie, Portillo’s chocolate cake.
8. What is your worst kitchen nightmare?  Burning myself.  I never forgot the time in junior high when I made caramel and stuck my finger in it to see if it was done. I got so burned because the caramel was so hard to wash off. So not smart, but I was 12.
9. Do you think the Oscars were deserved this year?  Before kids, I used to have a party with tons of food and an Oscar pool.  But this year, I didn’t even know they were on until I was flipping through the channels. I didn’t watch because I didn’t see any of the movies.  My how things change..
10. What is your dream car?   I don’t really have one, but what I would really love is a driver.  I hate driving and then maybe I could get a bit extra sleep?
11. Name one wonderful childhood memory involving food :).  Making Christmas cookies with my mom.
12. If you could travel to anywhere in the universe, where would you go?  The Mediterranean.  For our honeymoon, my husband and I went on a Mediterranean cruise and we would love to go back.

My Questions:

1.  What is your favorite thing to bake?

2.  What is your signature dish?

3.  What is your biggest regret?

4.  What have you done that you are most proud of?

5.  What would be your last supper?

6.  What do you find most difficult about having a blog?

7.  If a movie was made about your life, what actor would you want to play you?

8.  What food will you never try and why?

9.  What is your profession?  Do you wish you were doing something else?  What?

10.  If you could eat at any restaurant, where would it be?

11.  Who do you respect the most and why?

12.  Who is your favorite celebrity chef?

Who am I tagging?

Most of the blogs I tagged I discovered through The Nest.  The blogs on the Nest are so amazing and were the inspiration behind me starting a blog of my own.  Thanks ladies!

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