Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting Tuesday, Feb 14 2012 

Mmmmmmm…warm, gooey cinnamon rolls!  My husband is so lucky! My waistline, not so much. Regardless, this recipe is a keeper.  As far as I’m concerned, Paula Deen hit the nail on the head with this one.

These take some time, kneading, resting, rolling, more resting, baking…..You’ll want to give yourself a good 3 hour window for total prep time, but it is completely worth the wait.

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Cinnamon Rolls

Source: Paula Deen; FoodNetwork.com

Makes 10-15 Cinnamon Rolls

Dough:

1/4 oz package yeast

1/2 c warm water

1/2 c scalded milk (whole milk)

1/4  c sugar

1/3 c butter or shortening, melted (I used butter, always use butter!)

1 tsp salt

1 egg

3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour

Filling:

1/2 c melted butter, plus more for pan

3/4 c sugar, plus more for pan

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

3/4 c raisins, walnuts or pecans, optional (or if you’re like Oozing Ink, some high quality 70% chocolate, chopped)

Glaze: NOTE: I’m providing you with Paula’s glaze that is included in the recipe as it reads in print, however I did not use this glaze.  In this house we prefer “frosting” as opposed to glaze and I’m partial to cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting.  While I’m sure this glaze is delicious, look to the bottom of this post for the cream cheese frosting glaze recipe that I used for this batch.

4 tbsp butter

2 c powdered sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

3-6 tbsp hot water

Directions:

Heat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.  In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg.  Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth.  Add yeast mixture.  Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle (I ended up using all 4 cups). Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes (I went the full 10, a nice little workout!).  Place in a well-buttered bowl, cover and let rise until dough is doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

A note on dough rising: Turning the oven on and leaving the bowl on top or near the warm oven helps it to rise quicker.

When doubled in size, punch down dough.  Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 x 9 rectangle.  Spread the 1/2 cup melted butter all over the dough (if I had used the entire half cup, I would have had a mess on my kitchen floor, I probably used half and reserved the rest for the pan).  Mix sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle evenly over dough.  Sprinkle in walnuts, pecans, raisins (or chocolate) if desired.

Beginning at the 15-inch side, roll up dough and pinch edge together to seal.  Cut into 12-15 even slices.

Coat the bottom and sides of the baking pan with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar (about 1/4 cup).  Place cinnamon rolls slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Add hot water 1 tbsp at a time until glaz reaches desired consistency.  Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Oozing Ink’s Cream Cheese Frosting Glaze

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

2 c powdered sugar

1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

With mixer, cream cream cheese and butter  on medium- high speed until smooth.  Add 1 cup sugar and vanilla, mix on low speed until smooth. Add additional 1 cup sugar and mix on low speed until combined.  Increase speed of mixer to high speed and mix for about 30 seconds until very smooth and creamy.

Spread on slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.

For the chocolate cinnamon rolls, I shaved about 1/2 cup high quality 70% chocolate and mixed it into 1 cup of the cream cheese frosting.  Then spread it onto slightly cooled rolls. This makes for a very rich roll, just a warning! 

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The First of the New Year Recipe Overload Challenge: Best Cocoa Brownies Friday, Jan 20 2012 

I’m starting with this recipe because it’s an easy one and requires ingredients that I have on hand without having to go grocery shopping.  We’ve got financial goals to meet this year in addition to all this blogging, photos, cooking, cleansing, etc….so I wanted to start simple.

I recall making this recipe before but have several brownie recipes so I’ll need to decide in the end which ONE recipe to keep. These brownies are moist and fudge like in the middle, yet have a nice crisp layer on the outside.

For this recipe test I halved the recipe (which I may do in many instances if possible) and instead of using a baking pan, I used a a non-stick mini muffin tin.  Each brownie is its own self contained little bite (or two) of chocolate goodness!

Best Cocoa Brownies

Epicurious – 2003

Makes 16 large or 25 small brownies in an 8″ square baking pan. If halving, will make 12 mini muffins.

10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted  butter

1 1/4 C Sugar

3/4 C plus 2 tbsp unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Raw, Organic, non-alkalized Cacao)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pure vanilla

2 cold large eggs

1/2 C all-purpose flour

Position rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 325.  Line bottom and sides of baking pan with parchment or foil, leaving overhang.  If using mini muffin tin, butter each cup even if non stick.

