Sunday, November 22, 2015

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

It doesn't get much better than a fresh, homemade cinnamon roll in the morning.  However, I'm not willing to get up at 4 a.m. to start the process so this overnight receipe is perfect.  All of the work is done the day before, and you simply put them in the oven, enjoy a cup of coffee, and before you know it you are enjoying one of these beauties.  This recipe is easy to follow and received an enthusiastic two thumbs up from my resident food critic.

From Alton Brown


4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cold butter for greasing baking dish
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
15 ounces all-purpose flour divided into 10 ounces, 4 ounces and 1 ounce batches
1 package rapid rise yeast, approximately 1/4 ounce
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt


8 ounces light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
Pinch kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
5 1/2 ounces confectioners' sugar

1. For the Dough - Combine the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk at medium speed.

2. As the mixture comes together add 10 ounces of the flour, along with the yeast and salt and continue whisking until combined.

3. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Add another 4 ounces of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. At this point the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour (one ounce at a time). Knead on low for another 5 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; and form dough into a smooth ball. Transfer to a large bowl that has been lightly coated with the vegetable oil. Rotate the bowl so that the dough ball is evenly covered. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside until the dough doubles in volume, about 3 hours. (Exact times will vary depending on the temperature of the room and the temperature of the ingredients.)

5. For the Filling - Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

6. To Assemble - Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish with the cold butter.

7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently shape into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Then use a rolling pin to shape into 18 by 12-inch rectangle.

8. Brush the dough with the the melted butter, leaving a 1-inch border along the top edge.

9. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the dough, also avoiding the top border. Gently press the filling into the dough. (If you tend to have hot hands, you may want to cover the filling with a layer of plastic wrap first.)

10. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.

11. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the cylinder into 2-inch rolls; yielding 8 pieces.Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 16 hours.

12. To Bake - Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.

13. When the oven has reached 200 degrees F, turn it off and place the rolls in the turned-off oven. Let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.

14. Without taking the rolls out of the oven, increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and let the rolls continue to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F. Remove the rolls and let cool while you make the icing.

15. For the Icing - Whisk the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Banoffee Pie with Dulce de Leche

Yesterday was rainy and gray, so to brighten our spirits I decided to make a pie.  We talked about different options and then settled on banoffee, which is an English pie traditionally made of bananas, toffee, and cream.  I believe that in traditional recipes you make the toffee or dulce de leche by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk, but I skipped this step and opted for canned dulce de leche instead.  I believe it is also more traditional to make a cookie crust from English digestive biscuits, but my main pie eating guy requested a regular pastry crust instead so of course I complied.  The end result was delicious, with the lightly sweetened whipped cream perfectly complimenting the rich dulce de leche topped with sliced bananas.  I know this one was a hit because 24 hours after we dug in there is only one slice left, and I may or may not have found someone happily eating pie for breakfast this morning as well.

Recipe from Hannah's Kitchen

1 9-inch pastry shell, cooked and cooled
1 13-14 ounce can dulce de leche
3 large bananas
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 square semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

1. Set pastry shell aside. In a small saucepan, heat the dulce de leche until it is smooth. Pour the dulce de leche into the pastry shell and refrigerate until cooled. Once cooled, slice bananas and cover the dulce de leche.

2. In a large mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, beat cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream over bananas. Grate chocolate over the cream, if desired.

3. Chill at least two hours before enjoying. Pie is best eaten on the day it is made.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Oreo Chocolate Cake

Usually, I spend weeks before my birthday pouring over cookbooks and clicking through food blogs in search of a fabulous cake to bake for myself. Life just got in the way this year and before I knew it, it was the Sunday before my Monday birthday. I almost broke down and bought a cake, but then I saw a package of Oreos during my morning grocery store run and decided that I would make a simple and delicious cake starring this pantry staple. I used Hershey's classic Perfectly Chocolate Cake for the cake recipe, and then I threw together some crushed Oreos with my favorite vanilla buttercream for the frosting. I ended up making half the cake recipe and pouring it into three 6-inch round pans to make a small cake since there were only two of us enjoying this one (although, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a 9-inch cake for two people!).  I also used half of the frosting recipe for my small cake.  The recipe below makes one 2-layer cake, but you can easily make one and a half times the cake and frosting to bump it up to a large 3-layer cake. If you are planning on piping the frosting, make sure you really finely crush the cookies so they don't clog your piping bag. Oh, and I have to add that a half batch of the frosting tastes amazing on a 9x13-inch pan of brownies!


