December24

My Very, Very Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

I've been searching for the perfect cinnamon roll recipe, and this is it. The rolls are light and fluffy and rise beautifully.

Ingredients

Rolls:

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, warmed to just above body temperature. (you can substitute regular milk by measuring just below the 3/4 line and then adding white vinegar to make 3/4 cup. Wait 5 minutes and you have buttermilk)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled.
  • 3 large eggs, beaten.
  • 4 1/4 cups (21 1/4 ounces) flour.
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar.
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast.
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt.

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened.
  • 1 cup brown sugar.
  • 2 tbs to 1/4 cup, sprinkle on liberally.

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter softened.
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar.
  • 1/4 cup milk.
  • 1 tsp vanilla.

Directions

  1. For the dough, whisk the warmed buttermilk and butter together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook (or you can use a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or electric handheld mixer). With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and eggs and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase the mixer to medium speed and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (knead for 15-18 minutes by hand). If after 5 minutes of kneading, the dough is still overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but has a slight tacky feel when pressed between your fingertips
  2. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, around 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. If your kitchen is cool, I've had luck placing the bowl in my oven and turning the oven light on.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish (if doubling the recipe, I’ve found using a large rimmed baking sheet, 11X17-inches, works great).
  4. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and press it into a 16 by 12-inch rectangle (if you have doubled the recipe, split the dough in half and roll out one half at a time). Gently brush the softened butter over the rectangle, using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle on the cinnamon (as much as you'd like, you're the one eating it) and then the brown sugar (if you put on too much sugar, it can melt and drip out of the pan, so be careful), leaving a 1/2-inch border along the top and bottom edges.
  5. Lift the longest edge closest to you and begin rolling the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and roll the log so it is seam side down. Gently stretch the log to be 18 inches in length with an even diameter all the way throughout and pat the ends to even them up. Here's a secret: if you don't roll it out evenly, no one will know and it will still be delicious.
  6. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 12 evenly sized rolls (or more if you like your rolls thinner). I mark my log in half and the mark the halves in half. Then I just have 4 parts to cut into thirds. It's easier to make the pieces even this way. Arrange the rolls cut side down on the prepared baking pan and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden on top and cooked through but not overly browned.
  8. While the rolls are baking, mix the glaze. I never believe anyone when they say this, but I don't really have a recipe for this part. It's just the icing/glaze we always made growing up. My very favorite in the world. Any of my sister remember making this and eating it with chocolate cake? One of my favorite desserts ever. Anyway, back to the recipe. Put the stick of softened butter in a bowl and use a fork to stir it smooth. Then add about a half cup of powdered sugar and stir it in. Then add some milk and the vanilla and stir again. You can use a mixer for stirring, just be careful to not get powdered sugar everywhere. Keep alternating adding the sugar and the milk until the icing is the consistency and flavor you want. I prefer a thicker consistency to ice the warm rolls with a knife, but you can keep it thinner to pour it on.

May28

Strawberry Sherbet

Strawberry Sherbet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk.
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries.
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice.
  • 2/3 cup sugar.
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla.
  • 2 tsp corn starch.

Directions

  1. Heat 1 1/2 cups strawberries in a small pot with the sugar and water or juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool and then puree in a blender. You can cool the strawberries in a bowl set on top of another bowl of ice water to speed things up.
  2. Place bananas plus the remainder of the almond milk into a blender along with the cocoa mixture and puree for about 10 seconds.
  3. Mix 1/2 cup almond milk with the corn starch and set aside.
  4. Heat the remainder of the almond milk plus the vanilla in a medium pot until simmering and then add in the corn starch infused almond milk. Stir on low heat while whisking for five minutes to thicken.
  5. Strain almond milk to remove lumps and then let mixture cool to room temperature. Mix into pureed strawberries and then set in the refrigerator until cold (about a half hour)
  6. Chop up the last 1/2 cup of strawberries and then add to the almond milk mixture. Place in your prepared ice-cream maker and let it run for 20 minutes. Place ice cream in a container until ready for use.

November14

French Silk Pie

This is one of my favorite pie recipes.  It is very rich, so small slices are in order, unless like me you can handle your sweets.  With whipped cream topped with chocolate curls, it is an impressive, but easy to make, dessert.

French Silk Pie

Ingredients:

1 cup whipping cream (please not ultra pasturized if you can help it)

1 6 oz pkg of semisweet chocolate pieces (1 cup if you buy in bulk like me)

1/3 c butter (I've used salted and unsalted, but never use margarine)

1/3 c sugar

2 beaten egg yolks

3 T creme de cacoa or whipping cream with a dash of vanilla

1 baked 8 or 9 inch pie crust, or graham cracker crust

Whipped cream and chocolate curls or miniature pieces for garnish

Directions:

1.  Combine 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate, butter and sugar in a heavy 2 quart saucepan.

2.  Cook over LOW heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted.  Since you're using LOW heat, this should take about 10 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat.

4.  Slowly stir about half of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks.

5.  Return egg mixture to saucepan.

6.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened and almost bubbly, about 3-5 minutes.

7.  Remove from heat.  The mixture may appear to separate.  That's okay.

8.  Stir in the creme de cacao or whipping cream/vanilla mixture.

9.  Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water.  Don't get water in the saucepan or else!!.  Stir this occasionally until it stiffens and gets hard to stir, about 20 minutes. 

10. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and beat with a mixer on high for 2 or 3 minutes.  The filling will become lighter in color and fluffy.

11. Spread in the pie shell and chill covered for about 5 hours or until set or up to 24 hours.

12. When serving, top each slice with whipped cream and chocolate curls or pieces.  Presentation makes the dessert. 

One caveat, please follow the directions exactly.  To me, that's what makes a good baker.  If you're in a hurry and try to speed things up, you'll notice it in the final product.  Also, read the recipe before you start, so you know what to expect.