Monday, January 18, 2010

Joy to the World - She baked Cinnamon Rolls!

I'm in love. True story! Can I tell you her name? Yes, her! It's Joy. Joy has an amazing blog that makes me drool. Seriously. Puddles. Check her out at and I promise you will not be disappointed. I stumbled across Joy by accident and let me just say that I have discovered not all accidents are bad! So I spent many hours going through Joy's blog. She's amusing, cute and boy does she know how to cook!

As I was going through I hit her posting "Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls". HUH? Cream Cheese? Cinnamon Rolls? I was hooked. It should be against the law to combine these two things together! I mean, how much more fattening can a Cinnamon Roll get?! Well she figured it out.

I've always wanted to try Cinnamon Rolls but the whole idea of working with yeast and rising process and all of that was not something I wanted to tackle. Until I met Joy. Sigh... She makes everything seem so easy and she adds lots of pictures for reassurance!

Without further ado.... let me present my first attempt at Cinnamon Buns!

The Dough

1 - 1/4oz package active dry yeast
1/2 tsp, plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

For the Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp maple syrup
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk

Making the Dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup water heated to 115 degrees F. Stir to combine and let sit until frothy and foamy, around 10 minutes.

Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat with a wire whisk until well combined. Put the bowl onto the mixer, and use the dough hook attachment. (This was the first time I got to use mine!) Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed until the dough just begins to come together. Turn the machine on medium-high and knead the dough for 4 minutes.

Add the butter and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will the wet and sticky. Place the dough on a well floured work surface, and knead about 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into the dough. The dough still might be a little sticky but don't worry! Set the dough to rest in a large greased bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for approximately 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the sugar, dark brown sugar, pecans, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, salt and cloves in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup and set aside. The smells as you combine these ingredients are heavenly. I promise!

When the dough has doubled in size, dump if from the bowl onto a heavily floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed. I think I added about 3 Tablespoons of flour. Work the dough for about 1 or 2 minutes. Once it’s no longer sticky, place a kitchen towel over the dough and let rest for 5 minutes before you roll it out.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 x 10-inch square. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with a knife until it’s smooth and spreadable.

Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square. Fold the square into thirds like you would fold a letter to fit into an envelope. Take the open ends of the rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square.

Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll it into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle. You will find that some cream cheese sneaks through. Be as gently as possible with the dough, but continue to work it until you reach the size you need. I had a little bit of a hard time with this but I believe it is due to my lack of experience with dough. Well... at least that is the story I'm going with!

Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. You’re going to roll from the short sides of the dough. Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. The rest of the butter will be used after the rolls are baked.

Pour all of the filling onto the dough. Spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch boarder at one of the short edges of the dough so the roll can be properly sealed. Lightly press the filling into the dough.

Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough  seam side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp, thin knife, trim off the uneven edges. (I saved the edges and I sprinkled a little of the filling that fell out as I cut the pieces. Still yummy!)

Cut the dough into 8 equal slices. Nestle the slices, cut side up and evenly spaced in a butter 9 x 13-inch metal baking dish. Joy said to use a light colored baking dish but I only had the dark one. I didn't see a problem with it so I'm not sure about that one.

Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. You can also refrigerate rolls overnight. When I first read this I was like "How in the heck are they going to rise in the cold refrigerator?" Well, I was tired and decided to throw caution to the wind and guess what! Nice and plump. It's baking magic folks! It is to me so stop snickering!

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover the rolls. If you refrigerated the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 15 - 20 minutes before baking.

While the rolls are baking, mix the confectioner's sugar and the buttermilk together with a whisk until nice and smooth!

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Check this out!! I could have eaten them just like this! Nooooo... not really. What are Cinnamon Rolls without the glaze?? Un-American I tell ya!

Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack. Brush with that remaining butter. Let cool for 5 minutes. Joy said to "Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle over the rolls" and I just poured all of that glazy goodness all over! Serve immediately! I mean now, not later! And seriously, if you can walk away without eating them right away, you did something wrong!