2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
6-7 cups powdered sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 tablespoons milk
16 Oreo cookies, finely crushed
pinch of salt
additional Oreo cookies for topping, if desired

1. For the cake - preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

4. For the frosting - beat together the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Add milk as needed and beat until fluffy. Add in crushed Oreo cookies, mixing until combined. 

5. Frost cooled cake. Top with additional chopped Oreo cookies if desired.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Deep Dark Fudgy Brownies

At least once every few years my quest for the perfect brownie picks up steam and leaves me scouring cookbooks and blogs for new recipes to try. The last three weekends I have baked three different brownie recipes, and this is my favorite of the group. I was skeptical of a brownie recipe that uses all oil and no butter, but these were so dark and rich that I didn't miss the butter.  This brownie bakes up thick and fudgy with a wonderfully chewy texture.  I had to quickly put the bulk of the brownies in the freezer to prevent me from eating them all.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

2/3 cup (2 ounces) dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup (4 ounces) toasted pecans or walnuts, diced (optional)
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

3 large eggs
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) water

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugars, salt, flour, espresso powder, nuts, and chips. Add the eggs, oil, and water, mixing just until smooth. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 8 x 8" or 9 x 9" square pan, smoothing the top.

2. Bake the brownies in a preheated 350°F oven for about 35 minutes (for the 9" pan), or 45 minutes (for the 8" pan). To see if the brownies are done, remove the pan from the oven, and stick the tip of a sharp knife into the center of the brownies. Wriggle it around just enough to see what’s going on. Is the batter under the crust still shiny, wet, and smooth? Continue to bake the brownies, checking frequently. Is it ultra-moist, but not shiny, and “crumby” looking? Take them out, they’re done.

3. Place the pan of brownies on a cooling rack, and allow them to cool for 1 hour before slicing.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Snickerdoodle Blondies

We are big lovers of snickerdoodle cookies at my house, and these bars are a wonderful twist on the classic.  They are thick and chewy with a cinnamon sugar ribbon and a crackly cinnamon sugar top.  I've made these blondies multiple times, and they have received the highly sought after but rarely awarded Husband Seal of Approval. Fair warning though - these are highly addictive!

Adapted slightly from Sally's Baking Addiction


2 and 1/3 cups (292g) all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (180g) white chocolate chips


2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with aluminum foil or pan-lining papger, leaving enough overhang on the sides to easily pull the blondies out of the pan and cut.

2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed in a large bowl. Beat for at least 1 minute until creamy. Add sugars and beat for 2 full minutes on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs and vanilla on high speed, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients until just combined. With a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the white chocolate chips.

4. Spoon half the batter into pan. It will be a relatively thin layer, but try to spread it across the pan evenly. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on top of them bottom layer, reserving 1 tablespoon for the top. Spread the remaining batter over top. Some of the cinnamon-sugar will mix into the top layer as you spread it, which is fine. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cinnamon-sugar.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Thick Fudgy Brownies

Some occasions just call for brownies, and one such occasion is definitely Super Bowl Sunday.  While I enjoy all of the other traditional big game foods, I feel like I have to end my overeating on a sweet note.  I made these today and they fit the bill!  These brownies are nice and thick with a wonderfully crackly top.  They are delicious on their own, but would also be amazing as the base of a brownie ice cream sundae.

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

1 1/2 cups + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
3/4 cup butter, melted 
2 tablespoons water 
2 whole eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup cocoa powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Combine sugar, butter, and water in a large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside.

3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; stir this into the sugar mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread into prepared baking pan.

4. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.