Breads and Muffins

Cranberry Coconut Muffins

 

Happy Friday!  Just have to point out that this is my 3rd post of the week!  I don’t anticipate every week being this productive, but I am glad to start the year off tackling some of my blogging goals.  Now for a yummy, fast and simple recipe for your weekend…crancoconutmuffin2

With half a bag of cranberries still in my fridge, and some ideas brewing for what to do to this muffin recipe, I whipped these up during nap time.  Using pineapple juice in the last muffins led me to the thought of coconut and I just so happened to have both coconut oil and coconut milk in my pantry.  Just like last time I wished I’d had a can of crushed pineapple to add in.  Maybe I’ll get around to making a tropical cranberry muffin one of these days.  But that would involve me buying another bag of cranberries and then having leftovers after making the muffins which would then require me to make something else with cranberries.  I might have to put it on hold until next holiday season.  I might be muffin-ed out.

crancoconutmuffin

I’ve sung the praises of coconut oil before.  This zucchini bread is one of my favorite things.  Coconut oil behaves pretty much the same as oil and butter in a baked good.  But it’s rock hard at temps at which vegetable oil is liquid and butter is spreadable.  It remains solid until is reaches temperatures above 76°F.  I warmed it in the microwave before using it in this recipe.  I keep muffins and breads in the fridge unless I know they’re going to be eaten within a couple of days to keep them from going bad.  With the coconut oil in the muffins they come out of the fridge very hard.  A quick warm up in the microwave and they become nice and soft and ready to devour.  I found some great information on this blog about using coconut oil and its health benefits.  I’d never thought about cutting in to pastry dough!

Coconut is a main and noticeable ingredient in these muffins.  There’s coconut oil, milk and flakes.  So the coconut averse may not be into these.  If you do want the benefits of the coconut oil, just sub milk or buttermilk and leave out the coconut flakes.  The coconut oil alone shouldn’t make a coconut hater turn up their nose, but I don’t find coconut oil alone to be too coconutty, especially after being baked into something.  Correct me if I am wrong!

On another note, I got this wonderful spreader for Christmas from my mother-in-law.  “No such things as too much butter” is definitely something I find to be true.  You can get your own at For Such a Time Designs on Etsy.  She hand stamps pieces of flatware and I’ve been perusing her site quite a bit lately.  Check her out!

crancoconutmuffin4

Coconut Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • 3/4 cup lite coconut milk, shake the can before opening and measuring
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Grease and sugar a 12-cup muffin tin.
  3. Combine flour, powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat sugar and coconut oil until combined, then beat in coconut milk and egg.
  5. Add flour mixture to the liquid ingredients and mix just to combine.
  6. Fold in the cranberries and flaked coconut.
  7. Divide batter equally among the cups.  Sprinkle with raw sugar or flaked coconut.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Cranberry Pineapple Muffins

Happy New Year! Can I still say Happy New Year a week into it?  I think so.  One of the things I want to do in 2014 is to blog more here on Hottie Biscotti.  I did a photo a day project on the Baby Z blog in 2013 and love that it gave me a purpose in blogging and a goal to achieve for the year.  I have a lot of ideas for this blog; weekly recipes, cookbooks to cook through, kid friendly meals, dinners for busy moms/dads, vegetarian meals, and a few others.  But I know that if I say I’m going to do all of that I will be overwhelmed, will start to get my priorities out of order, end up disappointing myself and not be a good wife, mom and friend.  So I’m just going to set a goal of blogging once a week.  Maybe I’ll start some series, maybe I’ll blog more than once in a week, maybe I’ll end up cooking more out of my library of cookbooks.  But if I don’t, and all I have is 52 blog posts in 2014, I can say I’ve accomplished my goal.

