Cinnamon Rolls – Heidi DeJong (Guest Blogger)

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Patricia has been asking me for months to be a guest blogger, and I’ve turned her down time after time with excuses: I was too busy; I didn’t take pictures of my creations, etc.  However, this item is a proud achievement for me and I had to share.  Here it is, at long last: my blogging debut.

My husband recently gave me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for our anniversary.  I know some of you out there might be saddened or upset about getting a kitchen appliance for an anniversary gift, but I was over the moon; I had been wishing and hoping for a mixer for quite some time.  Now that I have one, I’ve been trying some new yeast dough recipes that just seemed impossible to do without a mixer.  My latest trial:  homemade cinnamon rolls.

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I have fond memories of sweet rolls that my great grandmother used to make.  They weren’t cinnamon rolls exactly, and they weren’t quite caramel rolls either, but some sort of cross between the two.  My mom has a notebook of family recipes, but it only lists the ingredients and the amounts.  I’m sure some of you know the kind of “recipes” I’m talking about.  Now,   I know my grandma knows exactly what to do with that ingredient list and it works great for her, but for a novice like me a list of ingredients just isn’t going to cut it.  My sister and I have talked about getting Grandma to show us how it’s done, but that just hasn’t happened yet.  So, I went in search of a cinnamon roll recipe that could give me the direction I needed.  I think I found a pretty good one.

I started off by placing the warmed milk, warm water, vanilla, yeast, and butter into my stand mixer with the dough hook attached.  I mixed it on the lowest speed while I continued to add the other ingredients.  Next I added the beaten eggs, salt, sugar, and bread flour.  I allowed the mixer to mix on low speed until all the ingredients were well combined and then I bumped it up to the second speed to knead the dough.  I let the mixer do all the kneading for me, about 10 minutes.  As the mixer was kneading, I noticed that my dough didn’t stay in a nice ball, it was sticking to the bottom of my bowl, so I added additional bread flour one tablespoon at a time until it got to a tacky consistency.  From making other yeast dough recipes I knew it should feel a little tacky, but not stick to my fingers when I touched it.  Now, I’m sure all of this can be done by hand; it just seemed too intimating to me to try mixing a thick dough recipe like this by hand.  If you don’t have a stand mixer though, give it a whirl.  These are so yummy the extra work would be worth it.

Once the mixer had done all the kneading for me, I took the dough out of the bowl and sprayed the mixer bowl with some cooking spray.  I placed my dough back in the sprayed bowl, covered the bowl with plastic wrap and sat it on my counter to rise.   The recipe says to let it rise until doubled in size.  Well let’s just say things got a little hectic that night and I forgot about my dough until about 4½ hours later.  I think it more than doubled in size, but hey things like that happen especially with a three year old in the house.

After the dough had finished rising, I buttered a 9”x13”x2” pan, set that aside, and started the assembly process of my rolls.  Using my rolling pin I rolled and stretched the dough into a 15”x24” rectangle.  I used an offset frosting spatula to spread the ½ cup softened butter from the cinnamon filling recipe onto the rectangle of dough (you could use a rubber spatula or even a pastry brush to do this).  I made sure there was an even layer of butter across the whole thing.  Then I mixed the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkled that over the buttered dough, making sure it was a nice even layer.  Starting with the long edge, roll up the dough and pinch the seam to seal.  Now the recipe I used had a note: Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake.  I didn’t think I rolled my log too tightly, but some of the centers on my rolls popped out.  They still tasted good though :O)

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Now that I had my long log of cinnamon rolled dough, I cut them into 1½ inch sections using a serrated knife.  I sliced very gently so they wouldn’t squish.  The recipe is supposed to make 15 rolls, but I must have rolled my dough into a slightly larger rectangle because I got 18 rolls.  Place them in the prepared baking pan(s) (12 rolls will fit into the 9x13x2 dish; I placed my extras into a buttered round cake pan).  The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking.  Mine did touch a little, but what can you do?  I covered my pans with plastic wrap and let them do their final rise in the refrigerator overnight.  If you want to bake them the same day, let them rise on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour or until doubled in size.  After rising, the rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan.

The next morning I took my rolls out of the refrigerator and let them warm up a bit.  They hadn’t completely doubled in size so I let them finish rising on the counter.  Once they were the size I wanted, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and baked them for about 20-25 minutes until they were a light golden brown.

While my rolls were baking I mixed up the frosting.  Now my husband and daughter love frosting, so I doubled the frosting recipe which I think was a good idea for us.  Once the rolls were done, I took them out of the oven and placed the pan on a cooling rack and frosted the rolls while they were still hot.  Frosting them while still hot allowed the gooey frosting to slightly melt into the rolls.

