Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cinnamon Buns with cream cheese buttery frosting

I made 3 pans of these. One to keep and two to share with the neighbors. I made and assembled them the night before, covered and put them in the refrigerator. This morning I took them out and let them warm up for 45 minutes, and then baked them up. Boy, does my house smell delicious..... but I think I just gained 10 pounds before the fork touched the buns.

If you're brave enough, or skinny enough, let's get to it!


2 Cups whole Milk
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
4 Cups (Plus 1/2 cup extra, separated) All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Filling Ingredients

1 Stick of Butter, melted
1 Cup of Sugar
Generous amounts of Cinnamon - depending on taste

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm (NOT hot) sprinkle in the package of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of the all-purpose flour. Stir the mixture so all the flour is incorporated. Cover and let rise for 1-1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, add 1/2 cup more of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir it all together. At this point you have a couple of choices. You could put the dough in the refrigerator and make everything the next day, or you could roll and assemble the cinnamon buns now. Then you could either cook them the right away, or hold them in the refrigerator until the next day.

When ready to prepare the buns you should sprinkle generous amounts of flour over the rolling surface. Roll the dough out thin, into a rough rectangle. Then spread or brush on the stick of melted butter, all over the surface. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar all over the dough. Next follow by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Don't skimp.

Now starting at the opposite end, at the long edge, begin rolling the dough in towards you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go, but you don't need to be too excessive. When you get to the end, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

With a serrated knife cut the roll of dough into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces and put in an 8 inch pan that you prepared with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.

(I used disposable pans, so I wouldn't have to worry about getting my pans back. I have some experience with the sticky-fingered church lady syndrome, or neighbor who forgets to return it for 2 years)

Now let the rolls rise for 30 minutes,and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Heap on big globs of frosting. Only your diet counselor will regret it. Recipe follows.


Cream Cheese and Butter Frosting

1 pound of confectionery sugar
1 Stick of butter, melted
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened.
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Dribble in tiny bits of milk, until you get the right consistency. You want it to be just loose enough to pour, but not be runny.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lemon Drop Cookies

I seem to have a thing for Lemons lately. I like the smell of them, and love the taste of them. They just seem like the right thing to have on a warm summer day. Think lemonade, chilled lemon meringue pie, and yes ... lemon cookies! Why not?!

This recipe is adapted from Oak Cottage Recipes. They have a delightful lemon tang, with an added crunch of ground and flaked almonds.

325 degrees 15-20 minutes on parchment lined baking sheets

3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3/4 Cup Bakers Sugar (ultra fine granulated sugar)
The grated zest of 2 Lemons
2 Egg Yolks at room temperature
1/2 Cup ground Almonds
2 Cups Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Lemon Curd (See my previously listed recipe for lemon curd, June 2010 or use store-bought)
Milk for brushing
Flaked Almonds for sprinkling

Rub the lemon zest into the sugar until very fragrant. Then add the butter and blend until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks. Stir in almonds and flour, mixing well. Use your hands or a heavy wooden spoon to help the dough bind together. Divide the dough into 20 pieces and roll each one into a ball. Place evenly spaced on the parchment lined baking sheets. Make a deep indentation in the center of each ball. Fill the center with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon curd. Pinch the opening semi closed to partially cover the lemon curd. Brush the tops with some milk, and then sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Bake for 16-20 minutes until a pale gold. Allow them to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cinnamon Pancakes with Icing - Delicious Deception

I made this early this morning and placed it on a paper plate so I could go outside. Our mornings are cool and delightful right now, and I'm not going to miss any of it.

These Cinnamon Flavored Pancakes were light, buttery tasting with just enough cinnamon to remind you of a cinnamon bun. Using an icing on top completes the delicious deception. I've got a feeling these are going to be a regular treat for us.

For the Pancakes:

1-1/2 cups Cake Flour
Pinch of Salt (Maybe 1/4 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon of Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
1 Cup of whole milk
1 Large Egg
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
2 Tablespoons of melted Butter

Stir all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Whisk all the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Now slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. *Do not over mix pancake batter or you'll get tough pancakes instead of light fluffy ones. There should be lumps in the batter!
Cook on a lightly greased frying pan or griddle, over medium-low heat, turning when bubbles are throughout, and they're golden brown on the bottom.
Plate and drizzle icing all over them. Enjoy!


1 Cup of Confectioners Sugar
2 Tablespoons softened Butter
2 Tablespoons Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla
Milk as needed to provide the right consistency, so you can drizzle it over the pancakes.

I mixed the 1st 4 ingredients in the bowl of my stand mixer using the whisk attachment. Then slowly drizzled in some milk until it was the right consistency.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blueberry Lemon - Glazed Muffins


Maybe I should have saved them for Saint Patrick's Day

Did you ever hear that lame expression guys say when they're breaking off a relationship with a girl: "It's not you, it's me." Well, in this case, it's not the muffins, it's me. Call it baking while stupid, or maybe it was just one of those days where I shouldn't have gotten out of bed. Even with my goof ups these muffins came out tasting quite good. They just look like H-E-Double L. My first goof was being overly enthusiastic when I was mixing in the blueberries. It caused a few of them to release their juice, causing that sickly blue-green color to the muffin. Do as I say, not as I do. Mix the blueberries in gently. My second goof was just tipping them upside down to put the glaze on. Don't do that either. Brush it on, or spread it lightly with a knife. My third goof was putting in more blueberries than the recipe needs, because I happened to have them around. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Take my advice, follow the recipe, and you should have some muffins that look good, as well as tasting good.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the cups of a muffin tin.