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in medium heat proof bowl and set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.  Stir until butter is melted and mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test.  Remove bowl from skillet and set aside briefly until mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in vanilla with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.  When batter is thick, shiny and well blended, add the flour and stir until you can’t see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or spatula.  Spread evenly in lined baking pan or use mini ice cream/cookie dough scoop to evenly distribute into mini muffin tin.

Bake until toothpick comes out slightly moist with batter, about 20-25 minutes for baking pan, or 16 minutes in a mini muffin tin.

Dessert Buffet Saturday, Nov 6 2010 

In 2008 I catered a wedding reception for 15o guests.  It was an outdoor event in August, a beautiful day for a dessert buffet for so many people.  I have several people assisting in set up of multiple tables, linens, seating, etc.  At this event, we took on the duty of being full service caterer, setting up all the chairs for the ceremony as well.  It was quite an ordeal but it turned out superb.  These photos always make me hungry!

Celebrating Tatas Tuesday, Oct 12 2010 

I almost forgot.  It’s been some time since I last updated my blog and in the mean time I have something funny that came about that I must share!  A friend of mine had breast reduction surgery and we threw her a party to celebrate.  Being the baker that I am, I had to devise some kind of boob cake for the party.  Here is what I came up with.  Mini “boob” cupcakes along with regular sized cupcakes adorned with everyone’s initial and their own “set”.  Needless to say, they where a crack up and made for some funny conversation that evening.

Pink & Black Baby Shower Cake Tuesday, Oct 12 2010 

As hard as I tried to make a baby themed cake, it just wasn’t working for me the way I had planned.  The result…polka-dots and flowers.  I think this works though…it’s girly enough for a baby shower.

Music Cake Tuesday, Oct 12 2010 

Made for a friend of my mom who recently had a birthday.  This lady has a love for karaoke and as such I was tasked with putting together a musically inspired cake.  Here are the results…

This cake is entirely made of fondant, no modeling chocolate or gum paste yet (though I’m thinking the rose may have turned out better had it been made of gum paste. We’ll try next time!

First Fondant Experiment: Lady Bug Cake Sunday, Oct 3 2010 

After several years of oohing and ahhing at the fantastic things chefs where doing with fondant covered cakes, I finally took the plunge!  Here it is, basically step by step, my first fondant endeavor…………

First the cake….a 3″ and a 5″ round –  both 3″ high.  This is red velvet, one of my all time favorites!

The smaller round was cut to fit onto the larger round, forming the lady bugs head.

Now for the dirty ice, also known as crumb coat.  Sloppy vanilla butter cream piped on the cake. This layer serves to not only pad the fondant, but to keep crumbs of cake from interfering with decorating.

It’s important to smooth the icing as evenly as possible. A smooth layer of buttercream “padding” serves to allow the fondant to drape easily and evenly over the cake.

I began with basic white fondant.  Since this was my first try with the stuff, I decided to color it myself.  Pre colored fondant can be purchased and would have been fine, but I wanted to give it a try.  It was like playing clay and other than the fact that my nail beds are permanently stained from the paste icing color, it was pretty simple.  The picture above is the first coat of fondant for the lady bug’s head – colored black.

And for mixing the color into the fondant, as referenced above.  Fun messy, gooey fun!

The layers of fondant are done and ready for decorating.  This was actually easier than I thought it would be.  The fondant rolls our easily and other than the fact that it may have been a tiny bit hot in my kitchen for it, it came out pretty damn even for a first try.

 

All the details in the cake are fondant decorations.  Cut with cookie cutters and hand shaped they where simple.  Royal Icing provides the “glue” to make them stay.  The antennae are dusted with silver Luster Dust (edible metallic magic).

And we’re complete!  Lady Bug done!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes Thursday, Jan 21 2010 

Tropical Cake Thursday, Jan 21 2010 

8″ Vanilla cake with coconut mouse filling and vanilla butter cream frosting. Decorated with fresh orchids and birds of paradise.

Red Sox Cake Thursday, Jan 21 2010 

6″ Chocolate on chocolate Red Sox themed cake

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