About Nan E. Howard

Clumsy but creative.

Cinnamon Rolls

 

These cinnamon rolls are rich. Gooey, heavy, and rich. But isn’t that exactly how a cinnamon roll should be? Here’s to excessive breakfast pastries, not getting off the couch for a few hours, and living richly, if only for a morning.

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 2.5 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar plus 1 Tbs
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3.5 cups flour, perhaps more

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 1/2 cup butter (soft)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs cinnamon

Not So Optional Glaze

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3-6 Tbs hot water, depending on thickness desired

Preparation:

1. Place 1 Tbs of sugar and yeast together in a small bowl. Add warm water and let rest.

2. In large bowl, whisk milk, eggs and melted butter together until uniform. Add the rest of the sugar and salt and continue whisking.

3. Once the yeast mixture has become bubbly and active, add it to the other wet ingredients and stir to combine.

4. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, to the wet ingredients, and stir until dough becomes slightly stiff. It should still be sticky when you turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until a cohesive dough ball has formed and the dough springs back lightly when pressed. Set dough aside in warm, dry place to rise for 1.5 hours.

 

5. While dough is rising, prepare the filling by mixing the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Hopefully by now your butter for the filling has been sitting out long enough to be room temperature – still solid but completely soft and spreadable. If not, you can cut the butter into small pieces (so that they will reach room temperature faster) and let them sit out while the dough rises. You can also, at this time, prepare the not so optional glaze by whisking melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and hot water together until a glaze forms. You can thicken the glaze with more powdered sugar, or thin it out with more hot water.

5. Once dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and roll it into a large rectangle, about 15×20 inches. Use a pastry brush or rubber spatula to spread the soft butter all the way across the dough then sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.

6. Roll the dough from the side closest to you up to meet the other end. Press the ends together to seal the log of dough and cut into 15 or so (depending on how large you want each roll to be) segments, being careful not to “saw” into the dough with the knife.

7.  Arrange rolls swirl side up about 1/2 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet or, do as I did and bake individual cinnamon rolls in cupcake tins. Both methods require baking at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Rolls will be done when they smell irresistible and have become golden brown in color.

8. Drizzle with glaze, and live richly.

 

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Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip? Rocky Road? Blackberry Cobbler? Coffee? Cookies n’ Creme? I almost spent longer in the ice cream isle debating flavors than I did at home making these delightful desserts. Which ice cream will you choose? Get caught in the dilemma by making some today.

Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

  • 1.5 sticks butter, soft
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • about a 1/2 gallon of ice cream

Preparation:

1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and blend until fully incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Sift flour and cocoa powder together in a separate bowl. Add half of the flour and mix for two minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing until dough forms.

4. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling out on a floured surface (add some cocoa powder to the flour to maintain the color of the cookies). I used a fluted biscuit cutter for the cookies, but you could also cut the dough in rectangles like traditional ice cream sandwich cookies. After shaping the cookies, refrigerate them while you preheat the oven to 350.

 5. Bake cookies for about 8 minutes. Note: They will not spread much at all so feel free to crowd the baking tray more than you might with another type of cookie.

6. Cool cookies on wire rack for at least 30 minutes before loading them up with slightly defrosted ice cream. If the first cookie you sandwich crumbles, cracks and falls apart, you can try freezing the baked cookies until they have hardened. If you’ve got sprinkles, nows the time.

Thanks again y’all!

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What have been your favorite posts so far? What else would you like to see from Proof : Patisserie? Send me an e-mail at proof.bakedgoods@gmail.com with your suggestions, or just type them in the comment box.

If you’ve liked the posts so far, share them with your friends and family (you never know who might be in need of some bake-spiration).

And as always, the quirky baker in me salutes the quirky baker in you.

Peach Pie

It’s peach season, so why not fix a tribute to the world’s oldest cultivated fruit. This glorious fruit (which has been cultivated in China since circa 2000 B.C.) is a symbol of immortality in Chinese culture and gifting one is said to bring joy and protection from evil1. Do you need any more motivation than that to start baking? Okay, also, no one would hate it if you brought this pie to a 4th of July cookout.  In fact, you might be doing them a favor, according to folklore.

Also, please note, I only have a handful of cookie cutters, two of them happen to be bat shaped. This will likely not be the last bat covered pie I post. I realize this is unusual and want to clarify: I like the look of bat drawings/outlines but actively avoid the actual, live creatures…though they are frugivores and would likely bake this pie, if they weren’t so busy eavesdropping.

Peach Pie

  • 1 recipe prepared, unbaked Fool Proof Sweet Pie Crust
  • 2.5 lbs peaches, washed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbs instant tapioca
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice

Preparation:

1. De-pit and slice peaches into a large bowl. You can remove the skins, if you prefer a less textured filling.

2. Add sugar, corn starch, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and lemon juice. Stir to combine.

3. Pour into prepared crust. Bake (with the edges foiled for the first fifteen minutes) for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the filling begins to bubble. Cool before serving.

Frozen Chocolate Bananas

Quite possibly the best discovery of my summer, I can’t believe I haven’t had one sooner. My freezer is stocked with these and I plan to keep it that way. These are incredibly easy to prepare, and another wonderful way to use up all those bad bananas (which now has its own category!).

Make some today and find out why, “[t]here’s always money in the banana stand.

Alternate endings: I’ve been told that frozen bananas are also quite tasty when dipped in flavored yogurt. Obviously, my first thought would be to roll them in granola, but you could also keep them a skinny treat and go light on the toppings. I’ve also heard tales of mixing peanut butter in yogurt and covering the banana as a quick and easy after workout snack. I plan to try both of these and will report back.

Frozen Chocolate Bananas

  • 6 overripe bananas
  • 12 popsicle sticks (or skip them and make frozen chocolate banana bites)
  • 10 ounces chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 Tbs light corn syrup
  • Optional Topping – I’m using peanuts and crushed chocolate chip cookies

Preparation:

1. Peel and half bananas. Insert popsicle stick halfway into cut end. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for three hours.

2. Once the bananas have frozen, place the chocolate chips and butter into a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat once more.

3. Heat the cream and corn syrup in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and pour it over the just melted chocolate. Let this sit for 5 minutes without stirring, then, when you can’t take it any longer, stir until the cream and the chocolate combine.

4. Ok this is the best step. Dip the bananas into the melted chocolate and roll in the crushed topping of your choice. I highly recommend the crushed chocolate chip cookie route.

5. Freeze for at least another twenty minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Share them with a friend.

Banana Pudding Dessert

This classic Southern dessert is a summertime favorite in my family; I remember hanging around the kitchen until the pudding had cooled, afraid to miss the opportunity to lay out the Nilla Wafers and slop goo onto them. I am, frankly, always surprised at the taste of this dessert, considering the appearance (it won’t be winning any beauty pageants). Looks aside, this tastes awesome and is an incredible solution to the problem of wasting overripe bananas.

I chose to make my own vanilla pudding (to avoid another trip to HEB) and used homemade sugar cookies for the wafers, but store bought instant pudding and Nilla Wafers produce an incredibly agreeable result as well.

Banana Pudding Dessert

  • a dozen baked Fool Proof Rolled Sugar Cookies, or 1 box Nilla Wafers
  • 1 recipe homemade vanilla pudding (see below) or 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 6 unripe bananas, or more, if you like bananas

Preparation:

1. Layer sugar cookies/wafers on the bottom of a large bowl or individual bowls. Cover cookie/wafer with layer of pudding followed by a layer of bananas. Repeat until you’re all out of goodies. Refrigerate at least 3 hours (I recommend overnight) before serving.

Homemade Vanilla Pudding
  • 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2.5 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbs corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs butter

Pudding Preparation:

1. Place cream and 2 Tbs of the sugar in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Mix until stiff peaks form and transfer into a large bowl. Keep cool while preparing the rest of the pudding.

2. Manually whisk the rest of the sugar, corn starch, salt, egg yolks, and 1/2 a cup of the whole milk in the bottom of a saucepan. Once completely incorporated (make sure there’s no lumps of cornstarch stuck to the pan) add the rest of the milk and begin heating on the stove, stirring constantly.

3. Once the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, remove from heat but continue to whisk. If you’re doing this without the aid of an electric mixer, be prepared for a few solid minutes of stirring while this pile of goo cools. It’s super important to be constantly stirring here to avoid forming lumps. If you have a stand mixer, you can use the same whisk attachment and bowl as before, no need to clean it with soap and water.

4. Cut up dem nanas. Once the custard has cooled, use a spatula or wooden spoon to combine it with the whipped cream.

5. Layer pudding with bananas and wafers. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Fool Proof Rolled Sugar Cookie

These are the best, simplest rolled sugar cookies I have ever made. The dough comes together quickly, rolls out like a red carpet, and can be reworked and refrigerated multiple times. Perfect for the holidays, or any days.

Wish you had an awesome cookie cutter for any occasion? Check out this post to learn how to make your own!

Fool Proof Rolled Sugar Cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Preparation:

1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. (Need some clarifications about this step? Go here > Creaming Method for a tutorial.)

3.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl often.

4. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes before adding half of the dry ingredients.  Beat on high for 30 seconds, scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat on high for another 30 seconds. Add the rest of the flour and repeat until dough is consistent.

5. To prepare dough for cookie cutters, tightly wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, then roll out on well floured surface.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 6-8 minutes (or longer, depending on the thickness/size). Cool completely before icing.

Carrot Pecan Pie

Aiming for a not-so-gooey-sweet version of pecan pie? Here’s your answer! The carrots bake into a rich base, much like pumpkin pie, only with a little more texture, and provide the perfect compliment (especially after chilled) to the candied pecan topping. Sorry, traditional pecan pie, but you’ve finally got some competition and this rookie pie is truly a delicious alternative.

Carrot Pecan Pie

  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 recipe Fool Proof Sweet Pie Crust
  • 1.5 cup pecans
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar

Preparation:

1. Boil carrots and vanilla extract in two cups of water until the carrots become tender. Drain and let them cool for at least five minutes.

2. Place carrots and half and half in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

3. Separately, in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, ground ginger, and carrot puree to the mixer. Blend until smooth.

4. Add 2 Tbs brown sugar and 3 Tbs butter to a saucepan. Stir and heat until bubbles begin to form and the syrup begins to thicken.

Add pecans and stir to coat. Sprinkle or arrange pecans on the top of the filling.

5. Foil edges of the crust for the first fifteen minutes of baking to prevent burning. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the carrot puree has set and no longer appears gooey.