Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Swirled and Toasted to Perfection

My family is a sucker for cinnamon swirl bread. Oh man are they ever. It's likely genetic or maybe that I make so many baked goods with cinnamon they have just started to enjoy it to humor me.
This fancy beautiful white bread is made even better with some cinnamon and sugar swirled on the inside. Cut a slice and toast it? Oh my even better.
But real talk - my kids like raisins in their cinnamon swirl bread - it's horrible - awful! They like the store-bought kind - so my homemade beautiful loaf? Sat. Bah... crazy kids.
I'll take on that beautiful rolled cinnamon beauty! Oh, the hardship.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tablespoon active dry yeast (not instant)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon salt
7 1/2 to 8 1/2 cups bread flour (or all purpose flour)

Cinnamon Filling
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Combine sugar, warm water, and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
2. Let stand for 10 minutes while the yeast poofs and dissolves.
3. Combine oil, egg, and salt into yeast mixture. Mix to combine.
4. Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing well and kneading well in between. Don’t add all the flour at once, especially towards the end. How much flour you need depends on lots of variables- you don’t want dough that’s too dry. It needs to be elastic and slightly sticky, but not so wet that it leaves moisture at the side of the bowl.
5. Knead for 5 min by hand or 2-3 minutes in a mixer.
6. Cover dough with a clean dish towel and allow it to rise until doubled, about 45 min. Then punch down. Allow to rise for a 2nd time, covered, for 30-45 min. Then separate dough into 3 equal sections and with a rolling pin, roll into sections approximately 5 inches by 12 inches. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on section.
With each section, roll it from bottom to top and put seam side down into a greased 4x8 inch loaf pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes.
7. Bake at 380 degrees for 24 minutes (this is a change from what the video says) or when tops are golden brown. Take out of loaf pans, let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Have Bundt Will Travel!

I have just about lost all my marbles on this marble cake - ok maybe not.  Back to the new year and #lifegoals and what the heck did I do?  Baked a big ol' marble bundt cake.  What on earth was I thinking?  Oh, wait... a MOPS meeting!  We had a meeting on January 2, and I had off on the 1st so I actually had time to bake something fun, so I did!  I wasn't schedule or supposed to - just wanted to bake something from a new cookbook I got.
I was kind of worried on this one - pouring hot homemade chocolate syrup into the batter, pouring the loosey-goosey batter into the more setup batter... but you know what?  Other than a few pesky chocolate chips sticking - it came out beautifully.
The best part - I was on my way to the meeting and a call went out for desserts - so many people were home sick or with sick littles that they were short on desserts.  Have bundt will travel!  It worked out great to have an extra dessert.  I even snagged a piece and it was pretty delicious.  The rest went with me to work in the break room - let someone without the same #lifegoals enjoy it.

2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sugar, the cocoa powder and corn syrup with 1/2 cup hot water. Bring just to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Set aside.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the remaining sugar until light in color and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Beat in the remaining vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, and beat in a third of the flour mixture just until the flour begins to disappear into the batter. Beat in half the milk. Beat in another third of the flour, then the rest of the milk, and finish with the remaining flour until the batter is smooth. Stop the mixer and gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Scoop out a third of the batter into a medium bowl, whisk in the chocolate syrup and set aside. Pour another third of the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth it with a spatula. Pour the chocolate batter into the pan evenly over the first layer. Finish by pouring the last third of the vanilla batter over the top. Lightly swirl the batters with a wooden skewer or knife to give a "marble" effect--a continuous figure-8 motion while going around the pan works well.
Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the cake springs back lightly when touched, about 60-70 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. Invert the cooled cake onto a serving platter and dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving if desired. Store any leftovers in a cake dome at room temperature for 4-5 days, maybe more.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Unsuspecting Potential Potato Roll Eating Eaters

These rolls are sneaky. They look like crescent rolls - but they aren't. Bronwyn was fooled, she was all excited then took a bite... nah... not so much her thing. But she's wrong, you see, Maybe they aren't crescent rolls but they are amazing potato rolls. Potatoes? Oh my goodness yes. You can make instant mashed potatoes and probably should, instead, I didn't find my plan package until 2 days later, so I used the leftover garlic mashed potatoes I made a few days earlier. I smooshed it through a little strainer not to get the lumps or the skins.
These rolls were actually really fluffy and delicious - and made of heavy... potatoes - crazy right? They baked up beautifully. I'm learning the beauty of the several rises of the yeast dough. Let that yeast do its job, let it rise and rise. The funny thing is - you don't taste the potato - at all. Why is it in there- I have no earthly clue - but it works and I'm not about to mess with something that works.
This recipe makes a LOT - I did a half a recipe and oh mama were there rolls everywhere. These would be perfect for a holiday with lots of unsuspecting potential potato roll eating eaters out there. What? Clearly the holidays have gotten to me. Ok... make them, eat them, love them.

Potato Rolls
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup melted butter (10 1/2 Tablespoons)
2 eggs, (room temp)
1 cup prepared mashed potatoes (without salt)
Up to 7 1/2 cups flour

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar, about 10 minutes.
2. Then add salt, butter, eggs, and mashed potatoes. Mix well.
3. Add the flour, one cup at a time, kneading well in between. You may need anywhere from 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups. Don’t add too much flour. Knead for several minutes, until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl and is smooth and elastic.
4. Cover and let rise, 1 hour.
5. Then on a countertop dusted with flour, dump dough out. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a large circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough like a pizza into 16 triangles. (So with both circles of dough you will have a total of 32 triangles). From the outside in, roll up the dough into a crescent shape. Lay on a greased cookie sheet and cover with a clean dishtowel.
6. Let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 min. Remove when tops are golden brown.
Makes 32 rolls.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Cookies for Santa are Serious Business

Making cookies for Santa is serious business. I mean serious business. What kind, how to decorate, when to make them - plenty to consider. The kids and I decided these sprinkle cookies were 'the' cookie. They tasted great, they weren't chocolate, they had sprinkles, and they looked festive! It was a winner!
While sometimes I let them help add the ingredients - I wasn't feeling that - so instead I had them help scoop them out - that was short-lived, they each did a pan and it was off to other things.
They did plate up some cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve, Santa said they were his favorite - seems like a winning recipe to me.
Bronwyn kept sneaking more and more cookies. When we brought trays of sweets to different holiday events and added these cookies - she kept finding her way to the cookie plate. That's amazing - this girl is not a baked good kid and she LOVES these cookies. We found the way to her heart - sprinkles!

Super Soft Sprinkle Pudding Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (3.5-ounce packet instant vanilla pudding mix)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Next mix in the pudding mix for 30 seconds.
Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour, mixing until just combined.
Finally add in the sprinkles and mix until incorporated evenly.
Using a medium (2 tablespoon) sized cookie scoop drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are almost set. Don’t over-bake if you want super soft soft cookies.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Warm Soup on a cold day!

Chicken Soup IS really good for the soul, it's true.
I found a simple Crockpot Chicken and Rice Soup recipe that called for my parboiled rice - we had everything and it seemed really easy. The only concern? It's a 4-hour cook on low, which for a working girl, isn't great. But that's Ok, Andy works from home on Mondays - plan it for Monday and it'll be fine, except when he doesn't work from home that Monday. Dang it! So I took the ride home to plug it in. Of course, now I'm afraid of Bernard getting into the crockpot - so I stick it on a chair by the window in the dining room - I'm sure all the neighbors are curious why there is a crockpot on a chair - but little do they know the destruction capabilities of our crazy dog.
The chicken was perfectly cooked, I cut it in chunks, the rice was also done well, not mushy or sticky, but great. Kids and adults ate plenty. Crazy not to have soup on a Sunday right? But we can surely toss this one into the rotation.

Slow Cooker Chicken Rice Soup
3 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut in half
1 cup parboiled rice* (also called converted rice)
1 small onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter, optional
9 cups chicken broth

Place all ingredients in order in a slow cooker.
Cook on low for 4 hours.
A few minutes before serving, remove the chicken from slow cooker and shred or cut into cubes.
Return chicken to the slow cooker, and let it cook for 5-10 more minutes.
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