Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cinnamon Roll Perfection!

These were the cinnamon rolls of my dreams and I almost gave up on the recipe before I really gave it a try. 


If you’ve read this DSC02975post or this one then you know I’ve wanted to master yeast so I could whip up a batch of cinnamon rolls for my children on Christmas morning.  During my initial foray into yeast and cinnamon roll baking I received lots of encouragement and offers of recipes.  This was one of those recipes. 

Lori from Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness sent me an email telling me of a recipe that was both easy and good.  I suggested we bake them together and post them at the same time.  Lori, the sweetie agreed. For the record this was back in November. 


The first time I made this recipe I made some changes….bad move.  My first mistake was thinking I was proficient enough to make changes. :(  The second was using all purpose flour instead of the bread flour.  I do think my biggest mistake was not baking the cinnamon rolls after their second rise.  After cutting the dough into rolls I placed them into my pans and then placed the pans into the fridge so I could bake them in the morning.  When I pulled them out to bake the next morning I didn’t realize things anything was wrong until we tasted them.


While the cinnamon rolls were good, they weren’t great. For the amount of time and effort I put into them they needed to be more than just good.  In my (& the Twins’) opinion they weren’t as good as the no yeast cottage cheese ones that I blogged about here.   I have to say I was pretty disappointed but felt the recipe deserved another try as I did change some things.  It wouldn’t have been fair to give it a thumbs down when in all likelihood it was me not recipe. My other thought was perhaps I’m just a weirdo who doesn’t like homemade cinnamon rolls made with yeast.  


After making the cinnamon roll recipe again this past weekend I realize that the dough does not keep well overnight.  This time around I followed Lori’s recipe exactly (I didn’t frost mine with cream cheese) and my cinnamon rolls baked up beautifully.  Better yet they tasted exactly how I thought a homemade cinnamon roll should. The twins and I loved them.  (One of the twins thinks we should do a side by side comparison of this recipe and the cottage cheese one but it ain’t happening!)  We’re not weirdoes and my Pillsbury cinnamon roll preferring daughter had one last night and one today which says a lot as she has claimed not to like homemade cinnamon rolls.  YAY! 


Frosted Cinnamon Rolls, printable recipe & tips

adapted from a Taste of Home Recipe & Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

1 cup milk

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups bread flour

1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix

1 T sugar

1 T active dry yeast


1/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


(you can put the remainder of the pudding in the frosting if you like.)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1 1/2 t milk

1/2 t vanilla extract

In a bowl or in a mixer, combine flour, vanilla pudding mix, salt, sugar and yeast.  In another bowl combine milk and water.  Make a well in the center of the flour or beat in with a KA- the milk and water. Add the egg and the softened butter to that well or the KA.  Stir the mixture together in the center, pulling the flour into the mix, until all the flour is incorporated. Add more flour or water, depending on what is needed. If the dough feels dry add a tablespoon of water.  If the dough is too sticky add a tablespoon of flour.  Knead the dough on a surface or continue to knead in a mixer, whichever you are using.  When it is a soft and smooth, place in a bowl, cover and let rise until it had doubled in size- about an hour.  (I put my bowl in the oven with the light on.  It took just over an hour.)


After the rise, roll out the dough to a 17x10 inch square.  Spread with butter; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Roll, jelly roll style, starting from long end.  Pinch sides and seam to seal.  Cut into 20 or 21 pieces.  Place 12 slices in a 13x9x2 inch pan.  Place the remaining 9 rolls in a 9 inch pan. Cover and let rise until doubled- about 45 minutes.  Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 (mine were done in 18 mins) minutes until golden brown.  Frost warm rolls.


Please hop over to check out Lori’s cinnamon rolls.  Not only does she make terrific cinnamon rolls, she is also fearless in the kitchen and leaves me in awe of all that  she whips up. Thanks Lori for the recipe and for your patience with me!  I’d also like to thank Katy, Coleen, and Monica who went out of their way to send me encouraging emails and “held” my hand. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bars are Better than Cookies

DSC02710 As I mentioned in this post I made these cranberry crumbs bars while waiting for my cookie dough to chill.  They are an excellent example of how bars are better than cookies.  :)

I’m not going to lie to you. These are a little more time intensive than most bar recipes with the zesting and juicing but they are so worth the effort AND are still quicker than cookies.  My mom who had requested cookies said she enjoyed the bars MORE than the cookies.   I personally loved them though I can’t decide if I preferred them at room temp or straight from the fridge.  The only person who didn’t gobble them down was my Dad and that’s because he thinks he only likes cherries and apples in his desserts!


Thanks, Abby for passing along a great recipe.  For those of you who haven’t been to Abby’s blog, Confabulation in the Kitchen I suggest you hop on over.  She has a lot of really good recipes, both sweet and savory.

Cranberry Crumb Bars, printable recipe

Adapted from Allrecipes, Smitten Kitchen, & Confabulation in the Kitchen

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest and juice of one orange

4 cups fresh cranberries

1/2 cup white sugar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.  I lined mine with aluminum foil.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and orange zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the 1/2 sugar, cornstarch, and orange juice. Gently mix in the cranberries. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.  These are bars are very good served cold.

*Smitten Kitchen used blueberries and lemons.  I'm thinking raspberry and limes.


Click here for another great cranberry recipe!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


In my last post I mentioned it had been years since I baked cookies but that I ended my cookie boycott this Christmas and baked some with my mom.


When I found out my parents were going to be in town for the holidays, I quickly told my mom that I would take a day off so we could bake some Christmas goodies together.  I guess I should have been more specific about what we would make as her mind went straight to cookies.  Her and my dad’s favorites, Raspberry thumbprints and Mexican wedding cookies.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t want to make cookies but I did whine a lot about how much work they are.  


I’d like to say this foray into cookie baking changed my opinion but it didn’t.  It confirmed it.  Cookies are time consuming and a lot of work.  Bars ARE better!  :)  Were they good? Yes!  They were very good but for the amount of work I really didn’t get many cookies.  And you know, no one eats two or three slices of cake at one time but two or three cookies?!  That’s just getting started.  Every time some one went into the kitchen they grabbed one (or two), well with seven people in the house  those 36/40 cookies just didn’t last.  As a matter of fact there were only a few of each one left by the end of the night.


Click here for the thumbprint recipe I used from Land o Lakes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t  find the wedding cookie recipe that we used and none of the ones I saw on the web looked familiar.  Sorry.  The good news is while the recipe was good it wasn’t “oh, my gosh this is the best cookie recipe I’ve ever had in my cookie eating life.” good so you’re not missing out.  :)DSC02756

Here’s a picture of the official cookie ball roller, my Mom, Linda. 


See that photo below?  I made a pan of cranberry crumb bars while waiting for the cookie dough to chill.  We’ll talk about their yumminess in a later post along with a couple of other things I made.DSC02742

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It’s Snowing in Florida….

Here are photos  of the snow flakes I received.  They came from Texas.  :)

snow flake cookies3

For those that are new to my blog you may not know that cookies and me don’t get along.  Actually I don’t have a problem with cookies.  It’s the cookie baking that I have issues with.  And not issues like I can’t bake them.  It’s more like I don’t like to bake them. Now don’t get me wrong I like eating them just fine but I’d much rather bake something else.  Give me cake, ice cream, cupcakes, brownies, blondies, cinnamon rolls anything but cookies. (Bars are probably me favorite.  So quick. So easy. Sooo  good.)  Until this Christmas I couldn’t tell you when the last time it was that I baked cookies.  (More coming on those.) The closest I’ve  come to cookies were these snickerdoodle blossoms and the pizzookies

snow flake cookies

I have to be honest, I had high hopes that someone would take pity (Donna!) on my cookieless self and spend me a few.  :) Well, for New Year’s I received snow flakes from Texas!  Monica from Lick the Bowl Good sent me these beauties!  Not only were they gorgeous but they tasted wonderful!  I can’t begin to tell you how excited the kids were to see the cookies, you would have thought Monica sent the cookies to them.  I hated to break it them…..but no guys Miss Monica did NOT send you the cookies.  She sent them for Mommy.  You should have heard them arguing with me about that and about how I should share,  and blah, blah, blah!  :)  I shared but I wasn’t happy.

snow flake cookies4

Visit Monica’s post here if you’d like the recipe.  If I want firm but tender flavorful sugar cookies I can bake them myself but if I want delicious AND beautiful ones I’ll call Monica!  Thanks for the snow flakes Monica!  Oh, and Babygirl said you can send cookies anytime you want!  :)

snow flake cookies2

*All the photos were courtesy of Monica.  There was no time for photo taking and the kids were NOT going to be put off.  You would think  we never have cookies! :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ringing in the New Year with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Pound Cake


Hope everyone had a fantastic New Year!  I did. I started mine off right, with family and cinnamon cream cheese pound cake.   When I first saw this pound cake on Michelle’s blog, One Ordinary Day I knew it was only a matter of time before I baked one up for myself.  I would have actually made it sooner except I couldn’t find the cinnamon ‘n brown sugar cream cheese that she used.  I finally decided to make my own (cream cheese + brown sugar + cinnamon = cinnamon n’ brown sugar cream cheese!) .  I think it worked well.  To allow the flavors to  meld together I made it a week or so in advance. 


Outside of  the cream cheese issue this was a snap to throw together.  I was a bit unsure about the size of my bundt pan so I reserved some of the batter and baked three mini bundts.  After the larger bundt finished baking I realized I didn’t need to be concerned but it worked out well as it left me with the minis to photograph.   My parents who were in town for the holiday season were NOT waiting for me to take photos and the kids are never keen on waiting.  This was a hit with everyone.  My Dad really enjoyed it and said his favorite part was the crunchy crust that formed on the top which once flipped out of the pan became the bottom.  He might have also really liked the glaze! :) 


Cinnamon Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

8-oz. Philadelphia Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Spice Swirl cream cheese, room temperature (I made my own)

3 c. granulated sugar

6 large eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

Cinnamon Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly spray a 12-cup bundt pan with baking spray, such as Baker’s Joy.

Place butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Add sugar, increase mixer to high speed, and beat for 5 minutes, until mixture is light and airy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla and cinnamon, then flour and salt all at one time.  Beat just until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and even out the top.  Bake until cake is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove cake from oven to a cooling rack.  Cool in pan for 20 minutes.  Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.  Glaze with cinnamon glaze.

Cinnamon Glaze

1 c. powdered sugar (I used 3/4 cup)

2 Tbsp. milk (I used heavy cream)

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (I omitted mixing it in.  Instead I grated some on top with McCormick’s cinnamon spice grinder)

Mix ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cake. (Because I didn’t use a full cup of powdered sugar and I used heavy cream my glaze was thick.  I had to make a second batch of “glaze” as everyone wanted more for their slice. With my mini bundts I forgot to grate cinnamon on top.)


*You should be able to click on the recipe title to get to a printable recipe page.  Please let me know it it works or not.  I’m trying something new. Thanks!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a safe one. 

I wish you a 2010 filled with friends, family, lots of yummy good food, and extra funds for those pricey ingredients! :)

Ingrid & family