Oh no... look closer. They will hypnotize you!

Don't you feel like you should run to the kitchen now and make these?

So Joy... thank you for bringing me out of my baking shell and making me brave! I found a new breakfast favorite thanks to you and I can tell you... my kids love you too!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What did YOU have for breakfast?

It's snowing out. I think we have close to 2 feet at this point and it isn't slowing down! The mess started yesterday afternoon and I have to tell you... I'm sick of it. I know, I know... I live in Vermont and I shouldn't be shocked but can I get a breather here??? With the beginning of a new year I decided like many people that I need to hop back on the fitness and eating healthy wagon. Well... this WAS supposed to start yesterday but you know with this snow I needed one more thing before I started my healthy kick: Stuffed French Toast!

I'm not a huge fan of french toast but this is stuff is to die for! I tried it when I went to Ihop a year or so ago and I fell in love and I set out to find a recipe online that would satisfy my Ihop craving. Oh and I should mention that Vermont didn't have an Ihop until 3 months ago. It's a slow state and I love the state for it but at times like the Ihop craving, it doesn't make me very happy.

Well I finally came across a recipe called IHOP Stuffed French Toast and tried it with some tweaking. Can I just tell you... no one in my family will now touch the Ihop version after having mine! In your face Ihop!

So please enjoy the recipe and I look forward to hearing what you think!

Heather's Stuffed French Toast

1 loaf of French or Italian bread
5 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
Cinnamon to taste

1- 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla until thoroughly mixed and put it into a decorator's bag or if you don't have one, use a ziploc bag and cut the corner off.

Mix the eggs, evaporated milk, sugar and vanilla together and flavor it with cinnamon if you wish.

Take your bread and cut your slices a little thick and then cut those pieces in half but not all of the way. You want to make it so it is like a hot dog bun. After the slices are all prepared, take your piping bag and fill all of the pockets.

Dip your filled bread into the egg mixture and place in your pan to cook. I think we all know how to cook french toast so I won't get into it but will show you a nice picture instead.

These are best when eaten right away with the warmth of the bread making your filling oozing! We always use a pie filling to top it or perhaps just syrup. Whatever floats your boat! We've even stuffed sausage in with the filling. You can't loose!

Doesn't that look amazing??? If it doesn't... check out the next one!

Enjoy but don't blame the added weight on me!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies Vs. Oatmeal Cherry White Chocolate Cookies

Okay... I must admit I'm not one to make cookies. Strike that... I don't make "Everyday People" cookies. When my kids come home and ask me to whip up some cookies, this is what I normally pop out:

I guess you could call me a cookies snob. I can't help it... it's in my blood! It's part of me! I have royal icing and fondant running through my veins!

So I was running through my number one blog "Bake at 350" and I noticed that Bridget posted that the Flavor of the Month is "Cookies". Cookies? It really caught me off guard! This woman is the queen of beautiful cookies and she wants to see ours? Perhaps it is just to laugh at our attempts? NAH! I don't know her but Bridget is totally not like that! So it honestly took me a bit to figure out what she wanted from me. I knew I had to dazzle her so I started pouring through recipes. It's a weird thing I have about me: Wanting to please and entertain at the same time. I'm a Leo. Enough said!

So I decided quickly that nothing out of Betty Crocker would do. At this time I would like to apologize to Betty. She has gotten me through many things and I love how she holds my hand through little trials and tribulations that I have had, but today I needed the heavy hitters. I hit my new best friends up... BLOGS. I stumbled across a new one... Joy the Baker. She has a category for cookies! Lovely cookies! Cookies to die for! I found two on there that I knew I had to try but the dilemna was which one for the Flavor of the Month?? Okay... I did both. So here they are and please enjoy!

Pumpkin Cookies Revisited
2 cups All Purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper & butter the paper.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips.

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4 cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2 inches apart. You can also use a 1/4 cup measuring cup.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the top feels firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Oh they are delicious! BUT... I think I'm kind of partial to the next one!

Oatmeal Cherry White Chocolate Cookies
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white chocolate cips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats, raisins and white chocolate chips; mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookies sheets and then move to wire rack.

Everyday People cookies suddenly rock! I got a thumbs up from the Vermont Air Guard as well as many friends that suddenly flocked to me once they found out what I made.

You must try both! You can't lose! Thanks Bridget for helping me find my love for cookies of baking past and thanks Joy for sharing your recipes!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My life the Carnival

Holy cow! I can't believe it has been so long since I've been on here blogging. I feel neglectful. So sorry!!

So let me catch all of you up on what has been going on...

I lived my summer in Soccer Land. You know... the place where all of the little kids run crazy on the fields, screaming and tripping over each other. I did discover that one of my girls bends it like Beckham while the other one treats the field like it is her fashion runway. She claims she only joined because she liked the uniforms.

While visiting Soccer Land we drifted magically into school time. Let me just say this... Three girls, school shopping. Enough said yes?!

Oh and then the real fun began!!! I began my quest to design the birthday party of all birthday parties! Grace's birthday is August 30th and Noelle's birthday is on September 11th with Noelle being born first. Back away from it... I'm begging you. So I asked them nicely if we could smush their birthdays together and sprinkled it with bribes since last year I told them I would never ask them to share again. They agreed once I offered up the mother of all birthday bribes.... FACE PAINTING!!

So we decided the theme would be a carnival theme and invite both classrooms. That's right... both classes and topped it off with family and friends. It had the potential of 60 people. I prayed nightly that there would be enough kids but that some would unfortunately have to decline.

So the invitations were boxes of Cracker Jack with a homemade ticket to "Admit One". Thanks to my amazing friends I scored a hot dog steamer, a plinko board, a bounce house and a face painter! Who knew that my friends had all of this stuff and my one friend had the hiddent talent of face painting??!!! Oh and I must admit... I had a cotton candy maker.

So lets get down to the important thing... CAKE. It's important that each of my kids have their own cake. I insist that even though they share the day, they don't share the cake. After some searching I decided that I would make popcorn cupcakes for the guests and very large candy apples for each of the girls.

The popcorn cups were cupcakes baked in liners and I hand painted Wilton nut and candy cups with red food coloring and a paint brush. I made the little label on my computer and attached them with double sided tape. I then frosted the cupcakes and the "popcorn" are marshmallows that I cut an "X" into on the end with scissors. After I put the marshmallows on I sprayed them carefully with the Wilton food coloring spray. It was a loooooong process. I think I had 60 cupcakes and it took me a bit. I kept saying "Oh geesh... never again!" But you know, when it comes to my girls I would make these over and over if they wanted me too!

So after a very long day of sugared up kids, "You're welcome parents!", I dunked my kids in the bath, plopped them in bed and headed out to survey the aftermath.

Poor duckies... I'm so glad I didn't have any friends with a petting zoo otherwise I think I wouldn't be able to display a picture.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Triple Threat

So I follow this blog and it is called "Bake at 350". This blog is AMAZING!!! Bridget (amazing blog goddess) shares techniques, recipes and beautiful pictures. So any who... Bridget is now doing something called...

What it entails is every month she gives a theme and we can join in and do the theme, post them on our blog and link back to her. Well this month's theme is pie.

So I set off on a mission. A mission for pie. I'm not a huge fan of pie I must admit but who am I to shun it?! Wouldn't that be rude! So I decided if I was going to partake in this adventure, I was going to do something fun.

My first thought: whoopie pies! And by the way, did you know I found whoopie pies, whoopy pies and whoopee pies. Yes it's true. I was fascinated that whoopie came in three different versions! Okay folks, leave it alone as I know most of my friends have a snicker on their face right now. Geez. Simmer down! Again I rolled off onto the side path in my brain so forgive me.

I decided to go with "Whoopie Pies" and found a Maple Walnut Whoopie Pie with Maple filling. How did it turn out? Well let's just say you aren't about to see the recipe below. What a HUGE disappointment!

