Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls with Sprinkles

*Plan ahead... needs to rise.
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. flour, plus more for dusting 

1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. non-fat dry milk powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 c. unsalted butter, cold, and cut into 2 pieces
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sprinkles
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla

To make the dough: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until lukewarm. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and manually stir in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the softened butter, eggs, and salt. Scrape down the sides and manually stir as needed. Chunks of butter will remain. Gradually add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for about 2 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

Line the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving room on the sides. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling in, roll into a 15x12 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick, even at the corners.

To make the filling: In a food processor, combine the sugar, flour, milk powder, and salt. Process for 10 seconds. Add the pieces of butter and pulse for 10 more seconds. Add the vanilla over the top and pulse until the mixture is crumbly, about 10 more seconds. Toss in the sprinkles with a fork.

Spread dough with 3 Tablespoons of softened butter and top with cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cake mix filling over the top. There will be some leftover. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 12-inch-long log. Cut into 9 even rolls. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Cover the rolls with aluminum foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until they are golden. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes.

To make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla until smooth. Add more sugar or cream, depending how thick you want the glaze. Pour glaze over the rolls and serve warm.

This recipe is easily doubled to make 15-18 cinnamon rolls.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Avocado Egg Rolls with Dipping Sauce

So amazing and fairly easy to make. This recipe is for 3 egg rolls, but is easily doubled.

Dipping sauce ingredients
Egg Rolls:
1 large avocado or 1 1/2 medium avocados
1 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 tsp. cilantro, chopped
1/8 tsp. salt
3 egg roll wraps
1 egg, slightly whipped
oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:
1/8 tsp. white vinegar
Dipping sauce pureed
1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. cashews, chopped
1/3 c. cilantro
2 green onions
1 garlic clove
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 c. olive oil

To make the dipping sauce: In a bowl, mix together the vinegars and honey. Heat for 1 minute in the microwave.

Pour this mixture and all other dipping sauce ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor. Puree. Pour into a bowl and add the olive oil. Stir and refrigerate.
Egg rolls frying

To make the egg rolls: In a bowl, stir together the avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, and salt together.

Add 1/3 of the mixture onto the center of each egg roll wrapper.

Position the wrapper so the corner is pointing toward you. Fold the bottom corner up over the filling. Fold remaining corners up over the filling, brushing the corners with egg to secure in place. Roll up from the bottom, folding the top corner over all. Seal with egg and repeat for remaining wrappers. 

Ready to eat!
Fry egg rolls for 3-5 minutes in oil over medium high heat. Fry until golden brown.

Serve with dipping sauce.

We'll be making this recipe again and again. It's so good.

Here's a link to the original recipe:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Maple Oatmeal Cookies

*plan ahead... needs to chill

3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
8 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c. old fashioned oats

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. When mixture is cool, whisk in egg. Add dry ingredients to bowl and stir until combined. Stir in oats. Press plastic wrap over dough in bowl and let chill in refrigerator overnight. Don't cheat on this step.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 16 minutes. Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Balsamic Chicken Noodle

1 lb. angel hair pasta
1 Tbsp. oil
2 c. chicken, cubed
8 oz. baby spinach
4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1/3 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
1/3 c. olive oil
Parmesan, shredded

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, add the oil and chicken to a skillet. Cook until cooked through and lightly browned on the outside. Add in the baby spinach. Cook until reduced by half.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the vinegar, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

When the spinach is done cooking, remove from heat and add in a handful of Parmesan. Stir. Add in the cooked noodles. Toss. Drizzle the balsamic dressing over the top. Toss to coat. Serve hot with a bit more Parmesan sprinkled on top of each individual serving.

Here's a link to the recipe I adapted:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

10 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 egg yolks                                                                                                        
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
Baked cookies
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
24-25 candy cane Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.

Beat the butter and cream together with an electric mixer for 5 minutes on medium speed. Add in the yolks and vanilla. Beat until completely mixed in.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, while beating on low continually until the flour is fully combined. The dough should be thick. If it is sticky, chill in the fridge for 45 minutes.
Kissed cookies

Roll into tablespoon sized balls. Roll the balls in the sprinkles. Place on the prepared baking sheet - 12 balls on each sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look undercooked. That is what you want. Remove and let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Then press a candy cane kiss into the center of each cookie. Place the baking sheets in the fridge 5-10 minutes. This will keep the kisses from melting.

These cookies are cute, festive, and taste delicious.

Here is a link to the recipe I used:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

*Plan ahead... needs to freeze overnight. It's best to make the cheesecake the one day, and the cake the next day.

8 c. water
Cheesecake before baking
Cooking spray
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/3 c. sour cream
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Red Velvet Cake:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
Cheesecake after baking
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. red food coloring
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. white vinegar

Cream Cheese Icing:
2 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla   

To make the cheesecake: Preheat oven to 325 F. Place a roasting pan in the preheating oven, on a lower rack. Boil water.

Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place a round of wax or parchment paper on the bottom of the prepared pan, over the cooking spray. Wrap a double (or triple) layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Make sure it is sealed well so no water gets in while baking.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and salt, then beat for 2 minutes, making sure to scrape down the sides as needed. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix is sour cream, whipping cream, and vanilla, beating until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the oven. Carefully pour the boiled water into the roasting pan. There should be about an inch of water coming up the side of the springform pan.

One cake layer

Bake the cheesecake 45-55 minutes. The cake should be set, not jiggly. When it's finished baking, remove from the roasting pan and let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the cheesecake in the freezer overnight.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by greasing with Crisco first, then flouring. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt. Add the rest of the ingredients, and beat for 1 minute on medium low speed with an electric mixer. Scrape down sides, then beat for 2 minutes on high.

Divide the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans. Bake 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely before assembling.

First layer of icing to set
While your cakes are baking, now would be a good time to remove the cheesecake from the freezer to let it thaw a tiny bit before assembling.

To make the icing: In a large bowl, beat all of the ingredients together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

To assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a plate or platter.

Remove the sides of the springform pan. Slide a knife under the parchment paper and peel off. Layer the cheesecake on top of the bottom cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake. Trim the cakes or cheesecake as needed so the layers are evenly matched around the edges.

To ice the cake: Using a long spatula, apply one thin and even coat of icing to the whole cake. Place into the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the icing to set.

Once the first layer is set, apply the rest of the icing to the cake by first adding a large scoop of the icing on top of the cake, then spreading evenly with a spatula across the top and around the sides. Make sure to clean the spatula every time you return it to the icing bowl so no crumbs are visible in the icing.
Ready to serve

Keep this cake refrigerated.

There's a lot of steps, but it's worth it.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Salad with Candied Pecans

1 c. pecan halves
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
mixed greens
green apple or pear, chopped
strawberries, sliced
bleu cheese or feta, crumbled
raspberry dressing

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Set aside.

Stir sugar, oil, and vinegar in a large skillet over medium heat until sugar melts and syrup bubbles, about 3 minutes. Mix in pecans and stir until nuts are toasted and syrup coats them evenly, 5-6 minutes.

Turn nuts out onto prepared baking sheet, and separate using 2 forks. Cool completely.

When the pecans have cooled completely,  mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss. Serve. We make this salad all the time.

You can make the candied pecans a day or two ahead before making the salad, just make sure to store them in an airtight container.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
Cookies cooling
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. confectioners sugar
3 Tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease 2 baking sheets with crisco. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric beater. Add in one egg at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
Cookies with icing

Gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.

Roll cookie dough into 2 Tablespoon sized balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 10-13 minutes or until the bottoms start to turn golden. Cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

To make the icing: Combine the milk and sugar in a bowl. Stir until all the lumps are gone. Spread gently over the cooling cookies. Let the icing set before serving or storing in an airtight container.

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Orange Cranberry Bread

1/4 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter, cold

Cooking spray
Before baking
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh cranberry, chopped
1 large egg
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 F.

To make the streusel: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon together. Grate in the cold butter. Then mash it up into large crumbs. Set aside.

To make the bread: Spray a bread pan with cooking oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cranberries.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugars. Make sure there are no lumps. Then whisk in the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Whisk until just combined.

After baking
Pour into the prepared bread pan. Top evenly with the streusel. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing. If you get impatient, and don't let it cool completely, it will not come out of the pan well.

This bread is delicious and moist. A crowd pleaser.

Here is a link to the original recipe I adapted: 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Peppermint Bark

17 oz. white chocolate (not white chips), finely chopped
First layer
30 hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. peppermint extract

Turn a large baking sheet upside down, and cover it securely with aluminum foil. Measure out a 9x12-inch rectangle on the foil.

Put the white chocolate in a metal bowl, and set it over a saucepan of barely simmering water. (Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water.) Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth; if you take its temperature with a candy thermometer, it should register 110 F.

White chocolate and peppermint
Remove the chocolate from the heat. Pour 2/3 cup onto the rectangle on the foil. Using an icing spatula, spread the chocolate to fill the rectangle. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

Combine the bittersweet chocolate, cream, and peppermint extract in a heavy medium saucepan. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator, and pour the bittersweet chocolate mixture over the white chocolate rectangle. Using an icing spatula, spread the bittersweet chocolate in an even layer. Chill until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Bittersweet chocolate layer
Rewarm the remaining white chocolate over barely simmering water to 110 F. Working quickly, pour the white chocolate over the firm bittersweet layer, using your icing spatula to spread it to cover. Sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.

Carefully lift the foil from the baking sheet onto a large cutting board. Trim away any ragged edges of the rectangle. Using a metal spatula, slip the bark off of the foil and onto the cutting board. Cut the bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections, and then cut each section diagonally into 2 triangles. Or just cut it into the size pieces you want.

Peppermint Bark

Pack into an airtight container, with sheets of wax paper between layers of bark to prevent them from sticking to one another. Store in the refrigerator. Serve cold or let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Here's a link to the recipe I used: