This weekend had its ups and downs. Obviously, living in St. Louis, the biggest “up” was the Cardinals making it into the World Series. Sorry Brewers! I always hate to see the opposing team after they lose a game. They look so sad, but we have been on that side of the fence before, and I have to keep reminding myself that someone has to lose. It would be pretty boring if all professional sports ended in ties.
We had been planning for weeks to go apple-picking on Sunday. It was a beautiful day here in Missouri, and I had already decided what I would be making with my bounty of apples. We set out on our annual journey, winding our way through Calhoun County in Illinois. This is a beautiful area that seems like it was frozen in time. I even saw an actual clothesline in someone’s yard….EEK! I bet my kids have no idea what those are. Heck, I barely know what they are. While we were waiting in line to catch the car ferry, we decided to call the apple orchard to make sure they would be open. To our suprise, the message on their voicemail indicated that they were “out of apples.” WHAT??? How could an apple orchard be out of apples? I was, and still am, very disappointed! I can see all of those families that went over there to pick apples, letting their kids fill their bags just for the heck of it, and then the apples are rotting somewhere because they have no intention of eating that many apples. Sigh….oh well. I guess I can purchase my apples from the grocery store this year. If anyone has any apples that they would like to donate to the “Cheri Needs Apples” fund, I would happily take them and make them into apple pie for you.
Friday night was actually a pretty good evening. We didn’t have much going on, so I had time to think about a few special treats I wanted to make. I had previously made homemade cinnamon rolls, but they were a disaster and they took forever. I wanted to give them another try. I have been baking quite a bit, so I feel like I have a better handle on how to deal with making homemade bread. This time my cinnamon rolls were a success. They were really good and smelled amazing. I should have let them bake longer because my rolls in the middle were not quite done. Other than that….perfection! You could top these with a glaze, cream cheese icing or a pecan/brown sugar mixture. Actually, they may even be good plain.
Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Red Star Yeast.”
Adapted from: Mangio Da Sola
2 1/2 teaspoons rapid rising yeast (1 package)
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted (cool slightly before using)
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 1/2 cups flour (bread or AP)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
In large bowl of stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Using the paddle attachment, mix in sugar, butter, salt and eggs. Once the liquid is combined, replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour. Once all of the flour has been added, let the mixer knead the dough for 5 minutes. Form the dough into a tight ball.
Lightly oil a large bowl (I use cooking spray). Place the dough into the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon until it is completely combined.
Once the dough has rested, begin rolling it out into a large rectangle, about 16×21. Using a spatula, cover the dough with the softened butter. Leave space around the perimeter of the dough to ensure a good seal once it is rolled.
Take the cinnamon sugar mixture and sprinkle it over the buttered dough. Use your rolling pin to go over the cinnamon sugar mixture to push it down into the dough.
Begin rolling the dough up from the shorter side ensuring that it is rolled tightly. Using unflavored dental floss (or a sharp knife), cut the long roll into individual rolls. Place rolls into greased 9×13 baking pan. You can cover and refrigerate overnight, removing approximately 1 hour before baking. You can also cook immediately, baking for 15-20 at 400 degrees.
Prepare icing by mixing together softened cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Spread over the top of baked, slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.
17 Oct 2011 1 Comment
08 Sep 2011 1 Comment
Apparently I had a vendetta against myself this morning. I have to be at work at 7:30am, so I give myself exactly 20 minutes to wake up, take a shower, get dressed and make it out the door. It almost NEVER happens in 20 minutes, but I almost always make it to work on time. This morning I decided to take the time to look at myself in the mirror. Now, only giving myself 20 minutes to get ready doesn’t allow for time to look in the mirror. So looking in the mirror this morning automatically put me behind. Upon looking in the mirror, I see things that clearly I have been missing because of my lack of time to look in the mirror….my eyebrows! Ok, so they aren’t resembling Cindy Crawford in the 80s, myself in the 90s, or my friend “T” today (name hidden, but she knows who she is). But I do see some hairs that are breaking ranks. Time to pluck! Plucking eyebrows is not fun, and it makes my eyes water. I would rather get them waxed, but because I spend all of my free time in the kitchen or at sporting events with the kids, I am forced to pluck. This was not the way I wanted to start my morning….at this point I’m really late because not only did I stop to look in the mirror, I have spent 1 minute plucking eyebrows. What was I thinking?!