Oh my goodness were these cinnamon rolls delicious!  They weren’t my great grandmother’s rolls, but they were delicious none the less.  Cinnamon rolls may have been intimidating to me in the past, but not anymore.  They are a bit time consuming, but well worth the time and effort.  Enjoy!

Heidi DeJong – Guest Blogger

Cinnamon Rolls – Heidi DeJong (Guest Blogger)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Heidi DeJong – Guest Blogger
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup milk (heated about 1 minute in microwave)
  • ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • Cinnamon Filling:
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Frosting (I doubled this recipe):
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a 5-quart stand mixer, combine all the ingredients in the order given except the Cinnamon Filling and the Butter Frosting. Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms.
  2. Check the dough. It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time). If you can’t judge your dough by looking, stick your finger in and feel the dough. It should be slightly tacky to the touch.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled surface (I use a nonstick cooking spray), and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size
  4. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.
  5. After dough has risen, using your rolling pin, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15 x 24-inch rectangle.
  6. Brush the 1/2 cup softened butter (listed below in the Cinnamon Filling) over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula or a pastry brush. Sprinkle Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the prepared dough. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal. NOTE: Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake.
  7. With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 1/2-inch section. Use a sharp knife (I like to use a serrated knife and saw very gently) or slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and criss-crossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place cut side up in prepared baking pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.
  8. At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight (I’ve actually made them two days in advance) or frozen for one (1) month. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen. I have found that I have to take the unbaked frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before planning to bake. I just put the frozen cinnamon rolls (container and rolls) on my counter (not in the refrigerator) overnight for 10 to 12 hours.
  9. If refrigerated, they can be either baked upon removing from the refrigerator or let come to a room temperature (I’ve done both ways). They do a slow rise overnight and it is not necessary to let them come to room temperature before baking. If you rolls are not rising enough after being refrigerated, your yeast may need to be tested. To overcome this, let them rise, while sitting on the counter, until you achieve the desired rising before baking.
  10. Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake approximately 20 to 25 minutes in a regular oven until they are a light golden brown. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 190 and 200 degrees.
  12. This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. Originally designed for professional users, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world.
  13. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread prepared Butter Frosting over the cinnamon rolls while still warm.
  14. Best served warm, but room temperature is also great!

 Thanks to Heidi for making these and sharing!  If she lived closer to me I sure would have been at her house for breakfast!

Let us know how you enjoyed these as well.  We love to hear from you!!!

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking

Source:

What’s Cooking America 

 

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Chicken Bundles

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I recently shared with you my trip to Indiana to see my friend, Carrie.  During that trip I suggested that she try to make a nice home cooked meal.  No frozen pot pies for dinner this time.  She made the pot pies I had posted earlier and they were great.  The other night I got a text from her asking me what would go well with a recipe she was going to make!  I was so happy that she got herself in the kitchen and was making dinner!  I suggested she make rice with this and she sure did.

I asked her if she would be a guest blogger.  She said:  “Um, no.”  But I told her that I would write up the blog for her and just share her pictures.  So this is what I’m doing for her!  I can’t take any credit for this one.  And it sure looks good.

Ingredients for Chicken Bundles

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1-13 oz. can chicken (or equivalent cooked chicken, rotitsserie chicken, etc)
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. parsley
  • 2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls – leave in fridge until ready to use!
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped onion or dried minced onion

Directions: Combine the above ingredients (minus the crescent rolls) and mix well.

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Open two packages crescent rolls. DO NOT divide into triangles. Keep every 2 triangles together, forming 8 rectangles.

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Pinch the seams closed and pat each one out into a larger square.

Put a spoonful of chicken/cream cheese mixture into the center of each square. Fold the corners up into the center, layering like flower petals so the roll is sealed. (Don’t stress too much on the technique, fold them up press seams together to make a bundle.)

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Repeat with all 8 rectangles. You’re going to worry that you’re doing this wrong, but you’re not, just do it, I promise they’ll taste delicious.

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Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

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Next time, oh and there will be a next time, I travel to see Carrie, she will be making either these for me or a different home cooked meal that she comes up with!!!!  I’m so happy that she went outside her box and did this.  Not that she hasn’t before, but if she has, it’s sure been a while!  You go Carrie girl!!!

Thanks for taking time to take pictures to send to me so this could be shared!

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Two Girls Cooking – Carrie  – on the left (Guest Blogger)

Source:

Quick and Easy Dinner

Marian’s Pumpkin Bars

My mom makes THE best pumpkin bars.  Every time our family gets together, it’s Craig’s hope that she will make them.  His birthday was earlier this month and my mom came over to go to Brooklyn’s soccer game.  Craig was at work and when he walked in the door my mom handed him a plate of bars.  The look on his face…1. I’m not sharing these and 2. he was so happy that she made them for him.  She handed him a gift bag.  He opened and it there was a gift card for Home Depot.  He thought he was done and said thanks to my mom.   She looked at him and told him that there was something more in the bag.  Craig pulled out a piece of paper with a cute ribbon wrapped around it.  It was my mom’s recipe for his favorite pumpkin bars.

I think my mom got this recipe years ago from someone in our family.  But Craig made these last night and even though I was trying to give suggestions along the way, he pretty much did this the way my mom’s recipe called for.

I tasted the pumpkin batter before it went in the oven and it was pretty good.  I know there was some tension on Craig to make these as well as my mom did!!

In the pan goes into the oven.  We even debated on how long it should bake for.  Why?  Well because my mom failed to put this on her recipe!  So once we got it (ok I had to leave it to him) baked through, out it came!

Next was the best part…the frosting,  Reading the directions, Craig followed them as my mom had it down.  No more, no less.  When it was mixed to his liking, he asked me to taste it.  Well duh, who doesn’t love butter mixed with cream cheese and 4 cups of powder sugar!!  Tasted good, but I told him it was a bit too thin.  I told him I would add more powder sugar so that it would thicken up a bit.

When he started to frost the cake it was a bit too warm.  I told him that he needed to wait, but I think my directions were starting to work his nerves.  He stepped away from the pan with just a bit of frosting on it.  As I came in to get water (duh check on the pan!!).  It had melted a bit.  He did wait until it cooled off completely then used just a portion of the frosting.  He asked me what to do with the rest of it.  Well hello, use it all.  My mom does, why wouldn’t he!

I still think the frosting needed a bit more powder sugar added to it so it would thicken up a bit, but since the recipe didn’t call for it, it wasn’t added.

My mom just so happened to call me today and I mentioned the frosting to her.  She laughed and asked why he didn’t just add more.  Laughed even harder when I told her that her recipe didn’t say to do so, so he didn’t listen to me!!!  That had us both laughing!

I did ask mom’s permission to give this out.  She said she didn’t care so here it is.

Use a 9×13 jelly roll pan, greased and floured (we used a plain pan)

4 eggs

1 can pumpkin

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

(Optional 2 cups walnuts)

Beat eggs, butter and sugar.  Add pumpkin and stir.  Put dry ingredients together and mix with pumpkin batter.

(Optional add nuts)

Put into greased & floured pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Frosting:  Beat until soft.

8oz Cream Cheese

3/4 stick butter

1 tbs milk

1 tbs vailla

4 cups powder sugar.

Well  I can tell you that this pan of pumpkin bars will not last through the rest of this week.  And I can tell you that this will be made many, many times.

Thanks mom!

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking

Source:

My mom!! 😉

Fresh Strawberry Pies

I have asked a couple of my friends that have made something that sounded really good to be a guest blogger.  Until last night, I was always turned down.

My friend, Debbie Montgomery told me on our Facebook page that she had made some strawberry mini pies.  When I asked her to be a guest blogger, told her what she needed to do, she said she’d send me the recipe.

So here is our first guest blogger.

Please welcome Debbie!  Hoping this isn’t her last time!

Here’s the finished product.

I started making this pie because it was my dad’s favorite and I wanted to buy him one for his birthday but I couldn’t find one because they were out of season. So I decided to make one myself and everyone loved it. Now my family asks for them all the time!

I use 3 recipes used to make the Fresh Strawberry Pie. One for the crust, filling, and homemade whipped cream but they are all super easy.

First, you need to make the crust.

Shortbread Crust Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups Flour

1 cup Butter

4 tbsp Confectioner’s Sugar

Directions:

Sift flour and sugar together into mixing bowl. With pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Chill 30 minutes. Then press firmly into 9 inch pie pan or 4-5 5 inch mini pie tins. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

While the crusts are cooling you can make the Strawberry Pie Filling.

Fresh Strawberry Pie Filling Recipe

Ingredients:

48 oz Fresh Strawberries

1 cup Sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

Directions:

Wash and dry the strawberries. Arrange 2/3 or 32 oz of the strawberries either halved or whole into baked pie crust(s). Put the other 1/3 or 16 oz berries and add sugar and cornstarch in a blender and blend until mixture is a smooth liquid. Pour sauce into a sauce pan and bring mixture to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool mixture and pour over strawberries. Chill 1/2 day.

You can make the homemade whipped cream right away or wait until the next day to make it. It only takes minutes to make!

Whipped Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 cup Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whip cream with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks. Use a pastry bag to spread or spoon to dollop over the top of cooled pie.

Debbie can cook and bake.  I sure wished I lived a lot closer to her!  She’s making Peach Cobbler tonight.  Maybe we’ll get another post from her.

Thanks Debbie for sharing with us!!

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking

Guest Blogger – Debbie Montgomery