Okay I'm getting to the real recipe!

I scoured the internet and my cookbooks looking for something different and I stumbled across the blog (another favorite) called Cake Spy. Well she posted a recipe called the Triple Threat. It looked like it could cause a sugar coma and teeth to fall out all in one bite! I was totally in! So please enjoy the recipe...

The Triple Threat
1 Pie crust
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 Cake mix

Take the pie crust and roll it out in your pan like so...

Then take your cookie dough, you can buy the package mix, the type in the tube or be Martha and make it from scratch.

Then as this is sitting, and you're trying not to eat the extra cookie dough, make a cake mix according to the directions. I have to admit folks, this was a boxed cake mix as it was hotter then heck and the thought of a scratch cake was not at the top of my list!

Take the cake mix after it is made and pour it over the pie crust & cookie dough.

Take this hot mess at 350 degrees on your middle rack. This truly is just a guide as I encourage people if you don't know your oven really well, then watch it carefully.

After it is done baking, take it out, let it cool then frost it. This is how mine turned out:

Let me just say this this tastes so good but please have a glass of milk on hand as it is very sweet.

I think a great combination for this recipe would be a gingersnap crust, sugar cookie dough, a spice cake and top it with a cinnamon buttercream.

Try it and let me know what you think! Also, if you try any other versions, please let me know!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Recipe Search

So I set out this weekend to find a new recipe to share with everyone. I pulled out all of my cookbooks, scoured the internet and found nothing exciting. It's hard to decide when you aren't hungry and then it is impossible to decide when you are beyond hungry. Sigh... I had to amuse myself until I got hungry and could find something decent. It didn't find anything until Sunday.

On Sunday early morning my husband G.I. Joe headed off to a lovely base in... ready for this?! Alaska! Oh my! Poor G.I. Joe! However will he cope with this? I often tell him to enjoy his vacation when he's off of these adventures but I know he's working hard. I went online to look at the base website and there are all of these beautiful pictures of jets and the men and women working and let's not forget Gov. Sarah Palin! Anyways let me roll around to the recipe.

After I ventured off onto some cooking websites I found it on the Kraft Foods site: Spaghetti Bake. I know, I know. Boring! But the kids were all for it and since G.I. Joe was gone I don't touch the grill so we were limited.

I'm going to share the recipe with you all and let me tell you that this is easy but oh so good! I'm a fan of boiling pasta and putting butter and parmesan cheese on it for a quick me and this fell right into that area of comfort to me. Should we eat stuff like this? Of course not but for those healthy people, DEAL!

Here you go folks, a little bit of heaven!


8 oz. Spaghetti, uncooked
1/2 pound of italian sausage or ground beef (remove the casing from the sausage)
1 (14 oz. ) jar of Spaghetti Sauce
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375. Spray 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

  • Cook the spaghetti
  • Meanwhile, brown the sausage or burger then drain
  • Stir the sauce into the sausage/burger. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Drain the spaghetti and place in a large bowl

Now... I doubled this portion of the recipe as my kids are cheese freaks. So if you want, go for it. If not, that's okay too!

  • Add the egg, 1 cup of the mozzarella and the parmesan cheese to the spaghetti and toss to coat
  • Place the mixture in the baking dish
  • Top the mixture with your sauce and meat
  • Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top

Bake for 15 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting to serve.

Here is a picture of my easy and yummy dinner!

I have to tell you that the kids enjoyed the leftovers which is a rare thing.

Let me know what you think and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Path

Hi All!

So I decided what I want to do is feature a new daring recipe once a week. Now please remember I will do my best at the once a week!

After the busy months I have taken a "Cake Vacation". I'm pooped! 2 or 3 cakes a weekend can do you in and I'm learning how to say no, which can be a useful word. Learn it my over-achieving friends!

So I will do a recipe, not necessarily baking, and post the pictures and the recipe for all to enjoy. If you would like to see something, please let me know as I'm up for a challenge!

Off to plan my first recipe!