2-2/3 Cups of all purpose flour, sifted
1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1/2 Cup of Sugar

1 Cup Milk
2/3 Cup of Canola Oil
2 Whole Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon of fresh Lemon Zest

1 Cup of blueberries

Mix group one together in a medium bowl.
Mix group two together, and then add to the first group stirring only lightly - just enough to moisten the flour mixture.

Fold in the blueberries. Gently!!!!

Spoon batter into a prepared muffin tin, about 3/4 full, and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Melt 4 tablespoons of real Butter in the microwave
Add 1/2 Cup of very fine bakers Sugar - Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add 1/2 Teaspoon of fresh Lemon Zest
Brush on the still warm muffins

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No sweets this week, but living the sweet life

This week I'm in my home State of Rhode Island, so I won't be posting any new recipes, and I'm not likely to be baking much at all. I did make my Sister a Blueberry whatchmacallit, but that's about it. Even without the baking, I'm living a sweet life. Staying with my youngest Sister and her beautiful daughters has been a blessing. I've also gotten to visit with all but one of my eight siblings, so this is a great time for me!

Check back next week when I'll be back to my usual baking frenzy.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made this cake as a pre-birthday cake for my husband. He's taking a small trip, so he won't be around to eat most of the cake if I didn't make it early. He'll get another cake when he's back, because in this case more is better.

Spice Cake
2 -1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 Cups dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
A pinch of ground cloves (Probably about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 Cup of milk
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Cup (2 sticks) real butter, very soft

Mix all dry ingredients, then add in softened butter and mix on low. Slowly add the milk in until incorporated and smooth. Beat another 30 seconds on medium. Don't overbeat.

Put into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. (1 stick) of butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixer blend the butter and cream cheese. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla. Once all is incorporated, whip it up at high speed till it's fluffy. It won't take long.

Spread on the cooled cake. Lick the spoon when you're done. You won't regret it. I promise.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spaghetti alla Carbonara - American Style

I grew up in Rhode Island, where half the people claim to have a cousin Vinnie in the Mafia. I couldn't make that claim myself, as I was a misplaced wasp lucky enough to be born in a State where some of the best Italian food can be found outside of Italy. In the 1930's and 40's you might have risked your life to go to some of the fine Italian restaurants on Federal Hill. So you weighed your odds, maybe kept track of which families were at war, and went to The Hill. It was that good! In more recent times the families found out that while crime may or may not pay, owning a fine Italian Restaurant definitely did pay! It was a case of "If you cook it, they will come!" And we did! If you find yourself in Rhode Island you should definitely get yourself up to Federal Hill. You can almost walk through any restaurant door and get yourself a meal that will have you scheming and planning to get yourself back there for another one. I'm going myself this month.

So why have I Americanized Carbonara? I know, it's almost blasphemy, but sometimes life gets in the way of me getting to our version of Little Italy to get the pancetta. Therefore, I'll use some of the bacon from our very American Costco.

Here we go!

1 package of spaghetti or your favorite pasta. I used a 12 oz. package.
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 to 1 cup of Bacon crumbles (depending on your love of bacon)
4 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced.
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
Freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a large pot boil the water to cook your spaghetti. When the water is boiling, toss in the spaghetti and stir often enough so it doesn't clump. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente.

While the spaghetti is cooking put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan, over medium heat. Cook the bacon crumbles until they're fairly crisp - about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Crack the eggs in a bowl and beat lightly. Add the 1 cup of the grated cheese and put aside.

Drain your pasta well and add to the bacon/garlic mixture. It's important that you do this while the pasta is still hot! Toss well with tong. Take off of the heat.

Now add your egg and cheese mixture and toss well. Season with pepper. Garnish with the remaining freshly grated cheese. Serve immediately!

***** If you like a creamier carbonara, make a cream sauce and add about 1/2 cup of it to the mixture. (You can always save the rest of the cream sauce for something else.) I did this by making a light roux - melting 3 tablespoons of real butter, and adding 3 tablespoons flour. Whisk constantly for 4-5 minutes over low heat. Pour in enough cream, until its the right consistency and color, and thickens nicely. Then grab a big handful of freshly shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese (maybe 1/2 cup) and whisk until its melted. Put aside until you're ready to mix it in. Make sure it's all well mixed with the pasta, bacon/garlic mixture and toss well. I think it improved the dish quite a bit, even if it did mess up more equipment for me to clean.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blueberry Whatchamacallit

Not quite a Cobbler, nor a Clafouti by definition ..... so what should it be called? How about an Easy Breezy Blueberry Desert? Nah. I'm at a loss, so call it what ever you want. I can guarantee that it's easy to make, and a worthy contender to join your recipe file. Most people will look at it, give it a taste, and deem it a cobbler ..... but it's way easier to make than your typical cobbler! Let's go for it!

Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan

Stir together In the order listed:

1 cup of Sugar
1 cup of Flour
1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1 cup of milk
1 stick of real butter, melted.

Wisk all the above ingredients together till smooth, and pour into a buttered 3 quart pan or baking dish. Sprinkle 2 cups of blueberries over the top of the batter. Make sure you distribute them evenly. Now sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup of sugar over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until golden.