Anyone else out there buy a bag of fresh cranberries over the holidays and find themselves with an unopened bag of them in need of being used?  Anyone?  I did.

cranberry-pineapple

Of course what I found when I searched for “cranberry muffins” were a bunch of recipes involving orange juice and orange zest.  I know cranberry and orange are good together.  But I’m not super crazy about the combination.  And I never have orange juice around.  I took this muffin recipe, used pineapple juice instead of orange, used up some of my cranberries, and wound up with a tasty batch of muffins.

cranberry-pineapple-muffins

I really loved the pineapple juice in these.  They smell spectacular and taste wonderful, especially warm with a little spread of butter.  The cranberries are perfectly tart and give a beautiful pop of color.  I think a small can of drained, crushed pineapple mixed in would make them phenomenal.  Now that I’m thinking about it, I will probably make these again with some other add ins…stay tuned.

These come together quickly and have a super simple ingredient list.  If you don’t have juice, I think you could get away with milk or buttermilk instead.  Blueberries, strawberries or raspberries would be great if you have some around.  Happy baking!

Cranberry Pineapple Muffins

From allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 ounces pineapple juice (1 small can)
  • 1 heaping cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease and sugar a 12-cup muffin tin.  Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl whisk oil and sugar together until light in color.  Beat in egg, then pineapple juice.
  4. Stir flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in cranberries.
  5. Divide evenly among the muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.

 

Quick Honey Dinner Rolls

These warm, soft, pillowy, sweet little bundles of happiness will be on your dinner table in 45 minutes.  No lie.  I made them twice this week and everyone in our house loved them.  Ben had 3 with dinner last night, and I had 2…and one a little later in the evening with some butter and honey.  Heaven.  No longer will I be buying rolls in the bakery or pulling a frozen bag of Sister Shubert’s out.  I still love you, Sister Shubert.  Your sausage rolls are amazing.  I’ll still be eating those.

rolls1

I had a sudden urge to make dinner rolls earlier this week at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  My kids eat dinner at 5, so I knew I needed to find something fast.  I googled “fast dinner rolls” and found this recipe from Your Homebased Mom.  I made them as written the first time and loved them.  But as I poured the sugar into the bowl I thought, “Maybe you could use honey in these…”  and so that is what I did the next time.  I also brushed the rolls before and after baking with melted butter.  I loved them more.

These are delicious right after they’re baked, but reheat wonderfully.  So they would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving table that you could easily make the morning of or even the night before.  So go make a batch.  You’ll thank me.

Honey Dinner Rolls

From Your Homebased Mom

Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Combine water, yeast, honey and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir a couple times then let rest for 10 minutes to bloom.
  3. With a dough hook mix in the flour, salt, baking powder and egg.  Continue to mix for 2-3 minutes until dough comes together.  If it seems especially sticky add a tablespoon or two of flour.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal sized pieces.  Shape into balls that are smooth on top (in doesn’t matter what the bottoms look like) and place in prepared pan.
  5. Cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise for 15 minutes.
  6. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter (about half of what you have) and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Brush with remaining melted butter and let cool slightly before serving.

Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Glaze and Candied Ginger

During Top Chef season 5, I absolutely loved Carla Hall.  I thought she was the sweetest chef to ever grace the show, and her quirkiness was so endearing.  She seemed like someone I’d like to cook with, unlike some of the people on the show.  She’s now on The Chew, a daytime foodie talk show that I almost never watch, mostly because if my television is on when my kids are awake we are watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Peppa Pig or Umi Zoomi.  I happened to catch a part of an episode recently where she made gingerbread sandwiches, a gingerbread loaf with a couple of different fillings, lemon cream cheese and a cranberry compote.  The next day I bought the necessary ingredients.  But it took me a while to actually make the gingerbread.  I finally got around to it this week.

gingerbread2

This gingerbread isn’t sweet.  There’s no sugar other than what’s in the ginger beer and the molasses.  It’s very spicy and dense, so it pairs well with the light and sweet cream cheese glaze.  The candied ginger provides texture and makes the mini muffins especially lovely.  While this wasn’t what I was expecting when I made this bread, it is a nice cold weather treat and would be perfect paired with hot chocolate and eaten in front of the fire.  Have I mentioned that it’s 76 here with 80% humidity?  I won’t be sitting in front of a fire anytime soon, but if your weather permits it, please sit in front of a fire and drink hot chocolate for me.

I ran into some issues when I made this bread, so be warned.  If you go to The Chew’s website and follow the instructions for this bread without reading the comments you will be a sad and sorry baker.  And possibly an angry baker, if you’re anything like me.  Shouldn’t they have people whose job it is to read and test the recipes they post on their site?   After mixing up the batter I thought that it looked like an awful lot for one 9 inch loaf pan (which is what the original recipe calls for).  So I filled my pan about 3/4 full and still had a ridiculous amount of batter left.  I could have easily filled another loaf pan, but instead opted to make some mini muffins.  Then I looked at the comments and realized that almost every person complained about the same thing, way too much batter for 1 loaf.  I still had some batter left over, but had made such a mess of my kitchen by this point that I didn’t want to get another thing dirty.  Remember to ALWAYS read comments on a recipe before you make it.  I’m glad I read them before pouring all the batter into one pan.  It would’ve been a disaster.

gingerbread3

 Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Glaze and Candied Ginger

From Carla Hall on The Chew

Makes 2 9-inch loaves or 1 9 or 10-inch loaf and 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

For the Gingerbread

  • 2 cups dark molasses
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup strong Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer
  • 4 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream or buttermilk
  • 4-5 pieces of candied ginger, chopped, for garnish

For the Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 4 ounces of softened cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the Gingerbread

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour your pans.
  2. Combine butter, molasses and ginger ale in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture boils.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Sift flour, salt, spices and soda together in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Transfer the molasses mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you’re using a handheld mixer.
  5. Beat the eggs into the molasses mixture until well combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream/buttermilk in 5 total additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Continue to mix on medium low speed until thoroughly combined.
  7. Bake loaves for 45-55 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.  Bake mini muffins for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

For the Cream Cheese Glaze

  1. Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth.
  2. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Spread onto cooled gingerbread loaves or mini muffins.
  4. Use candied ginger to garnish loaves and muffins.

Carrot and Coconut Scones

During my first sit down with this cookbook from Baked I saw this recipe and knew I had to try it.  Two (plus) years later and I’ve finally gotten around to it!  I am glad I did.  While these little gems were baking my house smelled incredible and I was instantly in a better mood.  Baking does that to me a lot of the time, but there was something about the sweet carrot, toasting oats and coconut that was more magical than usual.  We all have a special thing that makes a bad day better, and baking (and the promise of something delicious) is mine.

carrotcoconutscones2

I put off making these most recently because of the ingredient “carrot puree” and the extra step of making it.  Turns out it’s one of the easier parts of the recipe and should not deter you.  It will make a mess of your microwave, so next time I might try it on the stove top.  Also, don’t worry about it being super duper smooth.  Mine was a little chunky and it worked out fine.  I used baby carrots, about a handful, and had no issues.  I pureed them in my mini food processor, and think a stick blender might be a better choice.  Looking into getting one of those…

As with all scones, you don’t want to overwork the dough.  And if you don’t overwork the dough, the dough will be delicate, so be careful when transferring it to the baking pan.  Use a wide rigid spatula to move them so they don’t fall apart.

carrotcoconutscones

Scones are best the day they’re made.  Day 2 or 3 is still ok, especially after a nice warm up in the microwave or quick toast in the oven and with a nice smear of softened butter.  Day 4, you’re about to cross the line into hard as a rock and inedible.  I kept mine in a sealed container in the fridge after the first day and we ate them in a few days with the exception of one scone who was sadly tossed out.  You could easily freeze these and warm them up one at a time or warm the entire batch for company.  If you do freeze them, glaze them just before serving.  Enjoy!

Carrot and Coconut Scones

Courtesy of Baked Explorations

Makes 8 scones

Ingredients

Carrot Puree

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks (or a handful, 6-8, baby carrots)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Scones

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup carrot puree
  • 1 egg white, beaten (for egg wash)

Citrus Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Carrot Puree

  1. Place the carrot and the orange juice in a medium microwave safe bowl, cover and microwave for 5 minutes on high.  Check that carrot is fork tender.  If it’s not, microwave for 30 second intervals until it is.
  2. Blend the carrot and orange juice until smooth and set aside.

Scones

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, salt and coconut in a large bowl.
  3. Add the butter and use your fingertips to work it into the flour until the butter is pea sized and the mixture is coarse, not worked too much.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, vanilla and carrot puree.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until the dough just comes together.  Turn it once in the bowl and knead gently once or twice to bring it together.  Be careful not to overwork the dough!
  5. Lightly sprinkle a clean surface with flour and turn the dough out of the bowl.  Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour if it looks sticky.  Flatten the dough into a disk about 1 3/4 inches high.
  6. Cut the disk like a pizza into 8 slices and transfer the scones to the parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Whisk egg white with  1 tablespoon of water and brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotate baking sheet after 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the tops are slightly browned.
  9. Cool scones completely on a wire rack.

Glaze

  1. Sift powdered sugar (to get rid of any lumps) into a bowl, then whisk in the juices until smooth.
  2. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled scones and allow it to set before serving.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Donuts

I gave in and bought a donut pan.  It was 30% off at Sur la Table.  How was I supposed to resist?  It’s just this simple one from Wilton and will only set you back $10.

I’ve made fried cake donuts a couple of times, but frying makes such a mess.  The worst part, in my opinion, is dealing with the oil afterward. Baking donuts eliminates the mess AND makes you feel a little bit better about eating the donut.  I must admit something, though.  And it should come as no surprise.  They’re not as good as fried.  Frying gives such a lovely crunch to the exterior that you just cannot duplicate in the oven.  They are still good, just not as good.

applecinnamondonuts

Originally I tried the recipe printed on the wrapping of the pan for basic baked donuts.  They looked lovely, especially after a good coating of powdered or cinnamon sugar.  But they weren’t fantastic.  They were dry, crumbly and close to tasteless.  So I went on the search for a moister cake donut recipe and found this one for sour cream blueberry donuts.  I adapted it a little and turned it into an apple cinnamon sour cream donut.  The kids and I have been reheating and enjoying these for breakfast, but they really are best the day they’re made.  They are super moist and the grated apple provides just a little texture.

This recipe makes about 10 donuts.  Be careful not to overfill your pan because you will have half donut, half muffin top type things.  I tried both brown sugar and white sugar with the recipe below.  Not a huge difference, but I did prefer the white sugar.  I also tried more sour cream and less applesauce, and liked the variation with more applesauce thinking it added more apple-ness to the final product. Definitely do use a plastic bag to pipe the batter into the pan.  You’ll have a mess on your hands otherwise.  Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Baked Donuts

Adapted from Baked Blueberry Donuts

Makes 10 donuts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (regular or low fat)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small apple, peeled and shredded with a large grater, then pressed between paper towels to reduce moisture

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 6 cavity donut pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk together the flour, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk the sour cream, applesauce, sugar, egg and vanilla in another bowl.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Fold in the apple gently.
  5. Transfer batter to a large zip top bag and cut off a small corner.  Fill the each donut cavity just over half way.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until donut springs back when pressed with your finger.
  7. Cool for 2 minutes in the pan, then move to a rack to cool completely.
  8. Grease pan again and bake the rest of the donuts.
  9. Finish with a simple powdered sugar glaze, toss in powdered sugar or dip into melted butter and then toss in cinnamon sugar.

Coconut Oil Zucchini Bread

Me and coconut oil became fast friends once we finally got around to meeting each other.  I’ve only used it in baked goods so far, but have plans to deepen my relationship with coconut oil by using it in my morning smoothie and as a substitute for vegetable or canola oil in stir fry.  And as you probably know by now, there are like a million other uses for this trendy cooking oil.

coconutoilzucchinibread1

This zucchini bread was a hit, which was a total relief.  When I poured (scooped) the batter into the pans I was worried about it.  Coconut oil just has a different consistency and doesn’t create the same textured batter as vegetable oil does.  It’s thicker and doesn’t fill the pans on its own, it needs some help into the corners.  This being my first time using coconut oil in a quick bread, I wasn’t confident that it would come out well.  If you have the same concern, no need to worry!  The loaf does end up being on the short side, but the texture is nice and while it is dense it isn’t heavy.  The zucchini isn’t overwhelmed by the coconut, which is rather mild.  If you really like and want a more distinct coconut flavor, then add some flaked sweetened or unsweetened coconut to the batter.  Some crushed pineapple might not be a bad idea either…

