Archive | May, 2012

Quick-Rise Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Sugar Icing

30 May

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Neither of us had ever made cinnamon rolls from scratch. Call it a fear of using yeast or possibly just impatience with all the rising and kneading and rising, etc. But seriously, is there anything better than warm cinnamony (can I use that as an adjective?) goodness fresh out of the oven? Even better when you are the one mixing, rolling, filling, slicing, baking and frosting the rolls! We found a “quick rise” which really translated to “no-rise” cinnamon roll recipe and paired it with a brown sugar icing (read “phenomenal frosting”).

We mixed all the ingredients (yeast and sugar dissolved in water, flour, oil, eggs and milk) kneaded a very sticky dough, rolled it out, slathered on melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. Then became really impatient so after we cut the rolls and placed them in round pans we stuck them straight into the oven. No rise required, apparently, since these babies grew to twice their size as they baked. While they baked we melted brown sugar, butter and heavy cream in a saucepan until It was golden and bubbling then stirred in powdered sugar to make the icing. Fifteen minutes later we had hot fresh cinnamon rolls with a brown sugar, caramel-like frosting.

I’d say our mission was successful. The only change would be to use softened butter instead of melted and make a sort of paste with the butter, sugar and cinnamon as it seemed most of the filling seeped out during baking. Otherwise these were quick, easy and delicious.

Quick Cinnamon Roll recipe: http://bread.betterrecipes.com/quick-cinnamon-rolls.html

Brown Sugar Icing similar to the recipe found here (though we used cream instead of milk): http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2009/11/brown-sugar-frosting-recipe.html

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Williams-Sonoma Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Buttercream Filling

28 May

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Williams-Sonoma Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Buttercream

Whoopie pies and crepes have been where my dessert tastes have been of late. (This weekend I am planning to attempt a Boston Creme Crepe Cake hopefully with the aid of Jessica!! Lord knows I will probably need another set of hands for that guy!).

A few weeks ago was my friend Megan’s (another Megan than Friday breakfast Megan- confusing I know) birthday. I decided to make whoopie pies to celebrate and had heard the recipe that came along with my William Sonoma Whoopie Pie Pan was delish!

I measured, stirred, poured, baked, and frosted. And was left in want of more. They looked incredible but lacked depth in flavor. I also accidentally threw the recipe away…….. so you won’t be able to see what I was working with. (Note- I cannot find it online anywhere either….hmmm).

Upon asking Jess to taste these little guys a few things were determined- it pays to use higher quality cocoa (Kroger brand doesn’t cut it) and the addition of brewed coffee could have added dimension to the flavor. Next time….

It happens though. Recipes do not always pan out. At least they looked pretty right?

Fresh Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins… For One

25 May

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Over the last few months we (Laura and Jess) have been hosting our friends most Friday mornings for delicious food, coffee and conversation. It may, in fact, be the highlight of my week. I look forward to being with friends and to creating new dishes to share with those friends. It also means I generally loathe those Fridays when I (Jess) am traveling.

This week I am home visiting family in Florida where the strawberries are plentiful. I decided to make some fresh strawberry muffins. Unfortunately, I am the only one home today to enjoy them so fresh strawberry muffins for one it is! Thanks to some pinspiration I was well on my way with a flourless muffin base. I made some tweaks to this Dashing Dish recipe based on what I had in the pantry and the flavors I thought would make these muffins something special. This recipe is definitely a keeper! The texture and flavors were spot on and they are relatively healthy since there is no oil/butter and very little sugar in the recipe.

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

Makes: 6 Muffins

The Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin (or 1 egg)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (or you could use honey)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg (or to taste)
  • 3/4 cup chopped strawberries

The Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 6 muffin cups with non-stick spray.
  2. Place all of the ingredients (except strawberries) into a food processor. Process until smooth. You can use a blender but I’d recommend processing the oats first, then adding the remaining ingredients. You can also leave the mixture a little lumpy if you’d prefer it to be more oatmeal like.
  3. Fold in strawberries.
  4. Divide evenly into muffin cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown on top.

What I learned:

Sometimes you find recipes that sound good, but not great. Don’t be afraid to experiment with recipes! I added pumpkin because I needed a binder to replace the egg that I didn’t have. I don’t like using sugar substitutes so I went with brown sugar for some added flavor. I also used less sugar because I don’t like muffins to be overly sweet. I thought the recipe was lacking some spice so I added vanilla extract and nutmeg to give them a little more flavor. The result was a delicious muffin that will also freeze well for mornings when I’m in a hurry. I wrap my in plastic wrap and them throw them in freezer bags. They are usually defrosted by the time I get to work or you can throw it in the microwave for 10 seconds and enjoy a piping hot morning treat!

Starting Out

17 May

polenta pancakes with blueberry compote

Every Friday morning a group of women get together at a house in the suburbs. There is nothing special per se about this group. Their ages vary from 26-almost 40. Some are married, and some are single. All are hungry. They arrive each week with perhaps an idea of what is going to be set on the table. It can be anything from homemade cinnamon rolls with brown sugar frosting to sweet potato and grits spoon bread with maple bacon. The coffee is plentiful. Conversation is too. It is our (Laura and Jessica) favorite time of the week. Sometimes there are 3 of us, other times closer to 8. It is beautiful to listen to the conversation that flows like coffee from the coffee pot.  And it is here that we will document the lives of this group, what they eat, and what they make. Our goal is simple- to put our life in to words and pictures and of course, to enjoy really, really good food.