Friday, October 31, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls of Awesomeness

Like totally. For real, man.

My lame photography skills don't do these justice. In some circles, I am renowned for my cinnamon rolls. I keep telling people how easy they are and that they can make their own, but nobody believes me. You believe me, don't you? If not, I'll prove it to you.

First things first, go to the Pioneer Woman's site and steal her sweet dough recipe. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Got it?  Ok make some dough. I made was one and a half batches. I'm really glad I didn't go crazy and double it. That's my biggest stock pot right there.

So, once you've made the dough let it sit in the fridge overnight. If your biggest stock pot is alarmingly full, you may need to get up a time or two in the night and punch the dough down. Maybe.

But here's where we leave the Pioneer Woman behind and strike out on our own. And since I was making cinnamon rolls I forgot to take pictures (you can thank me later) and you'll have to use your imagination. For a single batch of dough, mix together 2 cups of softened butter and 2 cups of dark brown sugar and two heavy pinches of salt.

Now set that aside and roll out half of the dough into a long rectangle. Roll it pretty thin. Once it's rolled, spread half of the butter/sugar mixture onto the surface of dough. I use an offset spatula.

Once that's all spread on, apply a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon. They're still good even if you forget the cinnamon. Not that I would know from experience.

Hey, look! A picture! Now roll up the dough into a log.

...and there's the log. Use your handy-dandy bench scraper/baker's knife/bench knife to cut the roll into 1 1/2-inch(ish) slices. (Remember, this batch was extra big, so your rectangle won't be quite so long.) Pinch the seam together when you're done.

Now you'll have to forgive me.  I actually have photos from several different batches of cinnamon rolls because I've intended to post this recipe for quite some time. And I make cinnamon rolls frequently.

Pour melted butter into the bottom of a baking dish. I prefer glass for these, but if you're taking them to a function and are worried about getting your dish back, use disposable tins 

Put the rolls into the pan and let rise for about half an hour.

You may have noticed that there are a lot more rolls in the pan in this picture than the pan in the picture at the top of this post. (Twice as many to be exact!) I was taking the rolls in the bottom photo to church for the hospitality table last week, and decided to make smaller rolls so I didn't have to cut them. It worked out great! If you want smaller rolls, just roll out 1/4 of the dough at a time, instead of 1/2. (I also may have used an extra 1/2 cup each of brown sugar and butter for the filling on these...they were really, really good. Just sayin'.)

Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown and delicious.  BUT, before the rolls come out of the oven, have your icing ready and waiting.  I use a variation of my standard cream cheese buttercream.  Butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt, powdered sugar and milk. Just add more milk until the icing is almost pourable but still thick.

When the rolls come out of the oven, immediately spread the icing onto the hot rolls. Heavenly.

Now what are you waiting for? Go make some cinnamon rolls! (And here's the recipe so you can.)

Cinnamon Rolls of Awesomeness
(adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

1 Quart Whole Milk
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Oil
2 Packages Active Dry Yeast
8 Cups All-Purpose Flour (plus one extra, divided)
1 heaping tsp Baking Powder
1 scant tsp Baking Soda
1 heaping TBS salt

2 Cups Softened Butter (unsalted)
2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
2 Heavy Pinches Salt
Lots of Cinnamon

1/2 Cup Melted Butter

1/2 Cup Softened Butter
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/8 tsp Salt
1/2 TBS Vanilla Extract
1 LB Powdered Sugar
1/4 - 1/2 Cup milk

Scald milk, sugar and oil in a LARGE saucepan or stockpot. Cool to lukewarm and sprinkle on yeast. When yeast is frothy and active, add 8 cups of all-purpose flour and stir. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

After one hour, add the last cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine. You can use the dough immediately, but it's easier to work with if you leave it in the fridge overnight, or up to three days. Punch down when necessary.

Mix 2 cups of butter, 2 cups of dark brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. Melt 1/2 cup of butter and pour evenly into the pans you will use to bake the rolls. 2-9x11 or more if your pans are smaller. There may be a few extras, so have extra pans available.

Roll dough 1/2 at a time into a long rectangle. Spread half of butter/sugar mixture on each half of dough. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Roll into a log, starting at the long end, pinching the seam to seal. Cut into 1 1/2 inch sections and put rounds into the prepared pan(s), being sure not to crowd the rolls. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup cream cheese, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until combined. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the milk. Increase mixer speed and beat until smooth, about a minute. Start with less milk and keep adding until you get the thickness you're looking for.

When the rolls have almost doubled in size, put them into a 350 degree oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown and delicious. Spread icing over hot rolls immediately upon removing them from the oven.

Eat and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

M&M's Cake!

A friend of mine from work brought me a picture of a cake a while back and asked if I could make it for him. He got it off of Facebook, so if it's yours, let me know.

He's a big fan of M&M's.  But then again, who isn't?

So I finally got around to making it. (I kept telling him I hadn't forgotten!)

This cake used lots and lots and lots of M&M's. And as I drove it to work the next morning, every bump I hit I heard M&M's hitting the cake board. I made repairs at work and no one was the wiser.

Red and Yellow were a bit bumpy. They're giant cake pops and I used off-brand candy melts to coat them. I repented immediately. I will only use Wilton candy melts from now on.

I piped the faces onto waxed paper using royal icing and candy melts and glued them onto the pops the next morning. I made lots of extras just in case. And lots of extra "M"s, thankfully. I had quite a few snap as I was glueing them on.

Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing. My friend said it looked better than he thought it would. :-P  High praise from this guy. For real. AND he said it tasted better than it looked. I was quite pleased.

Anyhoo, that's all for now.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made some cookies to take to work a couple weeks ago.  I wanted to try something different...but not too different.  So I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to try it out. It's originally by the Picky on the link for the recipe.

I stuck pretty close to the original recipe.  I think the biggest difference was that I baked mine for about twice as long as she did.  About 20 minutes.  They needed it. They were some big honkin' cookies.

Basically, two chocolate chip cookies with an Oreo in the middle. 

They were pretty good.  I think they would be better with Reese Cups. Or even fudge covered Oreos.

I made a double batch and got about four dozen cookies.  Huge cookies.

Anyhoo, that's all for now.