I have an undying love for pecans, so that is what I used, but you can use walnuts or leave the nuts out altogether.  If you really want to go tropical, use macadamia nuts.  Yum.

coconutoilzucchinibread2

White whole wheat flour isn’t always a great substitute for all purpose, but it worked well here.  White whole wheat flour does have more texture than all purpose, so when I tried it in a pound cake a while back it wasn’t great.  I’d imagine it would work in banana bread, though.  White whole wheat flour apparently has the same health benefits of whole wheat flour, but without the stuff that gives whole wheat flour its strong flavor and darker color.  I don’t know the proper terms for all of that or the reason behind it all, but I do know that when I can sneak good stuff into my baked goods without it changing the texture or flavor too much, I am on board.  It’s all about lessening the guilt, am I right?  I have the same mentality with the coconut oil.  How can a slice of bread made with coconut oil, white whole wheat flour, and zucchini be BAD for me?  It can’t.  What sugar?  It all cancels out…  So I’ll go ahead and eat another slice smothered in butter.  Eat up and enjoy!

Coconut Oil Zucchini Bread

Adapted from Mom’s Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup coconut oil, softened if needed
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini, drained on paper towels for 10-15 minutes
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, cooled to room temp

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease and sugar two loaf pans.
  3. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Combine coconut oil and sugar and whisk well.  Add in eggs, one at a time until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in vanilla.
  5. Fold flour into the coconut oil mixture until just combined, then fold in zucchini and pecans.
  6. Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  Check bread at 45 by inserting a toothpick into the center.  If it comes out clean, then your bread is done.  If it’s gooey, bake for another 10, then check again.  Mine baked for close to an hour.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

When berries of any kind are in abundance and being sold for cheap I grab them up.  Last week I bought 2 pounds of blueberries for something like $2.  I’ll eat them by the handful, put them in my yogurt, and in salads.  Betsy likes them, too.  When half the container was gone I decided to do something a little more exciting with them and made this cake that I’d had bookmarked in my Fine Cooking magazine for the past 2 weeks.  Thanks to Sarah who helped me get it done after overestimating my ability to tackle 5 things at once.

Blueberry-Breakfast-Cake-2

This was super simple and beautiful.  You could easily serve this at a brunch for guests as a lovely alternative to blueberry muffins.  It’s delicious for breakfast, but also a nice evening dessert served with a little ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.  To keep the berries from sinking to the bottom, toss them in a little flour after rinsing and patting them dry.  Enjoy!

Blueberry-Breakfast-Cake

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

From Fine Cooking, Issue 124

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease a 9 inch springform pan with shortening or butter.
  3. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  In a small bowl whisk cooled butter, milk, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined, do not overmix.
  5. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with a spoonful of flour, then fold the blueberries gently into the batter.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is browned and a toothpick insterted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on the rack.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Potato Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe has been bookmarked in my Pastry Queen cookbook for a couple years at least.  The photo of these always makes me pause and swoon a little whenever I’m flipping through the pages.  You’ll have to buy the cookbook to see it.  My photo doesn’t come close.

I find it hard to resist the sweet, bready, ciannamony, yeasty goodness of a cinnamon roll.  My favorite rolls are at The Upper Crust Bakery in Austin, Texas.  They’re a totally different type of cinnamon roll with a crunchy cinnamon sugar coating instead of a gooey frosting.  If you’re ever in Austin, you must go get one.

The problem with me and cinnamon rolls is the commitment (and the mess).  Make the dough, let it rise, make the filling, roll and fill, cut and place in the pans, rise again, bake, frost or glaze, then enjoy…if you even have the energy at that point.  And if you want to make these fresh for breakfast you have to either get up at a ridiculous hour or use some time management skills to get them ready for a morning rise and baking.  So much work!  But these are well worth the effort.  You can even freeze them for later, which does require some work on the front end, but you get yummy cinnamon rolls straight from the oven without having to touch a bit of flour.