I rush down the steps and realize that I still have to put the green beans in the crockpot for dinner tonight. Ok, now I’m really in trouble because I haven’t chopped the onions that need to go in with the green beans. Do you like chopping onions? I don’t! So I made my eyes water with the plucking and now I was making them water again with the onions. I’m not sure why I torture myself in these ways, but I’m over it now.
Just like last week, I spent the evening in the kitchen preparing baked goods for our United Way fundraiser. It’s so much fun to do the research to find the perfect recipe, and I think I found 2 really good ones. The only problem is that one of them took a LOT more time then I had planned. What’s new? Right now i’m going to post the one that took far less time, and received rave reviews. These are not complicated to make, and it would be difficult to mess these up. My son even had an idea to modify this recipe and I plan to try that out soon.
So, if you are short on time like me, then make these for a breakfast, brunch or a work fundraiser and you will have more time to spend with your family….if that’s what you like to do. If not, you can spend the extra time stalking old boyfriends/girlfriends on Facebook.
Adapted from: Pass the Sushi
Makes 12 Danishes
3 tubes of Crescent Rolls
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese – softened
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp. butter (melted)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
Unroll dough, and leave the croissants attached in groups of 2s. They should stay attached at the slanted edge so you have 2 croissants that form a rectangle. They should like like this: [\] Smooth out the perforated edge between the 2 croissants and brush the rectangle with melted butter. Sprinkle each rectangle with brown sugar and then roll up, starting with the longer edge (make sure to press the seam to seal it). Bend the roll to form a circle, but bring one of the ends inside the circle to form a tighter pastry.
Place the danishes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and use your fingers to create a well in the middle of the pastry for the cream cheese mixture. Fill the middle of the pastry with a heaping tablespoon (or more) of the cream cheese mixture.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Prepare the glaze by placing the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk into a medium sized bowl and either mixing by hand or using a mixer to combine until smooth. Drizzle glaze over danishes once they have cooled completely.
01 Sep 2011 1 Comment
I have never understood something about blueberries. For me, blueberries have zero appeal outside of a baked good. I have never found them to taste good when they are raw. My husband seems to enjoy them raw. I think he ate an entire container of them in one day. If I want to use them in a recipe, I have to use them immediately or my family will eat them and my recipe will be short on blueberries. Again, I don’t understand why they like these raw and boring pieces of fruit, but I’m not going to question them about it because I know that they are really good for you.
Now, once you put these little, tasteless berries into a baked good, they turn into one of the most delightful treats on the planet. I love them in scones, muffins, pancakes, and cupcakes, and I think that most people like them that way too.
If there is any baking that needs to be done, most people know that I am the first
dummy person to raise my hand. I just love to spend 5 hours in my kitchen baking up something wonderful. No, really I do. It sounds crazy, but the most relaxing part of my day is spending time in my kitchen baking. So when my coworker asked me to bring a baked good for our United Way fundraiser, I jumped at the opportunity. My baking-obsessed mind moved right towards a recipe that I have made several times. It is a blueberry muffin that adds a secret ingredient – lemon zest – and has a delicious streusel topping. This was one of the first muffins I ever made, and it was a huge hit with my coworkers.
If you are ever asked to prepare a breakfast, baked item, I highly recommend this one. It’s easy and tastes like it took days to prepare. These muffins were gone in less than 30 minutes, and people kept asking if I had more. We were able to raise $70 for United Way, and I’m glad that I was able to participate.
Yields 12 muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup buttermilk (regular milk works or make buttermilk by adding a tsp of vinegar to the 1/3 cup of milk and letting stand for 5 minutes before using)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix vegetable oil, egg, vanilla, lemon zest and buttermilk. Add this to the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top.
To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Cut in the ¼ cup butter using a pastry blender, pizza wheel or food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over muffins before baking.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack.