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.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I’ll still never forget the sweet yet assertive tang of rhubarb pie I first tasted at Grace’s grandmother’s house in Vincennes, Indiana.  Later that night, I snuck to the kitchen while the family was enraptured by a street front Fourth of July parade and shoveled spoonfuls of pie into my mouth, straight out of the glass pan. It felt like a secret, this awesome taste I’d never experienced.

And so, I had an occasion to remember the pie from Vincennes when I saw fresh rhubarb in the produce department of the grocery store. I decided to add strawberries in my version for additional sweetness in the filling.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling

  • 2 cups fresh red rhubarb
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs minute tapioca
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white for an egg wash over the crust (optional)
  • 1 recipe Fool Proof Pie Crust

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly wash all produce. De-stem strawberries and cut into thin slices. Cut rhubarb into small cubes and place all of the produce in a large bowl.

2. Add sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla to the produce. Stir to fully mix all ingredients.

3. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell.

4. Brush crust with optional egg wash. Wrap tin foil loosely over the edges of the crust and bake at 350 degrees in the bottom third of your oven. After fifteen minutes, remove the tin foil and allow pie to bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until the filling begins to bubble. Cool N’ Serve.

Gooey Pecan Coffee Cake

Because sweets aren’t just for dessert.

Pecan Coffee Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of butter (soft)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
Cinnamon Crumb Topping
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups pecans

Cinnamon Crumb Topping Preparation:

1. Combine butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Stir until combined. Add pecans. Now, let there be cake.

Coffee Cake Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour the inside of loaf pans (my pictures show the mini loaves that I bake for work, but I think this comes out better when the batter is not divided and bakes in larger baking pan).

2. In mixing bowl beat 3 egg whites and 1/4 cup of the sugar with whisk attachment on high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Save yolks in a bowl and set aside. Scrape whites out of mixing bowl and into another container.

3. Cream butter and remaining sugar together in the mixing bowl with the paddle attachment.

4. Add egg yolks to butter and sugar until thoroughly combined. Make sure the scrape the sides of the bowl at least a few times before proceeding.

5. Sift/stir together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) and add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixer. Combine on low speed.

6. Add about 1/3 of the whole milk to mixer. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all of the dry ingredients and milk have been incorporated into the batter. It will be lumpy.

7. Spoon batter from mixing bowl over the egg whites and fold gently.

8. Fill loaf pans one third of the depth with batter and sprinkle about half of the cinnamon topping in the center.

9. Repeat step 8.

10. Bake at 350. Bake time depends on the type of loaf pan you use (20 minutes for the miniature ones and about 1 hour for the traditional 9 x 5 ish sized pan).

Tip: Make sure to take a knife around the edges before trying to coax the cooked cake out of the pan.