For some reason (could have been the 2 lonely potatoes on the counter) I just felt compelled to commit to these last week and am so very glad I did.  I baked 2 pans of these rolls and there are 3 more in my freezer that are a mere overnight thaw and hour rise away from being enjoyed.  Yes, this recipe makes 5 pans of cinnamon rolls.  So make sure you either need to feed a hungry army, give these away as gifts or have room in your freezer and save them for later.  Oh, and make sure you have 2 good sized bowls for rising.  The recipe says to let the dough rise in one bowl and then divide it in half.  Well, I do not have a bowl big enough for that and I don’t know who does…except for maybe my mother-in-law.  So I divided the dough in half before rising and still had to use 2 of my biggest bowls.

The pecans are optional.  I made one half of the rolls with and the other half without.  If I’d really been thinking I would have baked one pan of the with and one pan of the without, but I wasn’t thinking.  So all of my rolls with pecans are in the freezer.  I am sure they’ll be delicious since most baked goods are better with pecans.

Using mashed potato in these rolls gives them a lighter texture than your normal roll.  They don’t taste like potato.  They are just slightly sweet, unless you drench them in frosting (like I do).  If you bake and don’t eat all the rolls in the same day, cover and refrigerate the rolls.  Warm in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to recreate the fresh-from-the-oven flavor.  Store for 3-4 days at most in the fridge.  They’re just not as good after that.

Jailhouse Potato Cinnamon Rolls

From The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, boiled and mashed
  • Reserve 3 cups of potato water
  • 1 oz active dry yeast (4 pkgs.)
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 9 cups flour

Filling

  • 4 cups toasted pecans, optional (I used 2 cups and made half with and half without pecans)
  • 4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter, melted

Icing

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Directions
  1. Grease two 9X13 disposable foil pans (you will probably need more pans, depending on how many rolls you end up with. I used 5).
  2. Wash, peel and quarter the potatoes and boil until fork tender, 10-15 minutes.  After boiling the potatoes, set aside 3 cups of the potato water and let cool to 110 degrees using a candy thermometer, or to the temp of hot water coming out of the faucet.
  3. Mash potatoes in a large bowl, set aside.  Sprinkle yeast over the water, stir until dissolved, add 1 tsp. sugar.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes until foamy.
  4. Whisk the mashed potatoes and 3/4 cup sugar together.  Add the melted butter, eggs , salt and potato water and mix until smooth.  Switch to a wooden spoon, and add the flour 3 cups at a time, mixing until combined.  Mix until all the flour is incorporated.
  5. Place the dough in 2 large greased bowls.  Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Leaving the dough in the bowl, flour your hands and punch it down until it deflates.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. At this point the dough can be refrigerated until the next day.  You can proceed from here, but it is easier to handle the dough after it has chilled.
  7. With floured hands, remove one batch of the dough from the bowl onto a well floured surface.  Using a rolling pin, roll into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. About 20 X 10.  Spread the rectangle with half the butter, then half the brown sugar mix, then half the chopped pecans.
  8. Starting with the long side, carefully roll the dough.  Using a very sharp floured serrated knife, cut each roll crosswise in 2 to 3 inch slices. Place the slices, cut side down, in the foil pans spacing about one inch apart so they have room to expand. Make sure the end flap of each roll is set snugly against a side of the pan.  Repeat with the other bowl of dough.
  9. At this point the rolls can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and a layer of foil and frozen up to 3 weeks.  Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or for one hour at room temperature and continue following the directions from this point.  Leaving them covered, set the rolls in a warm draft free place and let them rise until they get puffy, about 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Remove covering and bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown.
  11. Combine icing ingredients with a whisk and drizzle over warm rolls.

 

Daring Bakers: Dutch Crunch Bread

This month I was confronted by my fear of bread baking with this Daring Bakers challenge.  Thankfully it was a successful baking experience that resulted in a tasty sandwich and picnic lunch with my little family.

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

I had never heard of dutch crunch bread.  One of the reasons I really like being a part of Daring Bakers is the exposure I get to foods in other countries and other regions of the U.S. that I would have otherwise gone my whole life without knowing anything about. Making this bread made me want to go try the real thing sometime.  Whenever I find myself in Northern California I will make sure to keep an eye out for it.

We were given a couple of bread recipes to use as the vehicle for the dutch crunch topping.  I chose a simple soft white bread that I made into rolls.  The dough was so easy, smooth and lovely.  It made me really happy.  And that makes me a little weird, I know.

The topping struck me as strange when I mixed it up and did not look like the recipe said it should.  As I spread it (or tried to) on top of the risen rolls I had some serious doubts.  But they baked up beautifully and the topping lived up to its title of dutch crunch, but wasn’t striped like it should have been.  The topping adds great visual appeal and texture to the finished product.  I realized in rereading this recipe that I should have added more water to my topping to make it less stiff and easier to spread.  I used most, but not all of the topping.  Turns out I should have made half a recipe of the topping since I was only making 6 rolls!  I promise that I really do read a recipe all the way through before I start cooking, but sometimes I miss things.  Can I blame pregnancy brain for this even if it happened before I was pregnant?  Luckily there was no harm done and my kitchen didn’t explode as a result of my oversights.

Rolls Before Baking

My sandwich was not exactly one-of-a-kind, but it was simple and good.  Honey ham, white cheddar, whole grain mustard, mayo and spring mix.  I wrapped them up in parchment, packed them in my rarely utilized picnic basket along with some other goodies and picked Ben up from work last Friday and we had a nice family picnic in the park.  So even though the sandwich wasn’t groundbreaking, the experience was really wonderful.  Why don’t we picnic more often?

Below are the recipes for the bread and the topping.  Here is the link to the pdf with more detailed instructions.  Other than the rice flour (which was not hard to find at my well stocked HEB in Houston) you will have most of these ingredients or be able to get them easily.  The rolls I might make again and divide into 8 or 10 because some of the sandwich rolls I ended up with were really massive.  Thanks, Sara and Erica!

Dutch Crunch Topping

Can be halved for the roll recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (2 packets) (30 ml) (15 gm/½ oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm water (105-115º F) (41-46°C)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) (240 gm/8½ oz) rice flour (white or brown; NOT sweet or glutinous rice flour) (increase by 1 cup or more for home-made rice flour)
Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk; beat hard to combine. The consistency should be like stiff royal icing – spreadable, but not too runny. If you pull some up with your whisk, it should drip off slowly. Add more water or rice flour as necessary. Let stand 15 minutes.
  2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. We tried coating it with a brush but it worked better just to use fingers or a spoon and kind of spread it around. You should err on the side of applying too much topping – a thin layer will not crack properly.
  3. Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends. With the Soft White Roll, you can place the rolls directly into the oven after applying the topping. With the Brown Rice Bread, the loaves should stand for 20 minutes with the topping before baking.
  4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The Dutch Cruch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.

Soft White Rolls

Makes 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (1 packet) (15 ml) (7 gm/ ¼ oz) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (No need to use a thermometer – it should feel between lukewarm and hot to the touch).
  • 1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (105-110º F) (41-43°C) (We’ve tried both nonfat and 2%, with no noticeable difference)
  • 1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (20 gm/ ⅔ oz) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil (plus additional olive or vegetable oil for greasing bowl during rising)
  • 1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (9 gm/⅓ oz) salt
  • Up to 4 cups (960 ml) (600 gm/21oz) all purpose flour

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes (The mixture should start to bubble or foam a bit and smell yeasty).
  2. Add in vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together.
  3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, as shown in the photo below (For us, this usually required an additional 1½ to 2 cups of flour).
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled
  6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions (if you’d like to make rolls) or 2 equal portions (if you’d like to make a loaf) (using a sharp knife or a dough scraper works well). Shape each into a ball or loaf and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (try not to handle the dough too much at this point).Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
  7. Coat the top of each roll or loaf with the topping as described above. While the original recipe recommends letting them stand for 20 minutes after applying the topping, I got better results by putting them directly into the oven.
  8. Once you’ve applied the topping, bake in a preheated moderately hot 380ºF/190°C/gas mark 5 for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.